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Old 04-12-05, 06:44 PM   #1
veloiseau
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riding at night with no lights--illegal?

so last night i was on my way to a friend's jazz piano recital in downtown LA... i was going pretty fast as i rounded a sharp turn onto the USC campus, planning to slip in between two barricades (the kind used to prevent cars from entering). all of a sudden i see this dark shadowy thing. it's too late before i see that it's another biker, wearing all dark colors, plowing toward me. i swerve out of the way but my knee catches on something and both of us go down. we are both fine, and we both get up and ride on. i have these ridiculously bright lights (i'm a christmas tree) and so i don't think she didn't see me. hmm...

i feel really bad to have made another rider fall, but i couldn't see her because she had absolutely no lights! after i got up and dusted myself off i started noticing that NO ONE on campus had lights, NO ONE! and people were looking at me funny for mine.

what can i do?? can i legitimately say "it's against the law not to wear lights?" can i organize a light donation or something? argh!
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Old 04-12-05, 07:10 PM   #2
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Maybe they're contributing to cleaning up the gene pool?
Yes, riding at night with no lights is illigal in all western countries (I can't speak for the others cos I've never been).
Don't feel bad, she had it coming. If anything she should have apologised to you.
Maybe start with posting up the road rules specifying that lights must be used at night around the campus, if people don't start taking responsibility for their actions tip off the local police. Nothing like a few fines to give cash-strapped students a wake up call!

Edit: I meant post up the road rules around campus that lights must be used at night (not just on the campus, as my original post might lead you to believe )
Also, good luck!
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Old 04-12-05, 07:19 PM   #3
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Actually--in many locations, it is legal to ride without lights. Often, only reflectors are required.
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Old 04-12-05, 07:22 PM   #4
Erick L
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It's illegal here but not many have them and it's not enforced at all.

I was at a shop last summer looking for lights. I overheard two people talking (looking at the blinkers): "yeah but I don't want to look like a christmas tree!" and they walked away.
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Old 04-12-05, 07:47 PM   #5
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Most 'blinkers' can be set to a steady ON. A red blinker to the front is better than no light at all.
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Old 04-12-05, 07:54 PM   #6
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Illegal in SC... and dumb.
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Old 04-12-05, 07:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
Most 'blinkers' can be set to a steady ON. A red blinker to the front is better than no light at all.
A red light on the front is illegal here in Australia, confuses the already confused motorist I guess.

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Actually--in many locations, it is legal to ride without lights. Often, only reflectors are required.
Which areas don't require lights on bikes at night? I find it interesting (but not unlikely!), that some places don't require/enforce use of lights.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:03 PM   #8
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most districts say you must have:

an "approved" red rear reflector, visible for x feet (some states added "OR a red lamp visible for 300 feet). Color must be red.
approved wheel reflectors visible for x feet, OR reflective-wall tires, of an approved reflective type, visible for x feet. Color must be white or amber.
front light visible for 300 feet. Color must be white.

Most have nothing talking about rear lights being required, just reflectors....pretty sad IMO.

By the way, the above is pretty much the gist of California's bike code regarding lights/reflectors. I may have screwed up somewhere on the color codes though, I tend to screw those up sometimes.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:11 PM   #9
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Lights are required at night in California. Don't feel bad, you didn't make her go down, she made YOU go down.
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Old 04-12-05, 08:16 PM   #10
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Having no lights is plain and simply stupid. Don't feel bad, you did what you could to be seen. Did she not even have reflectors?
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Old 04-12-05, 08:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by suntreader
Illegal in SC... and dumb.
Lights are required at night with a red rear reflector. A red tail light is allowed and can be blinking.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:17 PM   #12
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If you want to go quoting the relevant CA vehicle code the next time it happens, here you go: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21201.htm see section 'd'. Or maybe you can put it on a glow-in-the-dark T-shirt for fun and profit.

The short version is: a white light in front (or "attached to the operator") is required for operating a bike in darkness in CA, plus some reflectors.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:17 PM   #13
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At night after work I ride home on the paved bike trail with flashing lights ... they are enough for people to see me but I don't find my headlight very helpful
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Old 04-12-05, 09:43 PM   #14
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nyc, I ride no lights. It's very bright were I ride at night, like a cloudy day.
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Old 04-12-05, 09:46 PM   #15
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First, I ment *where*.

Second, lights are law just hardly ever enforced.

*or I could have edited. *slaps forehead*

Last edited by BadAssBiker; 04-12-05 at 09:47 PM. Reason: newbie
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Old 04-13-05, 02:00 AM   #16
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The campus police don't normaly care about students riding around without lights, although I was once3 hassled by San Francisco police for eiding without lights at dusk after an anti-war protest.

I won't however go out on the street without at least a flash front and rear. Besides being the law its freaking commone sense, unless you have a death wish
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Old 04-13-05, 03:34 AM   #17
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In NC lights are required for night riding, and I would suspect in most if not all states, we are considered motor vehicles... IIRC there was a big lawsuit filed and settled against Huffy years ago when some idiot was riding at night...on a Huffy and got plowed because he did not have lights or proper reflectors, the lawsuit was based on the fact that if the state requires lights at night the bicycle manufacturers should provide them???? FWIW my son attends a major university, lights are required on bikes at night but they don't seem to enforce it from what I can see.

All of my bikes have proper reflectors of some type, I don't like the spoke reflectors, so I use the rim tape reflectors and or reflective sidewall tires. I currently use different types of battery lights that can be moved from bike to bike as necessary. I also carry a reflective vest for riding in low light conditions or heavy traffic. They will be able to see me and if they don't it will be their fault!

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Old 04-13-05, 03:53 AM   #18
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check you local laws. In the UK it's illegal to ride at night without lights. Anywhere with traffic, it's dumb.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:02 AM   #19
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Here is michigan it is THE LAW, if riding at night you MUST have a front light and rear reflector.
But on a campus that rule might not stand, I know that in some cities the campus has it's own law regarding several things that do not coinside with the city regulations.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:33 AM   #20
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Besides the legal aspect, it is important to remember that riders without lights have defective vision. They cannot see riders with lights. That is my experience.
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Old 04-13-05, 06:31 AM   #21
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I plan to outfit my bike with 220 lumens of LED power. Will that be visible enough?
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Old 04-13-05, 06:48 AM   #22
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i just bought a cateye hl-el500

1000 candle power
pretty dang bright for 1 led!!!!
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Old 04-13-05, 06:56 AM   #23
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In Toronto, last time I was there, you need a front light, reflective tape on your forks and a reflecter on the back.
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Old 04-13-05, 07:50 AM   #24
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Yup, and supposedly lights on half hour before sunset and half hour after sunrise. I just don't feel safe at all without lights. It feels like going to a war without a bulletproof vest.
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Old 04-13-05, 09:20 AM   #25
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Like you'll get anyone at USC to follow any bike-safety tips or laws. Those kids are just oblivious to everything once they hop on their beach cruiser and turn on their iPod.
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