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Anyone Ever Ticketed For Blue Lights on Bicycle?

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Anyone Ever Ticketed For Blue Lights on Bicycle?

Old 01-29-19, 11:34 PM
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maallyn
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Anyone Ever Ticketed For Blue Lights on Bicycle?

I am creating a decorative home made lighting system for my bicycle. One of the features would be a rainbow projected onto the surface of the street on either side of the bicycle. This projection would be accomplished with an array of LED lights with lenses that would be mounted onto a steel sculpture that would be mounted on the real pannier rack of the bike.

The blue lights would be to project a blue spot as part of the rainbow, along with purple, green, aqua, yellow, orange, and red.

These lights will not be flashing; pedestrians and motorist would not see the blue lights themselves; they would only see the projected blue spots as part of a rainbow.

I tried to do some basic research and came up with this; https://app.leg.wa.gov/wac/default.aspx?cite=204-21-230 which is Washington Administrative Code 204-21-30. Paragraph of that says: (4) Blue lights are prohibited on any vehicle other than a law enforcement vehicle as defined in WAC 204-21-020. 204-21-020 merely describes a law enforcement vehicle.

What I am a bit frustrated is knowing whether a bicycle is considered a vehicle in this case. Also, WAC 204 does not seem to define any penalties. So, if I do get stopped, what penalty would I get?

I have seen at least one bicycle here in Bellingham that is lit entirely (frame and wheels) with nothing but blue LED's. I have seen motorcycles and cars with blue lights under the carriage.

So, what gives? Is it really illegal for me on my bicycle? Has anyone ever got ticketed? If so, what is the penalty?

I also see nothing mentioned about unauthorized lighting on clothing. I make a line of lighted artistic clothing; some with blue lights. Can I assume the law does not care what I am wearing as far a lights?

Thank you all for your help.

Mark Allyn
allyn@well.com
www.allyn.com (this site has samples of my lighted clothing)
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Old 01-30-19, 01:56 AM
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And yet no photo of said bike or lighting arrangement was seen that day.

In any event, the purpose of the law is to avoid any possibility that your bike could be mistaken for an emergency vehicle. I'm pretty sure that what you describe would not fall under that category.

As for what you're wearing, there's no law that limits the garishness of your clothing. One more thing, when you're on the road your bike is considered a vehicle with all the rights and responsibilities therein.
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Old 01-30-19, 10:02 AM
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maallyn
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Sorry, I forgot photos. This is a video where toward both the beginning and end, you will see me in my lighted clothing.

I don't have pictures of the other guy with blue all over his bike and my own proposed lighting system only exists in my brain as it is not physically built yet

Mark
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Old 01-30-19, 11:41 AM
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I've seen some spectacularly lit bicycles on the bike paths during local events, but usually not more than a couple of spoke lights out on the road, but I have to assume those bikes with 100 lights do venture out on the road sometime.
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Old 01-30-19, 11:45 AM
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Red and Blue Emulating police cruisers , by flashing alternating, , would probably get you in trouble..
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Old 01-31-19, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
And yet no photo of said bike or lighting arrangement was seen that day.

In any event, the purpose of the law is to avoid any possibility that your bike could be mistaken for an emergency vehicle. I'm pretty sure that what you describe would not fall under that category.

As for what you're wearing, there's no law that limits the garishness of your clothing. One more thing, when you're on the road your bike is considered a vehicle with all the rights and responsibilities therein.
​​​​​​#fakenews

In Washington state (you're in the regional PNW forum), it is perfectly legal to be intoxicated while you ride a bicycle. If the police notice, they're allowed to offer to drive you home, but that's all that can do. This is the result of a state supreme court decision ~20? years ago, which the legislature has never seen fit to change. The court held that in terms of this statue, bicycles are clearly not vehicles. Of course, it's illegal to drive a car when you're drunk, they'll haul you off to jail for that.

The OP is writing from Bellingham, which is one of the larger cities in Washington.
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Old 01-31-19, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by maallyn View Post
So, what gives? Is it really illegal for me on my bicycle? Has anyone ever got ticketed?
If it's on the books, it's the law. But getting to your question, I've never personally seen a cyclist ticketed for anything on a bike. I've seen plenty of them run red lights directly in front of police cruisers.

