Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
SilverBadge
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby SilverBadge » 28 Nov 2010, 8:21pm

thirdcrank wrote:Let's also remember that most of the maginificent improvement in bike lamps in the last 25 years has only come about because everybody has more or less ignored the BS twaddle.
I saw a film of John Woodurn's End to End record ride (1982?) - he did that on Wonderlights :shock: I still use a Wonderlight at the back with a higher wattage front bulb as the "legal" light and a rear (constant) LED as the visible light.

thirdcrank
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Nov 2010, 8:34pm

Of course, pre-1985 the only requirement for a front lamp was that it was visible from a reasonable distance, or words to that effect. There have been rear lamp standards for longer than that - IIRC, the BS which meant that rear lamps had to have two cells ie 3 volts came in in 1963.

I'm not against decent bike lamps, but every so often a politician launches an attack on red tape and bureacracy. Here's an example with brass knobs on.

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 28 Nov 2010, 8:43pm

@TC: I agree, of course. And I hate laws that I can't easily understand and can't readily comply with. Now we know (if we didn't already) that the authorities don't understand them either.

I haven't read the British Standards, and wonder how difficult they are to comply with. If they are very easy, why don't manufacturers generally bother to certify their lights?

Re 1990: Chris Juden's article (http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4071) gives "cycles manufactured before October 1990 can have any kind of white front lamp that is visible from a reasonable distance, and pre-October 1985 cycles don’t need pedal reflectors."

thirdcrank
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby thirdcrank » 28 Nov 2010, 9:05pm

snibgo, I'm sure you are right again. My night bike is intentionally a 1980 model so either way I'm in the clear - if anybody really cares.

As for the BS - checked recently and posted about this on another thread. It's not available on line so anybody who wants to read it has to borrow one or shell out a silly price for it. I say "it", there are two separate standards for lights and reflectors so I presume you have to shell out for two.

I fancy getting one scanned to post on here would be a hanging offence.

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 28 Nov 2010, 9:39pm

The BS used to be available for reading at a fairly local library. If they still are, I'll try to get the important details next time I'm there.

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 29 Nov 2010, 5:50pm

I should be able to read BS from the comfort of my own home, free, via the library service.

Currently it doesn't work, but the good folk at BS are trying to sort me out.

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 6 Dec 2010, 8:59pm

Thanks to BSOL (British Standards Online) and my library service, I have now read BS 6102-3:1986, "Cycle lights". The 12 pages can be purchased for the bargain price of £86.00, or read for free via a library. Some points of interest:

The minimum luminous intensities are defined at various angles from the horizontal and vertical.

For headlamps, the minimum luminous intensity in the centre at 3.5 degrees below the horizontal line (broadly, the "brightest bit") is 400 candelas. This can be in a very narrow beam.

For rear lamps, the minimum luminous intensity in the centre is 4 candelas. This can also be in a very narrow beam.

Headlamps have a maximum luminous intensity of 70 candelas above the horizontal plane. Rear lamps have no defined maximum luminous intensity.

The chromaticity limits are defined for white and red.

After 10 hours use (spread over 4 weeks) on one set of batteries, the lamps must show certain minumum intensities. Switches must be reliable for 5000 uses. Lamps must pass tests for vibration, heat (but not cold), rain, corrosion and fuel.

For generators, minimum and maximum proportional voltages are defined for certain road speeds.

I suspect that some lamps currently sold for bikes would fail this British Standard for being too bright above the horizontal line, and the batteries not lasting for 10 hours.

For comparison:

1. One candle emits a luminous intensity of about 1 candela.

2. A modern Philips mains-powered energy saver 14 Watt lamp is rated at 800 lumens. If the light was evenly distributed, this would be an intensity of 64 candelas.

3. A lamp emitting an intensity of 400 candelas in all directions would be 5027 lumens. Of course, it would dazzle anyone who looked at it, including the cyclist, and would fail this British Standard.

Disclaimer: I don't guarantee the accuracy of any of the above. If you need to read the actual standard, then read it.
Last edited by snibgo on 10 Dec 2010, 1:52am, edited 1 time in total.

thirdcrank
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby thirdcrank » 6 Dec 2010, 9:39pm

snibgo wrote:...Disclaimer: I don't guarantee the accuracy of any of the above. If you need to read the actual standard, then read it.


That's more than enough to illustrate my point which is that the the people in charge of all this are completely out of touch with reality. If there is a problem - and I know some people don't agree there is one - it's because some riders have decided to opt out altogether, not because anybody has illicit candelas. The manufacturers treat the BS with scorn. I've not replied to the email from the minsitry yet and this is just grist to the mill. :twisted: Thanks for going to the trouble to post in such detail.

recumbentpanda
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby recumbentpanda » 6 Dec 2010, 9:58pm

I think an important point is being made in this thread: Government-backed advice should be evidence-based, rather than the folktale and hearsay that seems to be behind some of it. Actually sounds like the sort of campaign point some civil-servants and even politicians might relish . . .

Another is that given we don't have a good evidence-base for a lot of things, lawmaking should be equally cautious.

However, setting aside whether its a good idea to have a law or not, and just considering the case for using 'day running lights' Volvo-style, I would agree that low sun conditions as well as fog are a good situation in which to use them. There is one other condition where I have noticed a benefit: mid-day summer sunshine! I took a ride with some friends on a day of hot, overhead sun, and being me, found myself back marker and struggling up a hill on a busy road to where my companions had stopped to rest under some trees. They had pulled onto the verge I later discovered, but on approach it was difficult to see where the verge was, and they were utterly invisible, because of the high contrast, and resulting almost totally black shadows under the trees. It alarmed me to realise the riders were absolutely invisible, not only to me, but to approaching motorists, none of whom was travelling much under sixty. --Except for the LED rear lights on one of the trikes, which punched through the dazzle and showed clearly. I turned my lights on as soon as I pulled in to join them!

