The dazzling bike light epidemic

Cyclist zooms past

Have you ever been cycling merrily along and suddenly an ultra bright bike light blinds you?

According to a recent spate of emails I’ve been receiving this is becoming a “hot issue” for London’s cyclists.

Cyclists tend to love their accessories. From our waterproof jackets, to our bike locks and our bike lights. It seems in the later category, people are choosing ultra bright lights, to both see the road ahead and to be seen.

There’s a stark difference between a bike light such as the Magicshine MJ-872 and your typical front bike light. The Magicshine was original designed for mountain bikers. It’s incredibly useful for late night cycling, down off road trails or even down country lanes.

The power of a bike light is typically measured in Lumens. The Magicshine provides 1600 Lumens of light. In comparison, a typical bike light will provide around 20 Lumens.

The result of any cyclists unfortunate enough to be caught in the beam is that they’ll be dazzled or even temporarily blinded.

In response, you have to slow down and avoid looking at the beam of the light. Even then, the effects can be at best irritating and at worst dangerous.

As a driver you tend to reserve your full beam lights for dark country lanes. The moment you notice another car, you are meant to turn them off.

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy for a cyclist to do the same things as bike lights tend to be located further along the handlebars. This would mean removing your hands from your handlebars to adjust them, every time you saw another cyclist.

The common sense practise would be to reserve full power bike lights for quiet country lanes or locations where you are not likely to dazzle a fellow cyclist.

The problem tends to be focused on front bike lights that are either on the handlebars or on a helmet. However, I’ve also heard reports of issues with ultra bright rear bike lights.

I personally tend to cycle with two small bike lights of around 20 Lumens. This is enough to be seen, but won’t cause a problem for a cyclist coming towards me. I have found myself on the receiving end of ultra bright lights. While it’s a little frustrating, there’s not much I can do.

So what should be done about this “epidemic”?

There’s obviously no harm in calmly approaching a cyclist with ultra bright lights and letting them know why that might be an issue. Although, you may well be told to mind your own business!

I’m interesting in hearing your opinions in this one. Leave a comment below and I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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115 Responses to The dazzling bike light epidemic

  1. Mark 22/02/2013 at 3:12 pm #

    I have had this a few times in the local park in the dark mornings with lights so bright it makes it awkward for me to see where I am going.

  2. Andrew Russell 22/02/2013 at 3:24 pm #

    Over bright lights are a menace, at best irritating to the oncoming pedestrian or cyclist , and occasionally dangerous.
    Why is a 1600 lumen a must have on a bike?, simple answer it’s not.
    Your lights should be good enough to warn other that you are there i.e. 20 / 50 lumen. If you need more than that be prepared to turn it off / down to oncoming traffic.
    I have used really powerful lights when I know there is likely to be nothing on the track in front of me, I would not use that light in town or on a towpath or country lane, no matter how dark it is.
    I think some bikers get kitted up in the best of stuff, just because they have been convinced by salespeople / advertising that they need to, and they have the money to buy it, sort of ‘big is best’

    • dw 11/06/2013 at 1:45 am #

      I’m not a cyclist, nor am I anti-cycling whatsoever. However, things of late have been getting out of control with cyclist strobe lights. Tonight, I was walking down the street and from a distance of 300 yards, I noticed a cyclist’s strobe light coming towards me. Even from that distance, I had to shield my eyes and as he got closer, I actually had to stop walking; it was so disorientating and ultimately, temporarily blinded me. I hasten to add, that a cop car using an insane number of strobe lights from a distance in my rear mirror, had the same effect. I was literally hiding out of the range of the mirror to be able to drive; had I not, I would have crashed. I have also had issues with roadwork strobes on motorways. There needs to be strict regulation regarding strobe lights. Strobe lights are goddamned dangerous.

  3. Phil Hamilton 22/02/2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Over bright and ill adjusted lights are a menace – be they on bikes or motor vehicles. My B&M front lamp got a few ‘flashes’ from motorists until I adjusted it downwards a degree or so. It still gives me plenty of light on unlit roads for traveling at reasonable speeds (c.16-20mph), despite its diminutive 2.4 watt power (which produces 40 Lux according to the blurb).

