It's the law to use lights, so why not?
Its certainly a 'rule'
At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.
Law RVLR regs 13, 18 & 24
But since the rule before is:
Clothing. You should wear
a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights
light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light
reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.
Not sure what the 'law' is, but CTC refer to this:
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Cycle lighting has been a complicated issue for a long time. Below you will find an article by Richard Harrison published in December 2003. Some technical aspects of this article were superseded by revision of the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations in 2005, so this article should be read in conjunction with the following information:
•It is now legal to have a flashing light on a bike, provided it is an appropriate colour and flashes between 60 and 240 times per minute.
•It is even possible for a flashing light to be the “approved” front or rear light, rather than just an additional light.
•Any kind of light source can be used in a lamp, including LEDs of course.
•Lights are now permitted to move, if attached to wheels or pedals.
These changes should make it much easier for a cyclist to equip him- or herself with lights that are both functional and legal. Very few lamp manufacturers however, have availed themselves of the opportunities provided in 2005, to obtain British approval for LED and flashing lamps.
Without approval, a lamp is useful merely as an optional lamp – in addition to the cyclist’s approved front or rear lamp. Unfortunately there are now very few British approved lamps on the market. It can be hard to find even one in a shop, so the majority of cyclists (probably including cycling lawyers) continue to ride illegally after dark.
For more information on the technical details of cycle lighting regulations, including the provision for equivalent British approval of lamps approved by other EC countries – and its limitations – see this CTC website page. Cycle lighting has been a complicated issue for a long time. Below you will find an article by Richard Harrison published in December 2003. The law mentioned in this article may be superceded by new regulations. as the following report from the CTC indicates.
The law of bicycle lighting
Richard Harrison addresses matters of concern to the urban cyclist in winter.
A similar paper to this appeared in New Law Journal dated 19 December 2003.
•why many lawyers may be breaking the law
•how the law fails to keep up with technological advances
•proposals for reform
Many lawyers, certainly in central London, cycle to their offices, chambers and courtrooms. These include eminent members of the senior judiciary, at least one of whom has been witnessed shooting a red traffic light.
But none of us can cast the first stone. In these dark winter mornings and nights, many of us are breaking the law. If our lights are the modern, flashing variety and we select their flashing mode, we are infringing the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 (S.I. 1989 No 1796) (“the Regulations”).
Under the heading “Lamps to show a steady light”, the Regulations state that: “…no vehicle shall be fitted with a lamp which automatically emits a flashing light”. The vast majority of experienced cyclists will tell you that being seen at night by other road users is something of a priority. You do not want a vehicle to ram you from behind and you do not want anyone moving out in front of you if you can possibly avoid it. In the city, bicycle lighting is not about seeing but about being seen. It is about conspicuity, not about illumination.
On one analysis, you can never have enough lighting. There are of course practical limits but most sensible cyclists buy the best they can afford and set up a system which suits them. The most effective lights are light emitting diodes (“LEDs”) and, in my experience both in a car and in the saddle, their most conspicuous manifestation is their flashing mode.
A sample system
I use two LED’s at the front: a cylindrical white flashing spotlight to my right and a flat yellow light to my left. At the rear, I use a broad red fixed light attached to the luggage rack and a flashing red LED. My mudguards have fluorescent plastic strips affixed to my mudguard and helmet. There are amber reflectors on my pedals, white ones on my front wheels, a red reflector on the seat post and a white reflector on the handle bar. My side panniers have fluorescent strips and I also tend to wear a yellow and silver Sam Browne belt. But what makes me feel most safe and secure are my flashing LEDs. Observation suggests that many other cyclists also gain comfort from flashing.
What are the legal requirements?
According to the Regulations:
You need a front lamp. It should be on the centre-line or off side of the vehicle and aligned to and visible from the front. It should be not more than 1500 mm above the ground. It should be white (or yellow if it is incorporated in a headlamp which is capable of emitting only a yellow light). It should be marked with a British Standard Mark namely BS 6102/3 (or its equivalent).
You need a rear lamp which should also be on the centre-line or off side of the vehicle aligned to and visible from the rear. It should also be not more than 1500 mm and not less than 350mm above the ground. It should have an angle of visibility 80O to the left and to the right and it should be red. It should be marked either with the British Standards Institution 3648:1963 or “BS 6102/3”.
You also need a rear reflector complying with the appropriate British Standard Mark between 350mm and 900 mm from the ground. New bikes will invariably be fitted with one: you wouldn’t take it off but it is unlikely to be your main line of defence.
Finally, you need two amber reflectors on each pedal complying with BS6102/2. Once again, you would not necessarily remove these from your pedal. They appear to be the least visible or useful of all lighting devices but if one breaks, as they invariably do, given their position, you should replace it in order to remain within the law.
In addition to the illegality of flashing lights, there are a number of other relevant restrictions:
There is a prohibition on lights which move. So you cannot attach a light (other than a reflector) to pedals or wheels.
No lamp should be used so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to any persons using the road. Views will of course differ but the attentions of an enthusiastic policeman may be avoided if the angle of an intense front light is dipped slightly.
The other surprising technicality is that modern LED lights arguably do not comply with the relevant British Standard. The standard has been amended to cover LED lights but because of the way the standard is referred to in the Regulations, they arguably remain illegal. To comply strictly with the law, you must use an old fashioned, less efficient filament bulb as your main light and the powerful, highly visible LED light as a somewhat artificial “back-up”.