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 10 Dec 2010, 2:04am

I mentioned above that some modern LED lights would fail BS compliance for being too bright above the horizontal.

To balance this, I've realised that some modern LED lights are, amazingly, not bright enough. For example: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14590

This lamp boasts 9 LED emitters, to give an amazing 10,000 to 12,000mcd. Sounds great, yes?

Until we realise that 1mcd is 1 millicandela, one thousandth of a candela. So the light is 10 to 12 candelas. The British Standard needs 400 candelas.

reohn2
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby reohn2 » 10 Dec 2010, 8:28am

snibgo wrote:I mentioned above that some modern LED lights would fail BS compliance for being too bright above the horizontal.

To balance this, I've realised that some modern LED lights are, amazingly, not bright enough. For example: http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14590

This lamp boasts 9 LED emitters, to give an amazing 10,000 to 12,000mcd. Sounds great, yes?

Until we realise that 1mcd is 1 millicandela, one thousandth of a candela. So the light is 10 to 12 candelas. The British Standard needs 400 candelas.


I have two of very similar lights to these,they are so bright you can't look directly at them when switched on,they also shed a blueish white pool of bright light in front when riding.All in all a very good light to see by and be seen by.
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I cycle therefore I am.

thirdcrank
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby thirdcrank » 29 Dec 2010, 7:39pm

A post on another thread yesterday evening reminded me I had not replied to the email I received from the ministry. I have now done so.

With apologies to Beetroot,

Dear Mr Xxxxxxx

Thank you for taking the time to deal with this and I regret I did not reply more promptly.
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This is what I really feel and I do not solicit a reply:

I suggest that this just shows that the regulations about lights on pedal cycles, which ought to be clear and simple, are in a mess and the mess is so great that even those responsible are in the dark. When the law is not respected everybody loses but we have over-complicated regulations, based on British Standards which were obsolescent when they were written some thirty years ago, being widely ignored. On the one hand, many cyclists don't bother with any form of lighting, and on the other, conscientious people spend substantial sums to equip their bikes with lighting which exceeds the British Standard by a wide margin but which is of doubtful legality. The retail trade pays only lip-service to the British Standard and very few BS cycle lamps are on sale.

I am disappointed that the earlier advice about daytime lights on pedal cycles, which was based on a misunderstanding of the law, has been replaced by something which I can only assume is based on common sense. While I need no convincing that cyclists should strive to be conspicuous - especially when the Secretary of State for Transport apparently declares himself impotent to prevent bad driving - I fear that this advice has been trotted out to minimise embarrassment over the earlier mistake and has not been properly thought through. I could, for example, easily imagine inexperienced cyclists being lulled into a false sense of security using out-dated BS lamps in fog. In general, I would suggest that the Highway Code is the accepted place for advice of this type.

I'm sorry if this makes me sound grumpy, if only because I am seething.
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Once again, thank you for looking into this.

X X Xxxx

snibgo
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby snibgo » 29 Dec 2010, 8:30pm

And I hadn't spotted reohn2's response to my post.

There are, doubtless, many similar lights that do meet the 400 candela requirement of BS. And the specification of these lights may be incorrect. But my point stands: "Don't be mislead by misleadingly high numbers."

downfader
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby downfader » 29 Dec 2010, 11:44pm

thirdcrank wrote:A post on another thread yesterday evening reminded me I had not replied to the email I received from the ministry. I have now done so.

With apologies to Beetroot,

Dear Mr Xxxxxxx

Thank you for taking the time to deal with this and I regret I did not reply more promptly.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is what I really feel and I do not solicit a reply:

I suggest that this just shows that the regulations about lights on pedal cycles, which ought to be clear and simple, are in a mess and the mess is so great that even those responsible are in the dark. When the law is not respected everybody loses but we have over-complicated regulations, based on British Standards which were obsolescent when they were written some thirty years ago, being widely ignored. On the one hand, many cyclists don't bother with any form of lighting, and on the other, conscientious people spend substantial sums to equip their bikes with lighting which exceeds the British Standard by a wide margin but which is of doubtful legality. The retail trade pays only lip-service to the British Standard and very few BS cycle lamps are on sale.

I am disappointed that the earlier advice about daytime lights on pedal cycles, which was based on a misunderstanding of the law, has been replaced by something which I can only assume is based on common sense. While I need no convincing that cyclists should strive to be conspicuous - especially when the Secretary of State for Transport apparently declares himself impotent to prevent bad driving - I fear that this advice has been trotted out to minimise embarrassment over the earlier mistake and has not been properly thought through. I could, for example, easily imagine inexperienced cyclists being lulled into a false sense of security using out-dated BS lamps in fog. In general, I would suggest that the Highway Code is the accepted place for advice of this type.

I'm sorry if this makes me sound grumpy, if only because I am seething.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Once again, thank you for looking into this.

X X Xxxx


A good comment, generally along my lines of thinking with regards lights in general. I think some ARE confused, as many other forums (CChat, bikerader, and yahoo answers) get the "new lights" question. I recollect one specific post where someone nearly got hit riding past a side road, shouted at the driver and then realised the lack of quality to their lights. :(

irc
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Re: Daytime lights on pedal cycles

Postby irc » 30 Dec 2010, 12:06am

thirdcrank wrote: the the people in charge of all this are completely out of touch with reality. If there is a problem - and I know some people don't agree there is one - it's because some riders have decided to opt out altogether


Thirdcrank
I remember a post of yours where you had e-mailed the Dft looking for clarification of bike lighting laws. Did you get a reply?
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?