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to think there should be some sort of standard for cycle lights if there isn't already?

(15 Posts)
Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 09:14:14

I've had two incidents this week which have got me thinking about this.

Incident one
Driving up a country lane in the dark, very few other vehicles around. A cyclist comes the other way with a very bright flashing light. It's so bright and disorientating that I can't see the road in front of me at all (or anything else in fact) and have to stop the car until the cyclist has passed me and I can see where I'm going again. It took a good couple of minutes for my eyes to recover. The light level was unbelievable!

Incident two
Driving past traffic queuing in the opposite direction last night just as it was getting dark. I suddenly realised that there was a cyclist overtaking the queue, so coming across the centre line a little, but I hadn't seen him because his light was so dim it was lost in the dipped headlights on the cars in the queue behind him. I didn't come close to hitting him but it was a shock to suddenly realise he was there and a wider vehicle may have struggled to miss him.

Is there a standard for cycle lights? I assume there is for car headlights.

Should they be adjustable? A middle ground of some sort would surely have been safer for both of them.

Apart from standing in the dark, watching and making a best guess, is there a good way to know if my DDs' cycle lights are at a safe level? I want them to be seen clearly but I certainly don't want drivers coming towards them to be disorientated.

fl0b0t Wed 19-Mar-14 10:00:03

Agreed about some kind of standard (as a cyclist saying this) but brighter=better. The standard for hitting a cyclist is "sorry I didn't see you"(even in broad daylight) so the less excuses for dangerous drivers the better. The same goes both ways- I can't count the number of times when cycling (with good lights) I've been totally road blinded by either standard headlights or someone driving with full beams on. Esp on potholedroads when you need to be able to see, it's quite scary.

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 10:08:16


It can't possibly be better when is disorientates other road users. That's dangerous for the cyclist too.

Agreed that full beams aren't appropriate when driving towards other road users, of course, but that is because they dazzle people. You surely wouldn't knowingly dazzle and disorientate people to that extent? What if there's another cyclist behind you and they don't see them because you've effectively blinded them?

TravelinColour Wed 19-Mar-14 10:09:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GrendelsMum Wed 19-Mar-14 10:12:28

As a cyclist, I think it's potentially a great idea. I suspect a lot of the issue is about angling the lights, though, isn't it?

That's my problem with modern car headlights - I'm quite short, and just like you describe, they can be so bright and right in my eyes that I'm dazzled, even though presumably they've passed an MOT and have been deemed as appropriate.

On the other hand, if you're cycling in dark lanes, you do need to have lights that are as bright as a car headlight, or oncoming cars don't see you.

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 10:12:37

Was it really brighter than a car headlight?

Yes...and some!

I've never had to stop dead when someone's forgotten to dip their headlights. I had no choice with this light. I literally couldn't see anything. It was beyond ridiculous and dangerous.

GrendelsMum Wed 19-Mar-14 10:13:23

p.s. what I do is to manually tip my bike headlight up if I think a driver hasn't seen me, and tip it down when they've seen me - the manual equivalent of full beam v. lowered beam

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 10:15:20

you do need to have lights that are as bright as a car headlight, or oncoming cars don't see you.

Yes, absolutely. Something along the lines of car headlights would have been much more appropriate.

GrendelsMum Wed 19-Mar-14 10:29:48

Old news story, but quite interesting in the context:

(I was googling to see what the law on headlight strength is)

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 10:54:10

Perhaps we don't want anything along the lines of those car headlights then, Grendel.

Maybe there needs to be some sort of review on the power of all lights used on the roads. I was following a police car on blue lights down a dual carriageway recently and found that, even at quite a distance, their brightness made it quite hard to see clearly too, although nowhere near the level of difficulty the cycle lights in my OP caused.

I guess that as technology advances everyone is likely to try to be the brightest, most clearly seen vehicle on the roads until it gets to the point that nobody can drive safely at night and then something will be done.

Still don't know how to choose appropriate lights for my DDs' cycles though.

GrendelsMum Wed 19-Mar-14 11:13:06

I agree. I do think there needs to be a proper review of lights and that it should be incorporated into the MOT. I also think there's a bit of a macho trend to get as bright lights as poss.

In terms of appropriate lights for your daughters, it depends on where they'll be cycling. I'd recommend the CatEye lights, but fix them very slightly tipped down so that the light goes onto the road in front of them, not into oncoming people's eyes. This is probably a good compromise:

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 11:16:05

Thanks Grendel.

They'll be cycling mostly on country lanes if that makes a difference and sometimes it is around and after dusk. I'm not happy with the ones they are currently using and the cyclist appearing out of that queue of traffic has given me the nudge I needed to get them sorted.

GrendelsMum Wed 19-Mar-14 11:47:09

Oh, if it is country lanes after dusk, I think you might want to up it a notch from the first one I picked. The one I have isn't on sale any more, but it's designed to light up an unlit country lane rather than for cycling in well-lit areas, and no doubt there's a new equivalent that a bike shop can recommend.

Serfas lights are very bright and great for country commuters, but I think possibly not so practical for kids for various reasons.

Reflective / flourescent clothing also helps massively - especially if you can remind them to wear it at night when walking in unlit areas too. I'm permanently aghast at the teenagers who walk around in unlit lanes with no torches and in black coats.

Meerkatwhiskers Wed 19-Mar-14 12:09:30

There are.


And here

Goldmandra Wed 19-Mar-14 18:34:48

Thank Grendel.

They do use reflective clothing, strips, etc and yes we have similar ghostly figures wandering our lanes in the evenings too. It's the adults walking dogs that surprise me most. Even our dogs have reflective jackets. It's not difficult.

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