Lights - Mitchell Humphreys
I think that one of the more dangerous aspects of driving today is the poor maintenance or misuse of lights by road users.

I always thought that the rule was "if it's dark enough for any lights, it's dark enough for dipped headlights". however, I was gobsmacked to read in the Highway Code that side-lights are permissible at dawn and dusk and when street lights are close together (i.e., for a London dweller, everywhere!).

I think that this is mad for a number of reasons.
1, there are fine lines between dawn, day, dusk & night;
2, despite the fact that all motorists should check their lights, most don't and, because the beam from a side light is weak, most don't notice when a bulb blows;
3, while some side lights are bright, others are very weak and next to useless;
4, in a row of oncoming traffic, if the majority of cars are using dipped headlights, those with only side lights tend to disappear.

However, I'm not an advocate of all-day headlights, although I understand that the government are considering legislation to get manufacturers to "hard wire" lights on at all times. I think that this can be distracting during the day, and can also diminish one's ability to judge distances.

What would be more sensible would be automation of lights. I hired a car in America that would turn its own lights on if it thought it too dark, and that included dreary conditions in the wet.

I will leave the vexed question why some people insist on a combination of side lights and fog lights for another time

Or am I wrong?
Re: Lights - Dave
Mitchell Humphreys wrote:
>
> However, I'm not an advocate of all-day headlights


On a bike it's essential. If I ride my bike with lights off I might as well not be there. If I ride on dip I still get myopic mildred pulling out on me.

Full beam in all daylight hours is essential.

Dunno about cars. I leave my lights on dip 24/7 in the car. Don't think it makes a lot of odds.
Re: Lights - David W
How was the birthday Dave?

Just a bit worried about the full beam thing. You see your headlamp is at my head height and if I'm dazzled by your beam as the bike lifts under power I might just miss someone passing you.

David
Re: Lights - Dave
David W wrote:
>
> How was the birthday Dave?

One of the best. Good food, good company. Very slight headache is proving difficult to shake off. ;-) Came in this morning to a very welcome pay rise. (I may be able to revarnish Tiny Tim's crutches now...)

> > Just a bit worried about the full beam thing. You see your
> headlamp is at my head height and if I'm dazzled by your beam
> as the bike lifts under power I might just miss someone
> passing you.

True, I do dazzle some drivers even in broad daylight - I know 'cos they flash me. I think older drivers are more sensative too it. (Or more prone to flashing)

But IIRC 75 per cent of biker deaths are caused by someone pulling out of a junction into the path of the rider and in the real world *all* of the near misses I've ever had are cars pulling out into my path. (I'm not totally blameing the other drivers - if I'm honest sometimes I will arrive a bit quicker than they might expect...)

I'm convinced full beam is the lesser of two evils. Now you've brought that point I will use dip beam on dull days... (Rarely out on Dull days though)
Re: Lights - Alwyn
I have mentioned before that a good friend was killed riding his motorbike when an unlicenced female drove out of a side road into his path.

He had his headlights on and was wearing a set of day-glo yellows. She said she thought he was further away and, when she realised how close he was, she stopped right in his path. ( Fined £125 for driving without due care and another £125 for driving on a provisonal licence unaccompanied)

However, I do think that bikers riding on full beam are dangerous. Our eyes seem to be drawn to the beams and we say "That b..... is dazzling me"

My cousin is a biker and he would agree with you that drivers often don't see bikes as they can be lost in the background of street furniture.

Perhaps fewer signs would be safer!

Take care
Re: Lights - Darcy Kitchin
I agree with David W. Spectacle wearers are more prone to dazzling by the inapprpriate use of main beam, leading to misjudgement of distance and not beaing able to see vehicles near to the light source.

Also it's completely contrary to advice about headlights in the highway code, but maybe that doesn't bother you.
Re: Lights - Dave
Darcy Kitchin wrote:
>
> I agree with David W. Spectacle wearers are more prone to
> dazzling by the inapprpriate use of main beam, leading to
> misjudgement of distance and not beaing able to see vehicles
> near to the light source.

I can't deny it. But if I did obscure another vehicle the vehicle that was hidden would almost certainly be less vulnerable than me. But I do take your point. (Let's not start on the issue of whether people with specs should be allowed on the road...[1] )

> Also it's completely contrary to advice about headlights in
> the highway code, but maybe that doesn't bother you.

The highway code says to wear a flourescent jacket walking on the pavement at night. I've never seen *anyone* do that. (Do you D'arcy?) So I'd say conforming to the highway code is a low priority for most people and I suspect few know it as well as I do. (It's sits on the shelf in my Lav.)

The highway code says wear a white helmet [2], flourcent jacket/sam browne, and dip beam. I do the first two but dipped beam simply isn't visible enough. It's only my own personal observation but full beam is *much* easier for others to see and I see the effects. People still pull out on me but not very frequently. When I used to ride on dip beam it would happen a lot. - And there's no chilling fear like it!