  4. tim 22/02/2013 at 6:01 pm #

    I think it’s a bit tricky – 20 lumens might be nive, but given the general level of observation in the traffic i’m in, i might as well be using a match.

    In London, I have a bright light to be seen. I do try and be considerate and angle it down so as not to blind oncoming traffic, but after being knocked off and having multiple SMIDSY’s over the last 20 years (commuting in London since ’92) – I really struggle to have any sympathy with drivers complaining about my bright lights,

    If you used the eyes god gave you, i wouldn’t feel the urge to light up like a xmas tree. I have one (bright) flashing light & one steady on the front, plus a flashing cherry bomb & steady rear light. Plus a couple of lights on my helmet. Plus hi-viz jacket. Plus an ankle reflector. 🙂

    I’m still invisible!

    therefore I don’t feel the slightest pang of guilt by using the brightest front light I can afford so that morons in cars actually register that there is something else on the road.

    rant over 🙂 and breathe …….

    • Ges 01/12/2013 at 4:39 pm #

      Most drivers are not morons. The fact is these lights do blind everybody. So many cyclists use them these days, mostly illegally as one should have the ability to dip. There are just as many cycling morons as others. Cyclists continually pass me on the inside, even when I’m turning left. Often I see cyclists standing on sharp bends looking at a map or whatever, and when I beep to say here I am, I get a finger or V sign. I drive cars and motorcycles, and walk and bike, but I find that a lot of the Lycra clad brigade ( just to differentiate from the ordinary person cyclist ) seem to have a huge chip on their shoulders regarding motorists. I’m sure a lot of these cyclists are car drivers too, but surely they don’t treat cyclists in similar fashion ? I was along a country lane recently when 3 came along abreast, I stopped and waited, nothing, so I beeped here I am, whereupon one of them switched his 2 million lumen flashing light on to deliberately blind me. Ha, morons ? look at the Cycling community

    • Irvine McBee 16/01/2014 at 9:10 pm #

      In reply to Tim and his over-zealous use of bike lights – no, you not still invisible, you are now a target. People now see you, but hate you.
      Because you have gone over the top, you are a danger to other road users and pedestrians (I speak as a pedestrian who has fallen off the edge of a kerb whilst blinded by a bike light; a motorist who has had to dangerously slam on the brakes in traffic because I could no longer see where I was going; and as a cyclist who ended up in a hedge because of an oncoming cyclist who appeared to be shining a damned laser light right into my brain).
      Enough is enough! Hi-viz and normal lighting please!

      • tim 28/01/2014 at 4:42 pm #

        My mail was slightly tongue in cheek – but I’m not sure why you would think that a bright light now makes me a target. I’ve been commuting for over 20 years, so most of my experience has been with the comparatively weak (polite 🙂 ) lights.

        I agree they probably didn’t make me stand out (or annoy drivers), but they definitely made me a target.

        The sort of target that you are when you get knocked off by drivers who look straight at you and then pull out into you. The sort of target that means a driver performs a right turn straight into your path because the BS certified light didn’t register (BTW – I wear a hi vis jacket, plus ankle reflectors. spoke reflector thingies. and a helmet).

        So, you’re point about my light making me a target unfortunately reads like a threat to me. Apologies if it wasn’t intended that way, but in order to be seen I’ve found the brighter light has actually worked.

        Your comment that “now they hate you” says more about you than me. If your reaction to someone who does something you don’t like is to make them an object of hate, you’re not in a very pleasant place personally.
        It’s not a helpful statement. Playing that game leads to a completely counter productive “us-vs-them” scenario. Do you suggest that it would be acceptable to write that we should “hate HGV drivers” because of the incidents where HGV drivers have killed/injured cyclists – or maybe we should hate drivers who use mobile phones whilst driving (also both dangerous and illegal). I can’t imagine anyone I know who cycles advocating that.

