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An illuminating issue for all Cyclists to consider

Published on 16 October 2020 | Modified on 16 October 2020

Written by Stacey Bennett

Now we are well into autumn with less hours of daylight it is worth reviewing what the requirements are for lights on cycles.

If you are injured in an accident and do not have the correct lights in place you could find that your claim is unsuccessful or that the value of the compensation you receive is significantly reduced if your failure to correctly light your cycle is deemed to have caused or contributed to the accident.

The requirements are set out in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 which were most recently amended in 2005 to permit flashing lights

It is mandatory that any cycle manufactured after 1989 and being used between sunset (when the sun dips behind the horizon, even if is still light) and sunrise must be fitted with;

  • White front light
  • Red rear light
  • Red rear reflector
  • Amber/yellow pedal reflectors to the front and rear of each pedal

The reflectors must confirm to BS 61022.

The lights can be steady or flashing or a mixture of both although if there is not good street lighting it is recommended that a steady light is used at the front.

If the light is capable of emitting a steady light (even if only used flashing) it must be marked as and conform to BS 61023.

Purely flashing lights are not required to confirm to BS61023 but must have a flash rate between 60 and 240 equal flashes per minute or 1-4 per second with a luminous intensity of at least 4 candela

Lights and reflectors not conforming to the BS, but conforming to a corresponding standard of another EC country and marked as such will also comply as long as that standard provides an equivalent level of safety.

There is no requirement for lights to be fitted at point of sale and any bike being sold with them should be checked to make sure they meet the requirements.

Cyclists can also choose to fit additional lamps and reflectors as long as;

  • They do not dazzle other road users
  • It must be white to the front and red to the rear
  • If it flashes it must be at 1-4 equal flashes per second

Optional lights are not required to conform to BS 61023 and there is no minimum level of luminous intensity.

If you are involved in an accident whilst cycling please get in touch with our friendly, experienced  team who will be happy to discuss your options with you.

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