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Should permanent running lights for cyclists be mandatory?

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Should permanent running lights for cyclists be mandatory?

Old 03-23-13, 08:55 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH View Post
Really? What state requires lights (other than brake lights and possibly turn signals) to be used on a car in the daytime?
California now requires headlights on during the day when the weather is crappy enough to require windshield wipers. But, that's sort of a "well....duh!" obvious point.

OP should be reminded of the wisdom of Cicero... "the more laws, the less justice".
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Old 03-23-13, 09:14 AM
  #52  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
Why would it discourage sales? $50-300 for good lights is cheaper than a years worth of car ownership. $50-300 for lights is cheaper than the hospital bill. There can also be significant legal problems if an accident occurs (at night without a light)
1) The comparison will not be between the cost of the lights and a hospital bill, but between the cost of a bike without lights (frequently available for less than $100 either used or from Walmart) and a cost that's double that due to the need to add decent lights.

2) Yes cyclists in night-time accidents frequently have more legal trouble collecting from an at-fault motorist - and that's the case even if they were using lights but the motorist claims that they weren't. Lights are frequently damaged in an accident and it's hard for the cyclist to prove that his were working and turned on unless he's fortunate enough for there to be a willing witness. Mandating daytime lights makes the problem much worse since it extends this issue to all collisions rather than just those at night.


Your basic argument seems to be: 'Many cyclists don't obey Law A and that's bad so we'll pass Law B and that will somehow magically make them start obeying both.' Sorry, but I don't see the logic in that.
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Old 03-23-13, 11:06 AM
  #53  
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The Idea is a lot more practicible now, with the LED lights that are avaiable. Long battery life is important, and minimal curent consumption gives longer battery life.
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Old 03-23-13, 01:07 PM
  #54  
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One more point: night-time lights are required because things are not visible in the dark to the human eye, so you have to help others see you by using lights. In normal daytime, things are visible for the most part; if a driver doesn't see you, more likely the driver isn't looking, isn't paying attention, or has impaired vision---in other words, the driver is probably at fault (of course, there are always exceptions, such as fog, rain, etc., in which case one should use light, and it would be reasonable to mandate using lights in foggy and rainy weather during daytime). Daytime lights won't help much. Drivers' eyesight and attention would be much more crucial.

Last edited by vol; 03-23-13 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 03-23-13, 01:15 PM
  #55  
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Oh, you're from Portland. That explains a lot.

Get off my lawn!
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Old 03-24-13, 04:01 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by Greyryder View Post
Daytime running lights have never made any sense to me. The railroads figured out over a century ago that constant intensity lamps will not make anything more visible in daylight conditions.
Actually that's not my experience. When riding a bike in daylight and looking back to check for cars, I find it a whole lot easier to notice them and judge their speed when the light is turned on (it's supposed to be).

However, those are strong lights. Can't be compared to bike lighting (except a very few expensive brands).
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Old 03-24-13, 05:47 AM
  #57  
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I would have a really tough time arguing against someone who was proposing that bicycles being used upon the roadway should have, within reason, the same visibility equipment as other slow-moving vehicles (eg. tractors) require in that state such as amber flashing lights and a reflective triangle.

I'm not proposing it, nor am I for it, I just can't really argue against it very well.

I often use daytime lights. I don't think they should be mandatory.
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Old 03-24-13, 11:43 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
I added the bold to the quote below:


Where people riding bikes are obliged to travel amongst motor vehicles, the risks to people riding bikes, from motor vehicles, can be excessive. Use of lights by cyclists can help reduce that risk. The trick is to somehow keep the safety benefit that use of lights by cyclists can be to their safety, from being a restriction to riding.
When I said a "showing" of excessive risk, I didn't mean a simple assertion, but some sort of actual evidence.

Right now, cyclists sharing the road with motorists have on average 40% lower risk of premature mortality than those motorists.

What statistical evidence do you have that a 40% reduction in risk is not a sufficient reduction, and that the risk remains excessive?

And what proposals do you envision to force the motorists onto bicycles, if even the reduced risk of bicycling is so high as to demand regulation?
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Old 03-24-13, 12:48 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
Your basic argument seems to be: 'Many cyclists don't obey Law A and that's bad so we'll pass Law B and that will somehow magically make them start obeying both.' Sorry, but I don't see the logic in that.
Well, that, er, problem can be solved: "Bikes sold after a certain date must all be provided with running light". Not that I like the idea.
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Old 03-24-13, 02:10 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Well, that, er, problem can be solved: "Bikes sold after a certain date must all be provided with running light". Not that I like the idea.
We've had similar laws requiring a full set of reflectors on new bikes yet very few bikes seen on the road have those reflectors. Many bikes have all of the reflectors removed before even being taken out the door of the bike shop. I wouldn't expect mandated running lights to fare much better.
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Old 03-24-13, 04:16 PM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
We've had similar laws requiring a full set of reflectors on new bikes yet very few bikes seen on the road have those reflectors. Many bikes have all of the reflectors removed before even being taken out the door of the bike shop. I wouldn't expect mandated running lights to fare much better.
Ah, okay. Here, the police is VERY active in checking that bikes are equipped with bell, reflectors, lights, brakes etc., and the fines you can get are VERY high...
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Old 03-24-13, 08:50 PM
  #62  
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What a shame, hagen, that in the US the police are not doing the same thing.
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Old 03-24-13, 09:01 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
I added the bold to the quote below:


Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
Before mandating additional restrictions on cycling, there should be some showing that cycling represents an excessive risk.