        As I said, I mount the light angled down (to shine on the road about 10 ft in front of me), so it is not shining directly into the eyes of oncoming drivers – they are seeing the edge of the beam. The light itself is about 25% as bright as a car light (though I take the point that the beam is more concentrated because of the size of the light)

        I’d be interested to know how you would suggest I prevent becoming a target. If I have a bright light I’m a target because it annoys someone. If I have a light they don’t see, I’m a target.

        Maybe I should just get a car. 😉

    • micalith 12/01/2015 at 3:12 pm #

      tim, you’ve failed to consider other cyclists here … I’ve nearly crashed my bicycle a few times because of having to stop abruptly, blinded by excessively bright cycling headlights

    • John 26/01/2018 at 8:04 pm #

      You are the worst type. If you think that car drivers find you not visible, it is precisely for the reason that you are blinding them. I ride a bike and drive a car and would never use flashing lights and there is plenty of evidence that a constant beam is safer. I reserve my super bright light for the trail. Have you not realised when a cyclist is coming toward you with a flashing light, you just cannot see where they are or how fast they are going, and it’s just plain obnoxious. Please please be more considerate, and realise you will be safer with constant beam lights of 20-50 lumen.

  5. Tom 22/02/2013 at 6:40 pm #

    It’s just common sense, I have a bright light for the dark country roads where I need to be able to see. In street lit areas I can just put it on the lower setting. The lower setting is still bright but if you angle it correctly there’s no problem. I would say the problem is not dazzling other cyclists but dazzling drivers – after all a car can do a lot more damage than a bike!

  6. Jim 23/02/2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Apparently even 3 flashing headlights in a built-up area are not enough: I still got doored.

    • John S. Allen 10/01/2015 at 5:17 am #

      People also get doored in full daylight. The solution is to not ride in the door zone.

  7. Claire 26/02/2013 at 1:25 pm #

    Its just not necessary in central London (or any town / city) with street lights…..super bright lights are annoyingly on the increase….save them for your night rides in the countryside!

  8. kevin 29/03/2013 at 8:06 pm #

    I am not a regular cyclist – I am commenting on this issue from the point of view of a car driver. I find flashing lights on bikes (and rear fog lights on cars when the fog is not thick enough to legally warrant it) very distracting – I am not sure how the case was argued for the legal introduction of said bike flashing lights but I would doubt that they have improved the situation for cyclist. Am I a lone voice?

  9. dbs 01/04/2013 at 9:12 am #

    The brightest lights are a bit antisocial but only if they are angled poorly in my view. Lots of drivers used to flash me but none now that I have the spots pointed about 15ft in front on the road. Having them mounted low is a better option and even running them under the bars rather than over makes a difference. I am probably one of the worst offenders: I have 2 x 1800 lumens on the front which is exceptionally bright but I frequently go out training at night in the countryside. Changing to half power in urban areas is a gesture but doesn’t reduce the dazzling problem much I think.

    I’m afraid it is a bit of a war out there. Motorists are routinely utterly inconsiderate and they don’t understand how much injury they can cause. I got knocked off a couple of years back and nearly killed, only saved by emergency sugery. And that was in broad daylight. Even with my bright lights many drivers still have no thought for cyclists.

  10. Chris Juden 02/04/2013 at 3:40 pm #

    It’s not so much the total number of lumens as how they’re distributed. Most of the really bright battery bike lamps now on the market, for all that they claim to have collimated lenses or whatnot, are hardly more sophisticated optically than a torch. In most cases the beam is a simple symmetrical spot, in some cases with a little bit of shaping, i.e. an ovalised spot, and in a very few cases that oval is biased downwards a bit. But only a bit. There’s still far too much light going upwards.

    Aiming the thing downwards will help of course, but with nearly all of the lights we tested (in conjunction with the Sunday Times) it’ll still be more dazzling than a car headlamp until you’ve aimed it downwards so far as to light the road only a few feet in front. A handy dimmer switch would be good, but all of the lights that have this feature, if mounted to light the road a useful distance in front, will still dazzle on their minimum setting – albeit not as badly.

    German dynamo lights are, as one person has pointed out, made to conform with strict German standards. Their optical designs are much more sophisticated, with an intensity that cuts off very sharply just two or three degrees above the central hotspot. This means the light can be aimed a useful distance up the road without the upward throw causing undue dazzle. As our tester said when he lined one these up with the measuring screen: “Ah now this designer knows what he’s doing”.