I agree with @KraneXL that the purpose and intent of the law is to clearly and unmistakably identify police vehicles. As a cyclist with a rainbow tail, you won't be mistaken for the police. It would have to be an officer having a bad day who had a grudge against you, for this to be an issue at all.

By the way, I asked a state patrol officer what would happen if he pulled somebody over for speeding and it was a test ride. He said he'd give you a ticket if you didn't see what the car was capable of. The reason I bring this up, is to say there's a lot of discretion and leniency in the way laws are enforced.
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Old 02-01-19, 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
​​​​​​#fakenews

In Washington state (you're in the regional PNW forum), it is perfectly legal to be intoxicated while you ride a bicycle. If the police notice, they're allowed to offer to drive you home, but that's all that can do. This is the result of a state supreme court decision ~20? years ago, which the legislature has never seen fit to change. The court held that in terms of this statue, bicycles are clearly not vehicles. Of course, it's illegal to drive a car when you're drunk, they'll haul you off to jail for that.

The OP is writing from Bellingham, which is one of the larger cities in Washington.
Tell it to the judge. When you're riding on the road, a bike is a vehicle. That true in every state, including Washington. As for specific laws under intoxication (I haven't investigated them), even if what you say is true, you'd still be legally responsible to follow all the traffic laws, and liable should you cause any damage to property or persons.
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Old 02-01-19, 04:47 AM
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There are a few bicycle taillights that use lasers to project a red line on either side of the back of the bike. Like lane stripes for the bike would appear. After riding behind a bike that has used a few different kinds of light that do that, I can say that they are washed out with car headlights. Hard to see even with my bright bike headlight. in the dark. They are worthless IMO.
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Old 02-01-19, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Tell it to the judge. When you're riding on the road, a bike is a vehicle. That true in every state, including Washington. As for specific laws under intoxication (I haven't investigated them), even if what you say is true, you'd still be legally responsible to follow all the traffic laws, and liable should you cause any damage to property or persons.
I don't think you understand, I'm letting you know what the supreme court had to say on the matter. If you don't agree with them, you can find their address online.
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Old 02-01-19, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
Tell it to the judge. When you're riding on the road, a bike is a vehicle. That true in every state, including Washington.
No so. It's not true in Michigan. A bicycle is not considered a vehicle, and as such, you cannot be charged with a DUI when cycling.
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Old 02-01-19, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I don't think you understand, I'm letting you know what the supreme court had to say on the matter. If you don't agree with them, you can find their address online.
The colloquialism was included to indicate that anything can be argued in court.
Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
No so. It's not true in Michigan. A bicycle is not considered a vehicle, and as such, you cannot be charged with a DUI when cycling.
You can in California. But that wasn't my argument.
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Old 02-02-19, 01:13 AM
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Folks: Thank you. I do know that as it's written in the books here in Washington that I theoretically cannot have any blue lights; although it's unlikely that I would get stopped. What I am curious is that although I see it written ( https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default....ite=204-21-230 ) I am having trouble finding what penalty (if any) applies to this? It's one thing to risk a traffic citation; it's another to risk a Class A Felony. To WAC's have penalties or is that only for RCW's?
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Old 02-02-19, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
The colloquialism was included to indicate that anything can be argued in court.

You can in California. But that wasn't my argument.
Then don't use globally inaccurate statements to bolster your argument.
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Old 02-02-19, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
Then don't use globally inaccurate statements to bolster your argument.
I'm going to assume English is not your first language. Either that, or you've been on the sauce as you typed this?
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Old 02-03-19, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
I'm going to assume English is not your first language. Either that, or you've been on the sauce as you typed this?
False assumption again, but arguing the point with you would prove fruitless.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by maallyn View Post
Folks: Thank you. I do know that as it's written in the books here in Washington that I theoretically cannot have any blue lights; although it's unlikely that I would get stopped. What I am curious is that although I see it written ( https://apps.leg.wa.gov/wac/default....ite=204-21-230 ) I am having trouble finding what penalty (if any) applies to this? It's one thing to risk a traffic citation; it's another to risk a Class A Felony. To WAC's have penalties or is that only for RCW's?
There are some armchair lawyers in the Advocacy and Safety subforum here. I don't know whether I'd personally trust them on something like this. Maybe a legal forum? I don't have any info to share, byt I'd caution against accepting an answer from just anybody.
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Old 02-03-19, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
The colloquialism was included to indicate that anything can be argued in court.

