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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 03-26-13, 08:08 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by rubic View Post
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.
$20 planet bike light or a $5000+ ER bill? Easy choice.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:30 PM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
$20 planet bike light or a $5000+ ER bill? Easy choice.
You word that as if it's definitely or most likely one or the other.

Also, I just glanced over the reference in the OP and it doesn't seem to indicate that those reductions were necessarily for daytime, just that those with permanent light had overall reductions.

/sorry, just finished a fantastic book on propaganda/persuasion and things like this are standing out at the moment

Last edited by tdister; 03-26-13 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 03-26-13, 08:58 PM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
$20 planet bike light or a $5000+ ER bill? Easy choice.

From the LBS where I hope people will continue to buy gear rather than only online, the $20 planet bike rear blinkie is o.k. for visibility. The 2 watt lights for $30-$45 are better, but that's getting to be fairly serious money for some people. Except for the DIY light enthusiasts that re-purpose online ordered import flashlights for bike lights...better than low-low end, front lights with easily rechargeable batteries is where the cost goes up to $60 and more.

In Oregon, a front bike light is required dusk to dawn and as otherwise needed depending on weather conditions, etc. One would think that for their own safety if not that of other people, keeping one on the bike in good working order would be, to use a worn out bit of jargon...'a no brainer'...but it can be amazing, frustrating, and scary to notice just how many people neglect for whatever reason, to have decent lighting on the front of their bike.

If having good working lights on their bike involves very much more effort than having good lights on a motor vehicle...which is basically no effort at all, except to think to turn them on, the percent of everyone riding having good working lights may not be high. Someone back thread (forgot to thank you! Thanks!), answered my question about what percent of people riding in Germany, have their bike lights working at night. Answer: about 50 percent. That's in a country where biking is said to hold a much larger mode share than in the U.S., and where most bikes are required to be sold with lights.

Having a law telling people: 'You got to do this' ...or, slapping them with a ticket, taking some of their money because they haven't got the legal gear, by itself, doesn't particularly do a good job of getting people to get with the program.
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Old 03-26-13, 09:36 PM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
From the LBS where I hope people will continue to buy gear rather than only online, the $20 planet bike rear blinkie is o.k. for visibility. The 2 watt lights for $30-$45 are better, but that's getting to be fairly serious money for some people.
As far as I can tell, the PBSF and most of its clones are only useful for littering the road with halves of lights. At least PDW could shell out for a couple of screws to hold the Radbots together.

Except for the DIY light enthusiasts that re-purpose online ordered import flashlights for bike lights...better than low-low end, front lights with easily rechargeable batteries is where the cost goes up to $60 and more.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B006Y1FK18

27<60 Even adding in the wide angle lens (should be included, IMO) it's still under $35, and beats the crap out of 90% of the bike lights I see on the road.
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Old 03-26-13, 10:20 PM
  #80  
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a name brand 100-150 lumen blinky can be had for well under $50. this is more than adequate for being seen by any motorist who is actually paying attention. instead of requiring completely pointless reflectors we should require that every new bike sold be equipped with decent blinkies.
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Old 03-26-13, 10:45 PM
  #81  
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You don't need to knock reflectors in order to make lights seem worthwhile. Lights can stand on their own merits. For the front, I mostly agree. Rear, pedal and wheel reflectors are far better than nothing, though, and it's a disservice to state otherwise.

I'm not suggesting they are as effective as lights or even close, but they are far from "completely pointless". I regularly spot cyclist with only reflectors and they are visible much sooner than a ninja.

Most people won't even ride a bike a night.*Yes I pulled this out of thin air but I'd wager it's true.

/Something MUST be done!
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Old 03-27-13, 08:23 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
Also, I just glanced over the reference in the OP and it doesn't seem to indicate that those reductions were necessarily for daytime, just that those with permanent light had overall reductions.
No, the article is specifically about daytime use of lights. The authors found a 19% reduction in accidents over the course of 1 year for cyclists who ran running lights during the daytime.
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Old 03-27-13, 10:15 AM
  #83  
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https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00014575/50
for anyone wanting to read it in full

edit: weird, it was letting me view it for free from google's link, now it wants money
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Old 03-27-13, 03:22 PM
  #84  
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I was riding home and was wondering if maybe this wasn't a good idea after all. Also, how many pedestrians are killed and injured every year?

A quick search shows many more people are killed as pedestrians in the US (>4K per year vs <1K for cyclists deaths, with pedestrians far more likely to die should a collision occur. Sure, there are a lot more pedestrians so it only makes sense but think about it: If everyone had daytime running lights then they would be there by default for cyclists too. If it saves even one life, it will be worth it.