    What’s needed is a more responsible attitude from the completely unregulated battery bikelamp market. These manufacturers need to put a lot more work into the optical part of the design process and/or fit much easier-to-use dimmer switches, that simply toggle between max and dim, just like a car dip-switch.

    A ban on flashing lights or head-mounted lights brighter than a certain level should also be considered IMHO.

    • Aaron Ward 26/02/2016 at 7:11 pm #

      This market in completely unregulated and causes many other problems beyond those discussed here. My company has been involved in resolving problems on two occasion with (expensive for the client concerned) issues caused by poor quality LED lighting.

      First was a Scottish Mountain Rescue team which found their two-way radios stopped working completely when their new head torches were switched on. After we de-constructed the torches we found critical radio frequency filters were missing by poor design or cost cutting. This made them radiate so much interference they would jam the VHF rescue channels, even BBC VHF and DAB radio channels for 20m or more radius. Result, 50 Super bright (expensive) head torches had to be modified at some expense and legal action against the importer.

      The second incident was even more safety critical. After retrofitting some rail maintenance machines with LED lighting. Critical track-side safety systems perpetually alarmed causing cessation of work. This involved a machine about 500m long and 20 or so personnel unable to work for hours at a time. The cost of that must have been phenomenal. Again the LED lighting was interfering with the rail safety radio channel.

      Neither of these is related to dazzling but it does illustrate the problem with the lack of quality of these products which are sold without full CE testing and safety testing.

      Nearly all the lights that I have seen are no more than a powerful LED and battery in a tube. There is no consideration of Optical design let alone other safety considerations.

      Even if no harm was ever done by dazzling (and no doubt there will be a death sooner or later) it gives cyclists a reputation of being inconsiderate. As a cyclist I know how inconsiderate motorists can be. Us cyclists should be a shining example of good road manners. Not partaking in technological war of lighting.

  11. GMBasix 02/04/2013 at 4:06 pm #

    Hi Chris,
    Unless and until a corresponding set of restrictions applies to:
    – the profligate (and mostly unlawful) use of fog lamps,
    – the ever-increasing apparent brightness, flicker and diffraction of car headlamps,
    – the removal of DRLs (they’re safer coz we say so – SMMT) and
    – adaptive headlamps (if you can’t see into the road you’re turning into… slow down!)

    … I don’t think I’m going to be too concerned about counting lumens on my lid.

    As daytime use of car lights increases, an effective daytime bike light becomes more sensible. Would a different limit apply during the day?

    I think the increase in bike lumens is partly fuelled by technology and off-road demand leading to a ‘because we can’ attitude, but partly it’s a legitimate response to a lighting arms escalation. Car manufacturers have been allowed to get away with sophism in place of science to justify HIDs, DRLs, etc.

    Limit cars’ lights and you limit the need to compete to be seen.

    That is where the focus needs to be before we agree to specific limitations on cycle lighting.

  12. Chris Juden 03/04/2013 at 2:03 pm #

    To GMBasix: two wrongs don’t make a right. And quite a few posters report that they still get run into in spite of winning (or at least competing hard) in the vehiclular lighting arms race, so does it even help?

    Sure you need a bright enough light on the bike, and it probably helps if its just as bright to be mistaken for a dipped motorcycle headlamp, but beyond that? Could it be that drivers see a helmet-mounted light, immediately recognise that “its just a cyclist” (since no other road users put lights on their heads) and pull out anyway?

    I think we’re talking about the night-time situation here. Use of lights in the day, on motors and cycles, is another thing altogether that I’d rather not get into here, except to note that glare is highly dependent on the ambient light level and agree that your helmet-mounted light is unlikely to dazzle in daylight.

    • vince 02/10/2014 at 11:10 pm #

      Chris, Sorry to dig up a year plus old thread but I was reading it and could not believe the utter, dangerous, rubbish you posted. As I gather from previous posts you consider yourself something of an expert, you should be ashamed and have a good long think.

