The law is about to become less of an ass. If the Department of Transport gets its way, which is highly likely, it will soon be street-legal for bicycles to be fitted with flashing lights. Police forces have long turned a blind-eye to the illegal fitting of LED lights to bikes – better illegal, very conspicuous lights than none – but the anomoly could have been used by a bright barrister against a well-lit cyclist in a ‘I never saw ‘im, yer honour’ car-v-bike court case

LED-use to be legalised

Yes, that’s right, The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, could be about to be amended. The Vehicle Standards and Engineering Division of the Department of Transport has started a consultation process to get the LED law changed.

Cyclists will still have to use ‘solid’ red and white lamps but it will be street-legal to fit flashing LEDs to bikes, a big no-no to date, albeit wholly ignored by cyclists, who prefer to be seen rather than street-legal.

The DfT is recommending “to allow the use of optional flashing position lamps, in addition to the obligatory steady front and rear position lamps, and to allow optional steady lamps (of unknown performance) in the locations (wheels and pedals) where currently only approved reflectors are permitted.”

It’s also recommended that there should be an amendment of “British Standard mark” to “enable pedal cycles to use LED lamps.”

All of this is a recognition that many night-time cyclists are flouting the law, most of them unwittingly.

The DfT’s consultation letter says: “Flashing lights are already quite common on pedal cycles and it has been commented that they help to distinquish cyclists from other road users, thus providing a positive reason to permit these lamps. There are not known to be any cycling or safety groups arguing for the ban on flashing lamps to be maintained. The current situation of widespread non-compliance reduces respect for the law and cannot be allowed to continue.”

In addition, the use of high-performance, high-wattage off-road lamps should not be restricted:

“Concerning maximum intensities, there is a concern that cyclists would use lamps of increased intensities, however so far there is no evidence to sugest that this will happen. It remains an offence under [The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989] to use any lamp so as to cause dazzle or discomfort for other road users.”

The DfT is seeking answers to its consultation document by 13th April.

Here’s the consultation document:…/letter.pdf

Here are the current Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989:…/Uksi_19891796_en_3.htm

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