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A little over-concerned about light colors?

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A little over-concerned about light colors?

Old 12-04-12, 11:39 PM
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vol
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A little over-concerned about light colors?

With all the concerns about the legality of using certain colored lights, has anyone actually known of real incidents in which a cyclist is fined for using, say, blue flashing light? Or real bike accidents caused by, say, using amber or white lights as taillight (or using red light has headlight)?
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Old 12-05-12, 12:34 AM
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Check your State's Motor Vehicle Operators Handbook (Drivers Manual). Mine specifies white light up front and red reflector in the rear. I go above and beyond that- 2 of the 4 rear lights have a built-in reflector .

Amber can be used as a supplement, but not as a substitute.

Blue lights... I'm not sure they are in the book, and I don't want to argue the point with a bored LEO who thinks that I may be impersonating a LEO- which is a big no-no these days. YMMV.
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Old 12-05-12, 01:06 AM
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Can amber lights be used on both front and rear?
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Old 12-05-12, 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by vol View Post
Can amber lights be used on both front and rear?
In conjunction with the prerequisite white front and red rear, yeah.

You must have white in front and red in rear, you can have white/amber front and red/amber rear, but not just amber by itself in either the front or the rear.

Again, this is for me in OK- you should check out your own local regulations, as I don't want you getting a ticket on possible bad advice.
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Old 12-05-12, 01:04 PM
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don't use red in the front or white in the back and people probably will not bother you. I used to use an amber rear light, it was visible so people liked it.
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Old 12-05-12, 04:54 PM
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Lights help conspicuity, but also convey information with the intent of improving safety and traffic flow (orientation of vehicle, braking, interning to turn, stopped (emergency flashers), emergency vehicle, slow moving/working vehicle...). That's why colors, positions, brightnesses, pattern, action, and so forth of vehicle lights are regulated. Same goes for marine and aviation lighting. If you do something wacked out or inappropriate with lighting you're communicating misinformation.
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Old 12-14-12, 11:51 AM
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Am I aware of any cases? Sort of. Several cyclists were cited for running a stop sign (there appears to have been conflicting directions from officials and LEOs performing adjacent traffic control and revenue enhancement functions) during a charity ride in Lovettesville, VA, a few years ago. They were able to plea-bargain the citations down to failure to operate a bicycle with an approved red reflector (the fact the infractions occurred around high noon made for some amusing comments on local email lists and chat boards). Paying a small fine (the prosecution was determined to get SOMETHING) was deemed preferable to a moving violation, larger fine, points on drivers license, increased insurance premiums, etc.

Seriously, if your locality specifies something for riding at night (mine is white light forwards, DOT-approved red reflector aft + red taillight if on a road with a speed limit > 35mph), use that. Else you or your heirs could have difficulty with insurance and other legal stuff after an accident. Some companies sell amber "be seen" lights for daytime use (amber is more visible in daytime) but at night, I'm with Looigi - drivers around here are confused enough without my adding to it. And if I've gone to the trouble of mounting a light on handlebars or helmet, I want it to be useful and help illuminate what is in front of me. A red blinky forward is useless to illuminate the ninja joggers I encounter on commutes this time of year. And when I am driving, I see enough wrong-way riders that someone using a red headlight would confuse me. Why take the chance. A cheap light costs a lot less than the ER co-pay.
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Old 12-14-12, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ks1g View Post
Am I aware of any cases? Sort of. Several cyclists were cited for running a stop sign (there appears to have been conflicting directions from officials and LEOs performing adjacent traffic control and revenue enhancement functions) during a charity ride in Lovettesville, VA, a few years ago. They were able to plea-bargain the citations down to failure to operate a bicycle with an approved red reflector (the fact the infractions occurred around high noon made for some amusing comments on local email lists and chat boards). Paying a small fine (the prosecution was determined to get SOMETHING) was deemed preferable to a moving violation, larger fine, points on drivers license, increased insurance premiums, etc.

Seriously, if your locality specifies something for riding at night (mine is white light forwards, DOT-approved red reflector aft + red taillight if on a road with a speed limit > 35mph), use that. Else you or your heirs could have difficulty with insurance and other legal stuff after an accident. Some companies sell amber "be seen" lights for daytime use (amber is more visible in daytime) but at night, I'm with Looigi - drivers around here are confused enough without my adding to it. And if I've gone to the trouble of mounting a light on handlebars or helmet, I want it to be useful and help illuminate what is in front of me. A red blinky forward is useless to illuminate the ninja joggers I encounter on commutes this time of year. And when I am driving, I see enough wrong-way riders that someone using a red headlight would confuse me. Why take the chance. A cheap light costs a lot less than the ER co-pay.
I knew a guy who had one of those red/blue police lights on his bike, he got stopped by a cop who confiscated it. I suppose he got lucky the cop didn't charge him with impersonating a police officer too. We all know that'd be a bit much, but that kind of thing happens all the time.

I have a green light on my bike, but that is in addition to two forward facing white lights, two barend red lights, and two rearward facing red lights. The green light is mostly aimed at the ground (mounted on the downtube) and is a Bike Brightz brand light that replicates the "down low glow" effect some cars have. I don't believe anyone is ever going to be confused by this.
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Old 12-14-12, 06:33 PM
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yeah, I should have mentioned not to use blue, they are serious about that
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