You can in California. But that wasn't my argument.
Also, I can only speak about Washington where I live, but you're required to have liability insurance to drive a car here. There's a certain minimum coverage, I can't remember the number. You can put that amount in an escrow account instead of purchasing insurance, but you must have some way to meet basic liabilities covered as a responsibility to drive a car. Here in Washington we don't require liability coverage to ride a bicycle. That may be different in other states. But here, a bike is treated somewhat differently than a car under the law. You can't just assume that everything automatically applies to both.

In urban areas, including Bellingham, traffic laws of any kind are almost never enforced for cyclists. That's just the way it is.
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Old 02-03-19, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Also, I can only speak about Washington where I live, but you're required to have liability insurance to drive a car here. There's a certain minimum coverage, I can't remember the number. You can put that amount in an escrow account instead of purchasing insurance, but you must have some way to meet basic liabilities covered as a responsibility to drive a car. Here in Washington we don't require liability coverage to ride a bicycle. That may be different in other states. But here, a bike is treated somewhat differently than a car under the law. You can't just assume that everything automatically applies to both.
That wasn't my assumption, nor did I intend to give that impression. However, I did take for granted it was understood that I was referring to general traffic laws and regulations, not to insurance.

Listing every individual item that applies specifically to motor vehicles vs cyclist would take pages. And do I need to say that there are exceptions even between motor vehicles? (Motorcycles can ride between lanes for example.) Nevertheless, liability does still apply even if states don't mandate that cyclists carry insurance.
In urban areas, including Bellingham, traffic laws of any kind are almost never enforced for cyclists. That's just the way it is.
Neither is jaywalking for pedestrians in many states and municipalities. Even so, it typically is still on the list, and legally enforceable almost everywhere.
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Old 02-05-19, 09:25 PM
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@maallyn

There have been some blue bike lights spotted in this thread.
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Old 04-23-19, 01:40 PM
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The likelihood of you actually being stopped and fined is pretty low, but having blue lights on a vehicle is technically illegal. Honestly, I'd make it and just take the chance.
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Old 04-25-19, 10:24 PM
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I don't ride much in WA, but here in OR the reaction of law enforcement seems to depend on who they are reacting to. While riding down the coast, I often sport a blue light or two. I've chatted with a handful of cops about it and they all gave me some variation of the same thing: it's technically illegal, but they understand that I'm doing it to cause otherwise aggressive motorists to hold their fire, so they are fine with it.

That said, my neighbor likes to roll around on his recumbent trike that looks like a commercial light show. He got a citation at the University of Oregon for a couple of tiny (less than 0.1% of his total lighting) blue lights. Of course that is the police department that got into a bit of rough water over making a list of people they dislike (obscene suggestions for all) and included people on bikes on said list.
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Old 04-29-19, 06:24 PM
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Blue lights on the street are illegal period. Riding a bike on the street while intoxicated can and will get you a DUI and your driver's license taken away if it didn't already happen. Even if you are in a wheelchair, wheels touch the street, violation in the state of Washington. And yes, there are A-Hole cops on the lookout for it. You might be lucky to run into a nice one, but remember, they became a cop for one reason or another......
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Old 04-29-19, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by FORB View Post
Blue lights on the street are illegal period. Riding a bike on the street while intoxicated can and will get you a DUI and your driver's license taken away if it didn't already happen. Even if you are in a wheelchair, wheels touch the street, violation in the state of Washington. And yes, there are A-Hole cops on the lookout for it. You might be lucky to run into a nice one, but remember, they became a cop for one reason or another......
One of those weird crossover punishments that doen't make a lot of sense. I mean I'm not against the ticket -- which you deserve -- but a DUI and DL suspension (assuming you have one)? That's just wrong.
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Old 04-29-19, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by FORB View Post
Blue lights on the street are illegal period. Riding a bike on the street while intoxicated can and will get you a DUI and your driver's license taken away if it didn't already happen. Even if you are in a wheelchair, wheels touch the street, violation in the state of Washington. And yes, there are A-Hole cops on the lookout for it. You might be lucky to run into a nice one, but remember, they became a cop for one reason or another......
Please don't spread misinformation.
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