      You write
      “Could it be that drivers see a helmet-mounted light, immediately recognise that “its just a cyclist” (since no other road users put lights on their heads) and pull out anyway?”

      I’m going to be charitable and assume that you meant this is in a discussional way, but you do not seem to point out that any driver thinking that a lesser road user can be discounted actually has no business owning a licence. You may wish to read up on shared use of roads and the responsibilities of operating any form of vehicle upon one.

      There’s enough insanity in the current ‘cyclists vs motorists’ meme without adding thoughtless comments such as yours.

      • Chris Juden 06/10/2014 at 1:18 pm #

        It’s a thoughtful comment. It reflects the palpable difference between cycling in British urban traffic versus countries which more strongly motivate their drivers to be careful around vulnerable road users.

        In Britain a cyclist is regarded as a gap in the traffic. In those other countries, drivers are almost embarrassingly respectful of one’s personal space, to the point where a visiting Brit, accustomed to being ignored, will often find themselves in a situation I can only describe as: “After you”; “No please, after you!”

  13. GMBasix 03/04/2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Hi Chris
    I agree in part. I’m not sporting the brightest thing around, but it’s reasonably punchy; I also think its counter-productive being able to burn paint at 100 paces.
    But I’m not sure that arguing that drivers think its only a cyclist is pertinent to the lamp debate. If they think that, then it’s done it’s job, however zealously. The result is down to the driver’s other failings.
    I’m concerned that seasoned cyclists would be advocating limits for the relatively occasional problem (cycling search lamps) whereas a more pervasive problem is growing on a broader scale, and based on claims of safety from flimsy studies.
    Since the ED boat has sailed on car lighting, how can we then expect cyclists to roll over?
    How would you place a limit, since dazzle is a subjective consequence of a combination of lamp power, light frequency, beam spread and external environmental factors?

  14. Chris Juden 05/04/2013 at 10:19 am #

    My argument is for neither more nor less than parity with motor vehicle lighting.

    Motor vehicle lights ARE subject to limits on intensity. Because glare is a subjective matter, those lamps will nevertheless dazzle some people in some situations (when the background is very dark, if it’s a relatively small car lamp, when it’s nearer the observer and more central in their field of view and if the viewer is especially sensitive to glare) but it will not dazzle them as badly, or as many other people in other situations, as it could do if there were no limits.

    Equivalent limits for cycle lamps exist in the traffic regulations of other countries, e.g. Germany, and lamps made to conform with those regulations are perfectly useful for cycling – in the opinion of those, like me, who use them. Your opinion may differ, but that doesn’t have to be problem. An appetite for even brighter lights is easily accommodated by equipping such lamps with a sufficiently handy means of dimming to the non-dazzling level.

    Sure it’s all a bit arbitrary, but it’s not difficult to write standards that apply equivalent limits to cycle lamps.

    • Nj 06/09/2013 at 1:20 pm #

      I have to disappoint you about Germany .. the regulation for dynamo lamps was recently dropped here, which was hailed as being supportive of cycling traffic. I just ordered one of those “dazzling” lights, and they do have STVZO approval.
      My bike weighs less than 11 kg (racing model), and for these, battery powered lamps have been legal for a long time. The only thing regulated is the maximum power output of 3W.

    • ian 23/12/2013 at 1:58 pm #

      Ah, it’s Chris ‘I hate cyclists’ CTC Juden again. How bloody hard is it for you to accept that the only way to get some drivers’ attention IS to annoy the heck out of them?

  15. Simon Bigg 16/04/2013 at 6:13 pm #

    Here’s an idea that might help people be better seen by other road users and pedestrians: add some extra lights that illuminate yourself.

    If you light yourself up, you will appear as a much bigger, illuminated (or flashing) object rather than just some tiny pin-pricks of flashing light.

    What do people think? I’m actually considering trying this.

    • Ges 01/12/2013 at 4:51 pm #

      I wouldn’t bother. It will probably distract a driver who then runs someone else down. Imagine your kid crossing the road, and an approaching driver sees a lit up something, he’s going to look at it isn’t he/she, not at your kid in the road.
      Try thinking of everybody using the roads rather than just yourself.

