Daytime Riding Lights for Cyclists | Steve Tilford

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

The first time I saw anyone ride with lights on during the day was when I flew out to California to ride the Donut Ride with Seth Davidson. He was using them on his bike. Then I started noticing lots of SoCal guys using them. . . .

It is amazing how bright the daytime lights can be. Even the small ones are incredibly bright. At dusk them seem almost too bright. But I guess they need to be too bright at night to be seen at all during the day.

I saw the results from a couple different studies that show that the lights reduce chances of collisions with cars somewhere between 19-35%. That seems pretty significant, but you have to realize the odds of getting hit by a car is super low, so you’re just reducing a super low chance that much more.

Lots of guys out here are using them. I did a ride on Saturday and 2 out of 5 guys had them on.

MoBikeFed comment: In our recent meeting with Rep. Jay Houghton, who proposed the 15-foot bicycle flag law, he said his main concern is the safety and visibility of cyclists.

We suggested that encouraging (but not requiring) the use of lights would improve visibility of cyclists a lot more than a flag would. He was not very interested in a solution like this that would encourage better visibility, though. He wants something stronger.

Regardless, using lights in daytime is something worth considering for cyclists who are concerned about their visibility. Modern lights are bright enough to be useful in broad daylight and the batteries will last several hours one a single charge.

Important note: Daytime running lights are, of course, not **required** by law in Missouri or any Missouri city that we know of. A legal requirement for such lights is a very bad idea. Even inexpensive daytime running lights are, unfortunately, out of the price range of many cyclists, are not easily available to everyone, and would lead to an enforcement nightmare for both police and bicyclists.

For anyone who is concerned with safety and visibility while cycling, daytime running lights, high-vis clothing, and even (in certain conditions) safety flags can be a good idea. Requiring these helpful safety items by law is, however, a very BAD idea, for the reasons outlined above.

The proposal we made to Rep. Houghton was to put a small amount of funding into a safety outreach campaign to bicyclists to encourage them to adopt visibility measures like these, that we know improve visibility and reduce injuries. We know that educational campaigns like these work and are very effective, whereas simply enacted a new law requiring such items is extremely controversial and also not effective in changing behavior.

However, the proposal for an effective educational campaign went nowhere.

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