Modulating brake lights
A recent report states that rear end collisions are on the increase. Motorists seem to be slow to react to the brake lights of the vehicle in front. Is it not time that modulating brake lights were made legal on motorcycles? These lights modulate (ie intensity varies) for a few seconds when the brake is applied, before reverting to a steady brake light as the braking continues. It seems pedal cyclists are allowed a level of safety with permanent flashing rear lights that is denied to motorcyclists when they apply the brakes. With increasing use of ABS, motorcyclists are more likely to brake hard in an emergency.
I very much doubt it make any significant difference, if the following driver is too close (the cause of the problem) nothing can prevent the resultant crash.
Modulating brake lights are illegal. The problem is the car behind you being too close. There is nothing the biker can do about this but to slow down and let him/her pass. If you are a serious biker I would book yourself onto a Police run Bikesafe course. This problem is delt with in the Bikesafe course so is controlling the following traffic.
Hi wagolynn and Morris Mini. I'm afraid I did not make my concerns clear. It is not about how close the vehicle behind is. As you say, a biker can, to a degree, control how close the car behind is. What he cannot control is the vehicle behind being totally blind to his presence and driving into the back of the bike. According to reports I have seen, these rear end collisions typically occur when the bike is stationary at a halt sign or similar situation. I believe a modulating brake light would be an important aid to attracting the attention of the driver behind, regardless of how far behind he is when you start slowing down. You may not agree, but I cannot see any reason for modulating brake lights continuing to be illegal. The law now recognises that flashing rear lights are a good idea on pedal cycles in attracting the attention of other road users. They are also commonly used by bodies of pedestrians and horse riders. Of course, no such measures are necessary if everyone on the road is a good road user, but the reality is that half of road users (and that may include you and me) are below average (although they might not admit it).
As far as I know, flashing lights on cycles are not written into law. They are fitted to reduce battery power consumption, as these lights are LED types there is no power penalty for turning them on and off, with a filament bulb, this would not apply. I think your problem is the police do not appear to pay much attention to vehicles driving too close. In a car, it is my normal practice when I am tail end charley in a queue to stop early, leaving a largish gap between me and the vehicle/stop line, then watch in the mirrors for the next vehicle. Should they look as though they have not noticed there is a queue, a dab on the brakes flashes a light to the rear, and finally I can ease forward if required. I must admit, I frequently have to move forward. This should work on a bike.
I had time to check today, flashing cycle lights are in the Highway Code, but should only be used in areas with street lighting. In areas without street lighting steady beams should be used.
rear flashing lights
To my knowledge a cyclist can have rear red flashing lights providing that they have a fixed light also. Many don't tho.
I have no problem with a flashing rear light and some 4/5 years ago suggested it on a number of forums with limited results.
I would say that there is no law that prohibits the use of flashing lights providing that it is not the only light being displayed.
Fortunately rear enders are about less that 2 % of vehicle impact so its not large and usually not fatal.
Where some riders go wrong apart from having a bike with a small and poorly lit rear light and possibly no illumination of the rear number plate is that they stop maybe directly behind the rear lights of a car and therefore the driver approaching mistakes any rear motorcycle light for that of a car. and bangs you uncle.
If I am in that situation of being stopped at traffic lights or a queue I make rear observations and if I see another vehicle approaching I will flash my brake lights using foot or hand mechanisms in order to draws the attention of the approaching vehicle to my presence.
Further it would not go amiss if there were better rear lights on some bikes as they are getting smaller and smaller, just like indicators.
The inclusion of some further lighting would not go amiss and if one of these lights happens flash so what. who is going to do you for it and what will be the penalty. If taken to court a small fine with no endorsement. otherwise nothing. Not even a fixed penalty ticket.
I've found the cyclists that use them flashing lights, a lot easier to see in the dark.
rear flashing lights
I agree smudger flashing lights do catch the eye. The eye is naturally attracted to movement and to light, thats why we look at lit windows when walking down the street and even more so if there is movement in those windows generally avoiding the dark places. We rarely like to look into the dark as seeing anything becomes increasingly difficult.
A problem that TWV riders has always had is conspicuity. being seen by others.. We have to be visible at all times [ seen by all]but as some would ague we must ride as if you are invisible ie not there.... meaning that others have not seen us and ride accordingly.
this has been a debated problem since i remember in the 60's and used time and time again with regards to us being involved in collisions on our roads. It appears that no matter what lights you have on or what reflective clothing you wear we are still ahead on accident and KSI statistics than many other road users. We don't have a metal cage to mitigate a collision so we must anticipate and reduce that risk every where and every time we ride on the road.
That said if one wishes to become illuminated like Blackpool Tower then thats up to the individual and i would support any form of conspicuity providing that a rider doesn't just rely on that alone. State of mind is always important.
All riders should be aware of their own fragility and ride accordingly, flashing lights, day glow, headlights etc. etc. or not.
So be careful out there.
The use of flashing lights on any vehicle is prohibited by The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, and is therefore an offence. [There are exceptions for direction indicators, emergency vehicles, etc.]
Pedal cycles are exempted from this by the Road Vehicles Lighting (Amendment) Regulations 2005, which permits the use of flashing front and rear position lights.
There is no requirement for cyclists to have additional steady lights: the Highway Code's advice to use a steady front lamp on unlit roads is based on best practice, not law.
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