Since bicycle commuters have a 40% lower probability of premature mortality than motorists, additional restrictions on cyclists might make eminent sense after we've dealt with the real problem, motorists killing motorists.

For now, with most existing bicycle regulations unenforced because the police have much higher priorities reducing the risk of incompetent motorists, I can't see the point in adding more restrictions on the lower-risk form of transportation.
Where people riding bikes are obliged to travel amongst motor vehicles, the risks to people riding bikes, from motor vehicles, can be excessive. Use of lights by cyclists can help reduce that risk. The trick is to somehow keep the safety benefit that use of lights by cyclists can be to their safety, from being a restriction to riding.
"When I said a "showing" of excessive risk, I didn't mean a simple assertion, but some sort of actual evidence.

Right now, cyclists sharing the road with motorists have on average 40% lower risk of premature mortality than those motorists.

What statistical evidence do you have that a 40% reduction in risk is not a sufficient reduction, and that the risk remains excessive?

And what proposals do you envision to force the motorists onto bicycles, if even the reduced risk of bicycling is so high as to demand regulation? " jputnam

I don't know that you are, but perhaps you're contesting existence of the basic, relative vulnerability of people on bikes compared to motor vehicles where both are obliged to travel the road with each other. That basic vulnerability on the part of cyclists relative to people driving, rather than studies and statistics, is for me, the only consideration necessary to encourage people riding to equip their lights and themselves for whatever improvement to their safety it can help aid.

As you may have noticed my having said in another comment, I'd rather use of daytime lights on bicycles not be made a law; by that, I mean, not widely in the U.S. at present. Such a law doesn't to me seem like a very effective way of helping people to heighten their awareness about visibility of themselves to other road users, actually bringing them take the initiative to improve their own visibility. Some city's in the U.S. with relatively high numbers of people cycling should probably be talking more about the idea of daytime lights used on bicycles though.

Last edited by wsbob; 03-24-13 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 03-25-13, 09:22 AM
  #64  
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I get so tired of nanny state b'crats trying to tell us what to do every waking moment of our lives!!!!!!
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Old 03-25-13, 11:17 AM
  #65  
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Originally Posted by Greyryder View Post
Daytime running lights have never made any sense to me. The railroads figured out over a century ago that constant intensity lamps will not make anything more visible in daylight conditions. That's why they use oscillating or flashing lights.

I'm convinced that the real problem these days is so many motorists simply not looking. They won't see you, no matter how well lit up you are.
While I agree that oscillating ights are more visible, I completely disagree with the notion that using lights during the day does nothing. On the open road (like in montana where i grew up and my dad pounded turn your lights on on the highway) you can see cars with lights on much earlier than cars with out. And even in urban areas you can see cars with lights sooner in they daytime than those without. this is especially true for cars that don't stand out, like gray ones.

As to the OP, while I strongly tend to the safety nanny side, I don't think requiring daylight bike lights is a priority, But clarifying night lighting laws and enforcing is important (and the law should include the twilight times). I believe this even more firmly after having a close call with an unlighted cyclist a week ago. (person had no lights and was made less visible by the lights of the cars travling in the same direction)
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Old 03-25-13, 11:52 AM
  #66  
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I have lived in Colorado for the past 51 years and have yet to see any bicycle using running lights in the daytime. It could be due to the local bicycle culture or maybe it's the 300+ days of sunshine (or as the weatherman likes to call it, "severe clear"). Using a running light in the bright sunshine is a little like farting into the wind - it might make you feel good, but would have no other effect whatsoever. A bright jersey, on the other hand, can be seen a long way off in the distance.

You folks must live in some dark and gloomy parts of the world to be proposing mandatory light use.
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Old 03-25-13, 12:17 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by Tandem427 View Post
I have lived in Colorado for the past 51 years and have yet to see any bicycle using running lights in the daytime. It could be due to the local bicycle culture or maybe it's the 300+ days of sunshine (or as the weatherman likes to call it, "severe clear"). Using a running light in the bright sunshine is a little like farting into the wind - it might make you feel good, but would have no other effect whatsoever. A bright jersey, on the other hand, can be seen a long way off in the distance.

You folks must live in some dark and gloomy parts of the world to be proposing ... light use.
I live in an even sunnier place (296 vs. 247 in Colorado Springs) and use daylight front and rear strobe. I have seen evidence the front helps me get noticed and considered as a faster vehicle. Highly recommended.