So yeah, I take your point 100 per cent. But I'm alive and nobody's yet crashed 'cos of my full beam.

[1] Joke.
[2] But cars don't have to be white...
Re: Lights - Derek
Sorry, Dave, but I tend to agree with the others. I'm a biker (with glasses!) and I used dipped beam at all times in daylight. I think that permanenet daytime full beam, whilst certainly making you visible, is also a distraction to other drivers and riders. When I'm riding, being followed by a guy on full beam, it destroys the rest of my mirror vision, so I pull over to let him/her pass. Does that count as 'get out of my way' intimidation?

Faced by oncoming full beam, whether I'm on the bike or in the car, is potentially dangerous. It affects judgement of distance AND takes your eyes off other road users.

As you say, the Highway Code can be OTT in some areas, but I don't think that gives us carte blanche to override the rest of it.

Perhaps you've just been unlucky with drivers 'pulling out', but I think that's all to do with THEIR training, rather than your lighting. Some of my friends have had similar experiences, but thank God I haven't.
Re: Lights - Dave
Derek wrote:
>
> Sorry, Dave, but I tend to agree with the others.

Hey I don't disagree with the others. I just choose to lessen one major risk to myself at the expense of increasing a minor risk for others. Although this sounds selfish I am a *lot* more vulnerable than most other road users.

> I'm a
> biker (with glasses!) and I used dipped beam at all times in
> daylight.
> I think that permanenet daytime full beam, whilst
> certainly making you visible, is also a distraction to other
> drivers and riders. When I'm riding, being followed by a guy
> on full beam, it destroys the rest of my mirror vision, so I
> pull over to let him/her pass. Does that count as 'get out
> of my way' intimidation?

Dunno. I find it hard to intimidate on my Divvy 600! ;-)

> Faced by oncoming full beam, whether I'm on the bike or in
> the car, is potentially dangerous. It affects judgement of
> distance AND takes your eyes off other road users.

True, but let's get it into perspective. Driving west into a sunset for 2 hours can leave your retinna begging for mercy. One bike beam for 10 seconds on bright day doesn't make a massive differece.

> As you say, the Highway Code can be OTT in some areas, but I
> don't think that gives us carte blanche to override the rest
> of it.

I wasn't. I read the highway code regularly. But if someone accuses me of ignoring or having no respect for it I think my best defence is to point out that it contains rules that everyone ignores. But no, I think a copy and roadcraft and the HWC should come free with your driving license.

> Perhaps you've just been unlucky with drivers 'pulling out',

I can honstly say it happes frequently on dip and rarely on full. That's how marked the difference is.

> but I think that's all to do with THEIR training, rather than
> your lighting.

That would be of *great* comfort to my greiving parents. ;-)

> Some of my friends have had similar
> experiences, but thank God I haven't.

I've never had *real* near miss. But even having to dab the brakes give me heart failure.
Re: Lights - Mitchell Humphreys
As a biker too, I can't agree with full beam at all times.

Just think about a bike on full beam coming towards you, but in between that and you is a dark coloured car on side lights. The car simply disappears! (even worse if it's coming up behind you, actually).

Personally, I use dipped beam on the bike at all times, though I know there are some prominent bikers who don't advocate all day use.

But , to get back on topic, what about bikes that scoot around at night with just a "side" light on? Why do manufacturers put side lights on any vehicle at all? Why are they recommended in the highway code?

I dunno.
Re: Lights - Dave
Mitchell Humphreys wrote:
>
> As a biker too, I can't agree with full beam at all times.
>
> Just think about a bike on full beam coming towards you, but
> in between that and you is a dark coloured car on side
> lights. The car simply disappears! (even worse if it's coming
> up behind you, actually).

True. As I say though 75 per cent of bikers deaths aren't caused by that. They're cause by someone not seeing you!

> Personally, I use dipped beam on the bike at all times,
> though I know there are some prominent bikers who don't
> advocate all day use.

They must like adrenalin. You're invisible on a bike to anyone over 50. ;-)
Re: Lights - Derek
Dave - please don't! I'm 55! And your Divvy isn't that much different from my CBR (that's the 600, my missus won't let me have a 'Blade).

I think we agree to disagree on this one. Stay safe.
Re: Lights - Dave
Derek wrote:
>
> Dave - please don't! I'm 55! And your Divvy isn't that much
> different from my CBR (that's the 600, my missus won't let me
> have a 'Blade).

That was a joke. My dad's in his late 50's. He's got eyes like a hawk. He's quicker *and* safer than me on a bike or a car.

> I think we agree to disagree on this one. Stay safe.

