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Old 06-01-12, 09:04 AM   #1
modernjess
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My days of being an outlaw biker are over!

All these years I guess I've just been living on the edge. I had no idea that studded tires and a front blinkie were illegal. Dang, now I feel so retroactively emasculated or something. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but it's my excuse. Consider:

-----------

On May 7th, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill that combined the two transportation policy bills that BikeMN lobbied for this spring. The Governor signed it into law on May 10, 2012. The language may be found in Session Law Ch. 287 (HF2685). This law:
  • Creates (but does not fund) a state safe routes to school program.
  • Authorizes the Mississippi River Trail (MRT) as the first state bikeway.
  • Makes it legal to use studded tires on a bicycle.
  • Makes it legal to use a flashing white headlight on a bicycle.
  • Makes it legal to ride a low-speed electric-assisted bicycle on trails and on the street without most of the motorcycle requirements.
  • These new laws will go into effect August 1, 2012 unless otherwise noted in the bill. Read more

---------
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Old 06-01-12, 09:10 AM   #2
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Were blinky lights previously illegal, or just not addressed in any way at all?
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Old 06-01-12, 09:22 AM   #3
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Were blinky lights previously illegal, or just not addressed in any way at all?
I would guess they were covered in a statute that forbid flashing front lights on any "vehicle" other than an emergency responder. They probably just wrote an exception in for bikes.
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Old 06-01-12, 09:32 AM   #4
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I once "pulled a car over" with my front blinky. She changed lanes suddenly in front of me... cut me off but not too bad... to make a right turn. Not even close to being a right hook, but she had to gun the engine then slam on the brakes to get there. I'm in the lane behind her in my hi-viz jacket, my front blinky on, my left arm out with forearm up, signaling my right turn. She saw all that and thought I was a cop pulling her over. She meekly did so and once it dawned on me what she though, I flew by her and made my usual left turn. It was kind of bizarro.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 06-01-12, 12:47 PM   #5
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I can't see any reason for a front blinking light.----permaybehaps, some one could educate me, as to why a person would want/need a flashing front light.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:04 PM   #6
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I rarely ride at night any more so I don't have need of a high powered headlight, but I do ride at dawn and dusk daily. Just from having seen other cyclists on the road in the past as a motorist I could always see the cyclists with flashing lights better than those with solid lights. So I keep mine on flashing.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:05 PM   #7
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I use a flashing white light forward at night when there is a fair bit of ambient light as it makes it more obvious there is a moving object. I have also been known to use no fewer than three forward lights, one halogen solid light on the helmet, another solid LED on the right side of the handlebar and a flashing one on the left side.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:12 PM   #8
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Thank you for the education. The examples given certainly are persuasive, In my corner of the 'verse, I am riding in either full dark or full daylight. Also, I am in a mostly rural area, so, not a lot of ambient light around.
Again, thank you.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:29 PM   #9
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I can't see any reason for a front blinking light.----permaybehaps, some one could educate me, as to why a person would want/need a flashing front light.
The belief is that the flashing is more eye-catching so that automobiles in oncoming traffic and cross-traffic are less likely to overlook you. Personally I am skeptical that it's a safety improvement, but it's undeniable that you can't miss seeing one of the very bright flashing lights, even in daytime.
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Old 06-01-12, 01:36 PM   #10
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...it's undeniable that you can't miss seeing one of the very bright flashing lights, even in daytime.
Yup!
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Old 06-01-12, 01:37 PM   #11
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I used to use a blinking front light. I have no idea if it's legal in Indiana or Kentucky (where I ride). I switched to steady a little over a year ago. I still use two tail lights, one blink and one steady. :shrug:
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Old 06-01-12, 01:38 PM   #12
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In Ontario, it's specified that Motor vehicles can't have studded tires. I'm legal, w00t!
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Old 06-01-12, 01:44 PM   #13
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There goes my reputation as a dangerous and shadowy figure who is not to be trifled with. Nothing says scofflaw like a blinky light.

I suppose there's still time until August to taunt the Po-Po by rocking studded tires but I think I will pass.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-01-12 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 06-01-12, 02:02 PM   #14
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It looks like you still have two months of living on the edge before these new permissive measures go into effect. Ride hard! Stay out of jail! Stick it to the man, bro, for at least another 60 days.
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Old 06-01-12, 02:13 PM   #15
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It looks like you still have two months of living on the edge before these new permissive measures go into effect. Ride hard! Stay out of jail! Stick it to the man, bro, for at least another 60 days.
I would but I just can't bear the thought of putting the studs back on... OTOH, I got about 8 of those crappy little Knog blinkies for free last year. I'm gonna rock all of them everyday through July 31st just on principle.
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Old 06-01-12, 03:28 PM   #16
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I would guess they were covered in a statute that forbid flashing front lights on any "vehicle" other than an emergency responder. They probably just wrote an exception in for bikes.
That is essentially correct. School buses are allowed flashing/strobe lights. Many have a white strobe on top for visibility.
That said, I've never heard of cyclists ticketed for front blinkies or snow tires.
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Old 06-01-12, 04:53 PM   #17
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I wonder if there are any laws regarding having flashing blue lights on the bike? I was riding home on the bike route one day and came upon a couple of bike cops. They had these cool flashing taillights that were red and blue! Yeah, "cops" written all over that one!