I also see occasionally other cyclists doing the same.
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Old 03-25-13, 04:47 PM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by Tandem427 View Post
You folks must live in some dark and gloomy parts of the world to be proposing mandatory light use.
'You folks" is one bored BF poster from Portland; nobody of any stature or position proposed anything, no b'crats, dingbats or anybody else, just a bored poster with a "good idea."
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Old 03-25-13, 04:49 PM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
I get so tired of nanny state b'crats trying to tell us what to do every waking moment of our lives!!!!!!
Ya sure it isn't the voices in your head telling you "what to do every waking moment"?
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Old 03-25-13, 07:05 PM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by Tandem427 View Post
I have lived in Colorado for the past 51 years and have yet to see any bicycle using running lights in the daytime. It could be due to the local bicycle culture or maybe it's the 300+ days of sunshine (or as the weatherman likes to call it, "severe clear"). Using a running light in the bright sunshine is a little like farting into the wind - it might make you feel good, but would have no other effect whatsoever. A bright jersey, on the other hand, can be seen a long way off in the distance.

You folks must live in some dark and gloomy parts of the world to be proposing mandatory light use.

In Colorado, 300+ days of sunshine? Not in Portland, Oregon. We're lucky to get 150 days of sun. About 7 months of cloudy, often dark and rainy days. Lots of trees creating shady, even darker conditions along many roads. To counter these conditions, people biking need all the help they can get. As I said earlier, it's not uncommon in the Portland area for cyclists to run lights in the daytime.

Getting a law passed in Oregon, or on a smaller scale, just in Portland, requiring bikes to run daytime lights, sounds very iffy. Might be better to start up more slowly on raising legally required visibility gear for bikes. First, might be to consider changing the law for rear reflector required/tail light recommended, to required for both. First see how that goes over before considering a law for mandatory daytime lights.
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Old 03-26-13, 12:14 AM
  #71  
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Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
I don't know that you are, but perhaps you're contesting existence of the basic, relative vulnerability of people on bikes compared to motor vehicles where both are obliged to travel the road with each other. That basic vulnerability on the part of cyclists relative to people driving, rather than studies and statistics, is for me, the only consideration necessary to encourage people riding to equip their lights and themselves for whatever improvement to their safety it can help aid.
So you don't really care about the outcomes, only the possibilities?

Well, it's possible cyclists would all be safer wearing tutus. As long as the actual facts don't matter, let's just mandate it on a hypothetical hunch.
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Old 03-26-13, 12:55 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
So you don't really care about the outcomes, only the possibilities?

Well, it's possible cyclists would all be safer wearing tutus. As long as the actual facts don't matter, let's just mandate it on a hypothetical hunch.

If you're assuming I don't care about conclusions dependent upon statistical results of some study or another as a condition of making a decision about personal safety whose benefit can easily be derived on a first hand, individual, empirical basis...no, in that context, I don't much care about such conclusions, or the studies they're drawn from. I'd much rather people think for themselves whether the addition of some piece of safety equipment or another, despite not necessarily being required by law to use, will perhaps improve their safety as they ride their bike in the various situations they find themselves riding in.

If you decide to try out your theory, idea, personal fantasy...or whatever it is having to do with wearing a tutu while biking for greater cycling safety, let us know how that goes.
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Old 03-26-13, 10:21 AM
  #73  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
'You folks" is one bored BF poster from Portland; nobody of any stature or position proposed anything, no b'crats, dingbats or anybody else, just a bored poster with a "good idea."
You, too, are often bored it seems
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Old 03-26-13, 03:20 PM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by hagen2456 View Post
Ah, okay. Here, the police is VERY active in checking that bikes are equipped with bell, reflectors, lights, brakes etc., and the fines you can get are VERY high...
mandatory reflector laws are silly. imo, a reflector is utterly useless in comparison to adequate led lighting (e.g. not dim dynamo lights but light and cheap USB-rechargeable LED flame-throwers).

bells are a fashion accessory. the human voice is far more effective than any bell. i do, however, welcome the advent of 110+ dB bike horns. (when they make one that sounds like a fog horn...i am buying.)

while lights are mandated in denmark and germany, there are limitations on brightness and/or focus. moreover, its absolutely nonsensical that helmet lights do not fulfill legal requirements. i've also noticed that many europeans position the lights below the top of the wheel (fender or fork mount). in order for motorists to notice a bike light its helpful to have the light focus on their windshields as opposed to their bumper.

Last edited by spare_wheel; 03-26-13 at 03:25 PM.
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Old 03-26-13, 05:59 PM
  #75  
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Daytime running lights, being another unenforceable regulation, won't work. It's a great idea to use them, I don't, but it should be a choice. Also, there are lots of commuters who ride their bikes to low paying jobs and the expense of purchasing lights would be unfair to them.
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