  16. JR 22/08/2013 at 2:58 am #

    Iwant to be seen. Too many cyclists have died..becasue drivers say ” I didnt see them” or
    I thought I(the car) has priority on roads becasue I am bigger and moving faster.
    I’ll use lights and if it annoys drivers, yet gets me home without broken bones…then the car drivers get home safe with their families…..and I get home to mine. A little inconvenience for saving life? yes.

    • Ges 01/12/2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Not really, No. Blinding a car driver who then ploughs into someone else is probably not saving a life . Maybe yours ,yes. Your attitude is pretty standard these days for some Cyclists. We need to educate Drivers not blind them. On a road at night its pretty nigh impossible to see what’s ahead once someone has passed with a blinding light. And don’t forget you are also blinding pedestrians and other cyclists too. Cycle lanes are what’s needed , not this stupid aggression which only makes some stupid drivers more likely to run you down.

      • ian 23/12/2013 at 1:56 pm #

        You know, they could just slow down or even (horrors) stop if it is really that bad. Which it rarely actually is.

        As for educating them, good luck with that – the goal is more like distracting them from texting, sandwich munching, fiddling with the MP3 player, arguing with the kids …

  17. Matthew 28/01/2014 at 3:51 pm #

    Richmond Park. This is where the problem is at its worst, for me. You only need an bog-standard pair of £20 Cats Eyes in there at night – and only then so that others know you’re there.

    Some of the kit folk use in this park is incredible. It’s a wonder that the pilots coming in to Heathrow overhead don’t find it distracting. Maybe they do. It’s only really become a problem in the last 2-3 years, as the number of cyclists reaches this much-touted “critical mass”. I’ve tried being light-hearted… “Eat more carrots, mate!… but it’s now become a genuine hazard. You’re blinded for the 5-10 seconds before they pass you and then the after-image skews your vision so you’re more or less cycling blind for 5-10 seconds more once they pass.

    Riding through the park at night is a joy. The starry winter skies wheeling above, the smell of the damp soil and the sense of profound peace that is so rare in our city — and all the more so after the 10-mile commute out from the heart of London. These ridiculous lights are an unnecessary blight on a simple pleasure. Anyone who needs that kind of illumination in the park at night shouldn’t be riding in the park at night in the first place.

    What can we do make them understand?

    • Derek 27/06/2014 at 1:51 am #

      Mirrors at the entrance gates?

  18. Ed 02/10/2014 at 11:38 pm #

    i have ultra bright lights because standard lights arent bright enough to be seen clearly. If a driver looks properly, they will see. Periphery vision its not so obvious. I nearly got hit on a small roundabout where i was already on the roundabout and a car pulled out missing me by a few centimetres because my normal bike light had clearly not been enough. I prefer a light which is blindingly obvious. However I am courteous enough to have it pointing slightly downwards to avoid blinding others. I want a drive to see the street lit up with what could be a headlamp to make it obvious i am there before they even see the bike.

    • Chris Juden 06/10/2014 at 12:59 pm #

      Two unjustified and probably mistaken assumptions there Ed.

      Drivers pull out on cyclists they can clearly see, in daylight too, just the same. They can see us alright, but they’re impatient and we’re no threat. It is mere supposition that having a brighter light (beyond a basic level of conspicuity) avoids such collisions or near-collisions and I’m not convinced that it makes any difference – not unless the lamp is also physically big enough to be mistaken for a motorbike headlamp.

      No matter how intense it may be: if it’s obviously one of those small torch-like lamps you only ever see on the front of a mere ‘push-bike’ – or the helmet of its rider – it’s an invitation to pull out. Of course, some drivers also pull out on motorbikes, but not so routinely.

      And if it’s one of those “blindingly obvious” lamps, having it “pointing slightly downwards” will not be enough to avoid blinding others.