We're not a million miles apart anyway! - You too!
Re: Lights - Andrew Tarr
Most of the opinions about full-beam seem to stress the advantages to their owner, with little consideration of disadvantages to others. For the owner it means (1) I can see better; (2) others must be able to see me better(?). The unfortunates at whom the beams are aimed are probably able to see less, especially older people at night, whose corneas may be showing the first signs of cataract - i.e. milkiness. They may be able to see very little EXCEPT the oncoming beam - it may be hard to see the nearside kerb, unless they retaliate with their own full beam. As with many other things, use full beam in moderation.
Re: Lights - Stuart B
And if the other person retaliates with full beam that means both of you cant see.

I've said this before, it was a recognised technique in WWII for the RAF to use landing lights to dazzle enemy gunners to destroy their perception of speed and distance.
Re: Lights - Dave
Andrew Tarr wrote:
>
> Most of the opinions about full-beam seem to stress the
> advantages to their owner, with little consideration of
> disadvantages to others.

Listen, if I'm not seen I could very likely be killed. If an oncoming guy gets dazzled (and in broad daylight a full beam aint that bright!) he has to ease off for 5 seconds while I pass...

Incidently in 10 years of driving I've never been dazzled in daylight.

Does everyone realize I'm talking about full beam in *daylight*? Not at night which would obviously stupid.
In daylight of course. - Dave
I hope everyone realizes I'm talking full beam in daylight hours.
Re: Lights - Tomo
Personally, what with people in cars with one working headlight (when they do not even need them) and all these Swedish cars, I welcome a biker using full beam in daylight; it lets me know that he is there, as perhaps I may not have observed as I should. But probably I am odd - I pull over if I can to let bikes get on even if I can't!
Re: Lights - Dave
Tomo wrote:
>
> I pull over if
> I can to let bikes get on even if I can't!

Me too! Funny how many people hate letting a bike filter past...

Would they rather bikers were in cars clogging up the roads even more?
Re: Lights - Derek
Again, I doubt it's that simple, although there's bound to be an envious element, I suppose. No, it's just down to drivers not being aware. My homeward journey involves the J9 to J7 bit of the M25, which clogs often enough to be irritating. I always trickle between the 3rd and outside lanes.

The lack of attention can be gauged by the number of cars which suddenly swerve over to the right. I doubt that they are genuinely concerned about the biker's progress, just worried about getting their paint scratched. You find most of them are too busy chatting to passengers, using mobiles, reading maps or even newspapers (!) to look at their nearside door mirrors occasionally. "Think bike" indeed!
Re: Lights - David W
Dave,

Sorry to expose you to possible aggro from my comment.

In saying.......and if I'm dazzled by your beam as the bike lifts under power I might just miss someone passing you.....I was playing with the ironic.

As in.....if you were lifting the headlamp under power just what might be passing you?

Oh well everyone was quite matey so no harm done.

David
Re: Lights - Dave
David W wrote:

> In saying.......and if I'm dazzled by your beam as the bike
> lifts under power I might just miss someone passing you.....I
> was playing with the ironic.

I did spot that, but not the irony!!! V. interesting debate though!

> As in.....if you were lifting the headlamp under power just
> what might be passing you?

Well, in the case of the Divvy, Milk floats, Land Rovers, Small children on push bikes, spinsters cycling to Church!
Motorbikes - let them know ... - ian (cape town)
What's the best way to show a biker "Yes, I have seen you, I know you are there, and so you can expect me not to do anything stupid"?
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - Dave
Blatently stare right into his eyes/visor.

I always look into the car and love it when someone waiting in a junction makes 'eye contact'.

If I'm not sure I slow right down.
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - ian (cape town)
...and if he's behind me, approaching?
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - Dave
ian (cape town) wrote:
>
> ...and if he's behind me, approaching?

Move in to the left a bit? He'll get the message and drift past on his merry way.

Probably giving you a cheery wave/thumbs up.

The crucial thing is not to do anything unpredictable...

..unless it's really cool... ;-)
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - ian (cape town)
Thanks Dave.
BTW, I saw a helmet sticker the other day: "VOLVO-AWARE RIDER"
Maybe we should start manufacturing "Biker friendly driver" stickers?
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - Lee H
My sister has MCN (Motorcycle news) stickers on her car, I think they're very similar to what you suggest!

Lee.
Re: Motorbikes - let them know ... - ROBIN
The headlights on motorcycles are incredibly distracting during the day,not to mention irritating.There are also much better visibility aids possible.
At night there appears to be a kind of motorcycle whose headlights move up and down by what appears to be about a foot,on others it doesnt move at all,so this cannot be necessary.It is incredibly annoying and,in rain,dazzling and thus dangerous.
I say again,the roads are not playgrounds,if vehicles designed for off-road use really MUST use the roads then they must be modified correctly to suit their new role.
 

Value my car