I think you should be able to remove the lighted helmet when indoors (you need something rigid to mount the lights to, might as well be a helmet) but if on a parking area, any road surface, or sidewalk which adjoins or intersects a parking or road surface, it must be worn and in good working order. I am confident we can get reliable safe models on every head for well under $50 each, maybe even solar powered.
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Old 03-27-13, 03:36 PM
  #85  
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With LED light systems getting more compact we could imbed them in the bony parts of the forehead and back of skull at birth.
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Old 03-27-13, 04:22 PM
  #86  
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00014575/50
for anyone wanting to read it in full

edit: weird, it was letting me view it for free from google's link, now it wants money
yeah, articles like this come from peer reviewed journals. If you're not affiliated with a research institution they'll cost money
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Old 03-28-13, 07:26 AM
  #87  
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"Hi officer."
"Do you know why I stopped you?"
"Not really. I was just walking my dog."
"Aren't you forgetting something?"
"Well... I've got my daytime lights on, my reflective vest, my pedestrian helmet, my steel toed shoes. I picked up my dog's poo and disposed of it in the last block..."
"And your dog...?"
"He's been defanged, declawed, neutered and spayed for good measure. I've got the papers..."
"You know very well he's got a crack in his tail-light lens. Get up against the wall and spread 'em. Both of you."
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Old 03-28-13, 09:57 AM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by tdister View Post
I was riding home and was wondering if maybe this wasn't a good idea after all. Also, how many pedestrians are killed and injured every year?

A quick search shows many more people are killed as pedestrians in the US (>4K per year vs <1K for cyclists deaths, with pedestrians far more likely to die should a collision occur. Sure, there are a lot more pedestrians so it only makes sense but think about it: If everyone had daytime running lights then they would be there by default for cyclists too. If it saves even one life, it will be worth it.

I think you should be able to remove the lighted helmet when indoors (you need something rigid to mount the lights to, might as well be a helmet) but if on a parking area, any road surface, or sidewalk which adjoins or intersects a parking or road surface, it must be worn and in good working order. I am confident we can get reliable safe models on every head for well under $50 each, maybe even solar powered.
Lots of people die every year in bathtubs and showers. Helmets should be mandatory in the bathroom. If it saves even one life, it will be worth it.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:29 AM
  #89  
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I'm shocked at the number of people in this thread that think lights should be mandated. As some of you posted, high visibility clothing (even white) is often far brighter during daytime hours. I rode for a number of years with a rear blinking light - I honestly couldn't tell you if it helped. Maybe it helped with the good, respectful motorists, but I don't think those are the @%#@ that are going to hit you ... the idiots will hit you regardless if you have a light or not.

Also, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the potential flaws in this study. I can't read the actual paper, so I'm just throwing this out there. The test group that were given lights - did they volunteer for this? Were they randomly selected? In other words, did they have an incentive to get lights? And by incentive, I mean they were more prone to be safety conscious. This is a simple issue. More complex study questions include: if they had never ridden with lights before, does this mean they were beginner/less-experienced cyclists? If so, I've seen studies that drivers actually give wider birth to cyclists that appear unsteady or beginner. And yet another question, assuming the control and variable groups were randomly chosen, and had no experience difference, did the sheer presence of the light on their bike MAKE them more safety aware, and better defensive cyclists - thereby reducing accident rate. Just a few questions - and just saying, I could easily see this study leading to poor results since it doesn't appear to be a "blind" study.

Last edited by lineinthewater; 03-28-13 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 03-29-13, 06:04 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
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.
In order for the motorist to still see the road, it's illegal to have the light focus on their windshields -- StVZO light regulations have a good sharp cutoff on the top of the beam pattern for safety. Not a huge issue when there's one bicycle to 100 cars, and the bike has a dim incandescent light. But these days, you can get an LED light brighter than a car headlight for under $50, and motorist complaints about being glare-blinded by bicycle headlights are increasing rapidly.
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Old 03-29-13, 06:06 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by wsbob View Post
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.
So, what other legal mandates can we dream up with no empirical basis?

I think bicyclists would all be safer riding down the center line of the road, instead of on the right.

Let's not bother evaluating it, just mandate it. Who cares what the results are?
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Old 03-29-13, 06:08 PM
  #92  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
Several threads here show that some riders use their lights during the daytime. I also do this (headlights on flash/rear lights flash) because I feel like it makes me more visible to motorists. I finished reading this* article which finds that cyclists running daytime permanent lights resulted in a 19% decrease in bicycle accidents/injury compared to those who didn't. The study was conducted in Odense, Denmark. The authors conclude that



Should it be mandatory that others in the US do so?

*Madsen, J.C.O., T. Andersen, and H.S. Lahrmann. 2013. "Safety effects of permanent running lights for bicycles: A controlled experiment". Accident Analysis and Prevention. 50: 820-829.
The trouble, as always, is with enforcement that is both practical and sensible.

Are you going to pull over a 6-year-old girl with training wheels and streamers from her handlebars and fine her for not having lights on her bike when it's broad daylight?