As far as flashing white headlights, yes, I agree that they give me more confidence in twilight - that part of the day where you need to take off the shades, but you can still read your bike computer. Evidently, visibility risk increases during these twilight minutes. However, once I can't read the bike computer, the Urban 300 goes to the solid 150 lumen setting on the city streets! I guess it's an economy thing, too. Why waste light when you're not using it? I want to see the pool of light in front of me. If I can't, then the light may as well be doing some work by flashing.

Luis
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Old 06-01-12, 05:27 PM   #18
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Nothing says scofflaw like a blinky light.
Wrong. This says scofflaw like nothing else:

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Old 06-01-12, 05:31 PM   #19
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Nothing says scofflaw like a blinky light.
Wrong. This says scofflaw like nothing else:

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Old 06-01-12, 07:17 PM   #20
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Minnesota and useless legislation
Studded tires now legal? Really? What a huge relief. Now I wish I had been ticketed for it:
"Whadda you in for?"
"Studded tires on da bicycle.. That's right.. you heard me... whadda YOU lookin at..."
We need to come up with a new form of desperado biking....
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Old 06-01-12, 10:12 PM   #21
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I'm living in Washington state at the moment and...
Quote:
(3) Flashing lights are prohibited except as required in RCW 46.37.190, 46.37.200, 46.37.210, 46.37.215, and 46.37.300, warning lamps authorized by the state patrol, and light-emitting diode flashing taillights on bicycles.
(no exception for headlights)

Since I run an extremely bright P7 in strobe mode from dawn to dusk, I guess I'm still a scofflaw.
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Old 06-01-12, 11:46 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by xtrajack View Post
I can't see any reason for a front blinking light.----permaybehaps, some one could educate me, as to why a person would want/need a flashing front light.
Flashing lights are apparently easier to see by others, so I can understand why a lot of cyclists choose to use them. However, I personally hate flashing headlights and will not use them, partly because they make me feel like I'm having a petite mal seizure, but mostly because I like to be able to see where the hell I'm going when it's dark.
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Old 06-01-12, 11:50 PM   #23
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Personally I am skeptical that it's a safety improvement, but it's undeniable that you can't miss seeing one of the very bright flashing lights, even in daytime.
No disrespect but that seems a bit contradictory. You're skeptical of their value as a safety tool but undeniable in their eye-catching visibility factor? Are you of the opinion that the flashing could cause onlookers to become a little... confused? Discombobulated? ...and result in a "deer in headlights" effect where the human obstruction keeps coming, their small simple minds hypnotized by the blinking light (I've long suspected this to be an issue with some of my fellow humans and that may well have been the reason a confused salmon continued heading straight for me in the wrong lane today)?
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Old 06-02-12, 12:26 AM   #24
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I put my front light (Cat Eye Opticube) on strobe in daylight during low visibility conditions like fog or rain, where I don't need it to see, but I'd like to be seen. Lots of people have reflectors/steady lights on the entrance to their driveways around here, and I've mistaken cyclists with steady lights for those before when I've been driving.
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Old 06-02-12, 08:35 AM   #25
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No disrespect but that seems a bit contradictory. You're skeptical of their value as a safety tool but undeniable in their eye-catching visibility factor? Are you of the opinion that the flashing could cause onlookers to become a little... confused? ...
I wondered if anyone would ask. I am skeptical because more "eye-catching" is not precisely greater "visibility", and neither of them is necessarily a significant precaution. I will grant that common sense and conventional wisdom suggests I'm wrong but I don't think that common sense looks deeply enough into it.

In most cases of cross traffic collisions - left hook, pulling out in front of the cyclist, failing to yield at an intersection - in the cases where the cyclist already had a light, was riding in the lane and was normally visible, I submit that the driver's error is a failure in judgment. The cyclist was seen but for whatever reason was dismissed. The speed was misjudged, the bicycle dismissed as pedestrian or unimportant, the driver assumed the cyclist must yield, it was psychologically filtered out, or other misjudgments. I'd need to see good hard evidence that a flashing light diminishes this.

Secondly, flashing white or yellow is usually associated with stationary obstructions. While that may be handy for traffic approaching from behind, I don't see how that association could do anything to aid safety for cross traffic. If he thinks you're a hazard marker he's not going to expect you coming towards him. Again, show me some statistical evidence, but otherwise I'm skeptical.
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