  19. Retina 27/11/2014 at 9:29 pm #

    I feel compelled to write on this as someone who loved cycling. Absolutely astonished and dismayed by this outbreak of severe bike lighting. As someone with delicate retinas and partial sight I am staggered that the equivalent of a floodlight sometimes flashing as fast as a shutter lens on a camera can be worn on the streets and pavements of London.
    Those like me with sight issues have to look away or down or not go out in order to avoid more light damage to their eyes. Just disgusting, thoughtless and dangerous, how on earth did anybody with a degree of sense or consideration for light sensitive eyes, epileptics or anyone think this was a good idea?

  20. Steve Somers 30/12/2014 at 10:19 pm #

    As a car driver I once met a full cycling club rounding an acute bend to present me with 10+ 1600 lumen lights across the full width of the road
    I slammed all on (slowing anyway for bend) and shut my eyes – It was THAT BAD!

    Cyclists – be aware – and wisen up – any other combination could have been horrific

  21. Mike 27/01/2015 at 5:54 am #

    As a car driver I am always considerate to all other road users including cyclists but those front flashing cycle lights are a menace and totally unnecessary.
    I simply main beam the culprit,they might get the message.Mind you I find cars’ ultra bright DRL’s over the top,who remembers the old Volvo 240 daytime lights:plenty bright enough.

    • Blodwyn 27/09/2016 at 10:30 pm #

      Mike I totally agree with you the flashing strobe lights are illegal, as normal the police don’t go anything about it, I have complained to Tfl but get no reply, I had a customer who had a seizure in the back of my Taxi due to the strobe lights no one has any respect anymore

  22. Bill 11/01/2016 at 3:34 pm #

    I use an unlit country track to get home, without moon light I need a good beam. I frequently pass groups of cyclists, many have three lamps including one on their helmet. The helmet lights especially lead to momentary blindness, the hi-lumen lights on the handlebars can also be problematic.

    I just dip the light manually that is affixed to my bike, or place my hand in front.

    I’m very embarrassed if I’m late to spot a pedestrian and forget to dim my lights.

    Around full moon, I don’t need my light on at all, and it actually narrows my field of vision.

    If I do use the light in an urban environment (which I have been as my other light is broken at the moment,) I point the light towards the tarmac.

    The bright low-watt bulbs are fantastic, but can be a bit much. I’ve lost count the amount of time I’ve ended up in a ditch on a country road due to momentary blindness from car lights. And over the last decade the lamps have gotten brighter.

  23. Simon G 04/02/2016 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi, guys, please stop using those super bright strobe lights…especially the helmet mounted ones…it’s’s got to a Point where I have got to look away from’s that or be blinded or suffer a migraine…not ideal if I’m driving the car or on my bike…which means that ridiculous light you bought and thought would make sure you’re seen…has resulted in me and I know plenty of other drivers / cyclists not having a clue where you are….and too be honest not caring ….. great kit…if fitted correctly, angled correctly and used where necessary.

  24. Pat 02/05/2016 at 4:00 am #

    Focus the lights onto the roadway, to the front.
    Could an adjustable shutter be incorporated.
    Optionally light that shines up and out is necessary on dark trails with branches.
    I have been speared off my bike in under-lite situations, on a dark trail.
    Eye level branches also need to be illuminated on trails.

  25. Tim 04/11/2016 at 8:30 am #

    Why is this thread about cyclists vs motorists! I’m a cyclist and get blinded on a daily basis by other cyclists with insanely bright lights. Be they rear lights in the daily London peleton in front of me, or front lights coming the other way.
    I have to slow down. I do tell the offender to sort their lights out. Pretty sure there’s a £30 on the spot fine for lights that don’t meet the road lighting regulations.
    If you use absurdly bright lights, please make sure they’re “dipped” when other cyclists are around.

  26. alain smithee 09/11/2016 at 5:16 pm #

    I used M5 bolts to fasten PVC pipe caps to the rack eyelets on my fork in order to create light mounts that are lower so that my lights are less likely to blind oncoming riders and motorists.

    I also use an inexpensive ($10 US) red LED road flare for a tail light because it is visible from both the side and the rear.

    I had reservations about the fork mounted lights at first, but I’ve noticed that they make it easier to see the craters my city calls potholes, so I’m going to keep them.