If so you'll rapidly lose public support as the police are seen to be heavy handed and issuing fines over what's little more than pedantry. If not, what about a 12-year-old cycling an hour before sunset? What about a 15-year-old cycling just as the sun is setting?

The trouble with trying to impose any universal legislation on cyclists is that there are no legal standards to restrict who is allowed to take to two wheels. It's not like driving a car where one must be a certain age, licensed, registered, insured etc.
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Old 03-29-13, 06:50 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by lineinthewater View Post
Also, I'm surprised no one has mentioned the potential flaws in this study. I can't read the actual paper, so I'm just throwing this out there. The test group that were given lights - did they volunteer for this? Were they randomly selected? In other words, did they have an incentive to get lights? And by incentive, I mean they were more prone to be safety conscious. This is a simple issue. More complex study questions include: if they had never ridden with lights before, does this mean they were beginner/less-experienced cyclists? If so, I've seen studies that drivers actually give wider birth to cyclists that appear unsteady or beginner. And yet another question, assuming the control and variable groups were randomly chosen, and had no experience difference, did the sheer presence of the light on their bike MAKE them more safety aware, and better defensive cyclists - thereby reducing accident rate. Just a few questions - and just saying, I could easily see this study leading to poor results since it doesn't appear to be a "blind" study.
The paper was readily available and answers most of your questions. The participants did volunteer to be part of the study and were then randomly selected as to which ones would have the running lights installed and which ones would be part of the control group without those lights; about 2000 people were in each group. The running lights were in addition to any regular lights used for night time riding. I didn't see any lux or lumen rating, but they were driven by a dynamo effect from magnets attached to the spokes - lights I've seen of that type have been rather low power and useful only as 'be seen' rather than lights to see by at night.

It's certainly possible that the presence of the lights had some effect in changing the behavior of the cyclists since there wasn't any way to keep the participants unaware of the lights. The researchers were also concerned that the cyclists self-reporting of accidents might be affected and did some corrections based on self-reported solo accidents (hard to see how presence of daytime lights would affect those) and accidents involving other vehicles or individuals.

Another concern would be that the novelty of daytime lights on bikes might make them more effective than they would be if more widely deployed. I.e. people are more apt to pay attention to something they see as unusual and this might make them drive more attentively around the bikes with daytime lights. AIRC, this was observed in studies of additional car lights, both the 3rd brake light and daytime headlights. When studies were done with small numbers of such vehicles there was a very substantial safety benefit but when they became more common the benefits were reduced (although no eliminated).
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Old 03-30-13, 07:19 AM
  #94  
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I just dont understand people that think they have a duty to tell the rest of us how to live and what to do.
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Old 03-30-13, 07:29 AM
  #95  
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If you want stupid laws, how about cyclist demand that all pedestrians carry a bell and ring it before stepping out of a doorway or changing direction!!!!
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Old 03-30-13, 09:43 AM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by lineinthewater View Post
I could easily see this study leading to poor results since it doesn't appear to be a "blind" study.
“Ideally the experiment should have been performed as a doubled blinded experiment, where neither the participants nor the researchers knows specifically who is assigned to the treatment group and the control group respectively. However, for obvious reasons such design could not be adopted in this study (822)”
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Old 03-30-13, 10:07 AM
  #97  
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I've been running my Planet Bike superflash headlight, in superflash mode, for some time now during the day. I find it definitely makes me more visible to motorists, and even Cambridge pedestrians, who are always in their own little world.

I do think it should be mandatory though. It would be unenforceable, and just create more government bureaucracy, which we definitely don't need.
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Old 12-20-14, 01:41 PM
  #98  
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Bike Safety is Legit, Y'all!: https://youtu.be/zcmwFAW-Wis

Aaron Caroll covered this topic just now. Jump to 2:35
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Old 12-22-14, 09:49 AM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by agent pombero View Post
“Ideally the experiment should have been performed as a doubled blinded experiment, where neither the participants nor the researchers knows specifically who is assigned to the treatment group and the control group respectively. However, for obvious reasons such design could not be adopted in this study (822)”
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Old 12-22-14, 10:23 AM
  #100  
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My dedicated commuter has a dyno-hub and I run the lights all the time, but they don't blink -- they're of German manufacture...

My other bike is a folder and while I have lights which clip on -- Bontrager Flare 2 rear and Ion 700 front* -- I generally don't use them during the day.

Can't say that riding with or without daytime running lights has affected my safety one way or another.

I do know that even with mandatory daytime running lights on motorcycles, there are still plenty of motorists who "didn't see" a rider they have just right/left hooked or pulled out from a side street upon...

Lights should not be mandatory (and in fact, mandatory reflectors are ludicrous, too)... but I like that many if not most or all of the citibikes for rent have lights built into them, and one of the bikes I'm most excited about from Trek* this year comes with built-in lighting.

*I work PT in a Trek shop -- not trying to shill for Trek, just what I happen to have, use, and am familiar with.
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