When to remove the lights

Bokeh-vehicle lights (duration-43 seconds)

It’s lighter in the mornings and getting lighter in the evenings. In a few weeks time the clocks will be changing so it’s light during commuting hours for 9 to 5ers.

I already hear chatter in the changing room at work from other cyclists about them looking forward to removing the lights off their bicycles and feeling that little bit lighter.

When should we remove the lights from our bicycles?

I will be keeping the lights on my bicycle for a few more weeks and potentially never remove them off my commuting bicycle. It’s important to stand out and as motorcyclistsrun their lights during the day to make them selves more visible, why shouldn’t cyclists?

At this time of year, with a clear morning, many drivers will be affected by the low sun, and if you are unfortunate enough to cycle to work with the sun behind you, then this will affect the visibility of drivers coming towards you. It is very wise in this situation to use a powerful light to maximise your visibility to them. But note that when there is a low sun, you should take extra caution of motorists who might not be able to see, they can pull very stupid manoeuvres with next to no sight and could cause you harm.

Something to think about for the future is the European legislation which will mean that all future cars will need to have and run special lights for the daytime. What this effectively means is that drivers will be looking out for vehicles with lights and if they don’t see any lights, then the coast is clear. So in a few years time, commuter cyclists will have to start using their lights all year round just to be safe from the motorists that won’t bother to look properly!

We already have issues with SMIDSY in the city’s and if we choose not to use lights it may only get worse.

2 thoughts on “When to remove the lights

  1. With regards to the DRL comment you make that was my exact thoughts – if more drivers use lights during the day then other drivers are just going to look for lights!

    Mind you I still see plenty of cars driving around during clear days with fog lights on or at night with sidelights + fogs. Both of which are illegal but then why would we expect the police to bother pulling people up on that?

  2. I always have lights fitted. I have hub dynamos with automatic lights on my regular use bikes. I also use multiple additional road-legal lights (mostly BS / StVZO approved), particularly at the rear.
    I often use DRL, especially on dull days or faster roads, but I mostly avoid roads with speed limits over 40 mph.
    I always use my lights when:
    a) The light starts to fail.
    b) The sun is low, especially in Winter.
    c) Towing a trailer, because I’m slower and wider than usual. BTW – When I last looked, no bicycle trailer came fitted as standard with the mandatory triangular reflectors.
    d) There are conditions of poor visibility – mist or fog, rain or snow.

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