  27. Chit 01/02/2017 at 8:09 pm #

    I am also tired by the number of bright front and rear lights purposely aimed to blind drivers and cyclists alike. I remonstrated with such a selfish driver and was told so long as he was safe bugger everyone else. Sadly it demonstrates an uncomfortable tendency of cyclists to be rude and selfish bullies who care not one jot for the safety and comfort of other road users.

    I urge all cyclist who are similarly blinded by such selfish cyclist to point their lights down on the road not in your eye endangering your safety. I also urge cycle shops to tell anyone buying such lights not to point them at other cyclists eyes as it endangers other road users

  28. Kieran 19/04/2017 at 6:27 pm #

    A lot of lights have multiple modes now so that you can adjust the brightness. That doesn’t mean people will use them though!

  29. blodwyn pig 19/04/2017 at 10:43 pm #

    I’m a London Taxi driver when working around dusk time It’s blinking annoying time when these cyclist appear, I’ve had a word with the police and Tfl they say it’s illegal to have these strobing lights on but just pass the buck between the police and Tfl no one has the time to do anything anymore, so when this time of evening starts I just go for a rest brake

  30. Filip 31/08/2017 at 11:01 pm #

    It is simply, and nice, bicycle lights regulation in UK: bicycle must have front and rear constantly light, satisfactory with BS 6102/3 standard on ecvivalent EC regulation (Germany DIN with StVZO mark only), or flashing lights with more than 4 candela light emition. Every person in traffic can not emite dazzling. Simply, efective.

    It is ask for your community police officers why they not able to fulfill this regulation. Dazzling is minimaly the same problem as non-lights vehicle in traffic at night.

    But dazzling is not problem only in your land. I am Czech Republic resident, yearly drive on bicycle about 8,000 mi, and see this: vast majority of bicycles in night use insufficient lights (only sidelight on front, rear light with poor batteries capacity and so on), or dazzling. Nothing in between.

    We have not too built-up areas and public lighting as in UK, that is why bicyclist realy need good light(s) in night if they can ride safety. Good, StVZO marked, low-beam bicycle lamp costs about Kč 500.00 (cca GBP 17.50) and the average wage is about Kč 25,000.00 (cca GBP 887.00). Most of people buy bicycle about Kč 20,000.00 (cca GBP 710.00), accessories included. Realy is cca Kč 700.00 (front + rear correct lights) so many? In my humble opinion, this problem is realy international!

  31. Eoin 04/09/2017 at 10:35 pm #

    mmm a several year thread. Legislation needed. I’ll stick with my german lights. just need sunglasses for the dazzlers.

    • Filip 04/09/2017 at 10:41 pm #

      Is, in UK, really possible stopping bicyclist the police for dazzling?

  32. Graham Rosher 05/09/2017 at 10:56 am #

    I had a customer husband & wife in my Taxi in London the wife had a seizure I had to pull over to make sure they were ok the husband said his wife was complaining about the strobe affect from the cyclist from behind which lit my cab up he said she had done into a epileptic fit, now every time cyclists with strobe lights this happen to me I get the raving hump with them, I have mentioned to the police which they say is illegal but as normal won’t do anything.

  33. David F 22/10/2017 at 6:34 pm #

    I’m a regular cyclist London and have taken to shouting ‘too bright!’ at oncoming cyclists with excessively bright lights, especially on two-way cycle lanes, like Cable St, which are already dangerous enough routes without riders being repeatedly dazzled. Bike lights in the city are there so people can see you coming, not so you can light up the road. If necessary, use different lights for dark nights in the countryside and for night time in the city – it’s not that hard to do.

    The argument that you want to be seen and therefore must have super-bright lights does not take into account the blinding effect of dazzle and the danger it causes. It’s irresponsible and dangerous. And annoying.

  34. Patrick 07/02/2018 at 9:45 pm #

    so true, blinds me all the time, i just cover my eyes with my hands and keep walking like a blind person when a bike with bright lights approaches me. I wonder if the cyclists see my overt reaction. Maybe I should stand in the middle of the path and wave them down and talk to them about the issue of blinding pedestrians. But what if they don’t see me in the park in the dark?

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