Lights, indicators and refelectors
The main UK legislation is to be found in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989. The European legislation can be found in EC Directive 97/24.
The approval requirements are:
- Direction Indicators - on motorcycles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must be approved to EC Directive 76/759, 93/92, Chapter 2 of 97/24 or to ECE Regulation 6 or 50;
- Stop Lamps and Front and Rear Position Lamps - on motorcycles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must be approved to EC Directive 76/758, 93/92, Chapter 2 of 97/24 or ECE Regulation 7 or 50;
- Rear Reflectors - on motorcycles first used before 1 April 1991 must comply with the requirements of British Standard AU 40. If first used after 1 April 1991 they must be approved to EC Directive 76/757, 93/92, Chapter 2 of 97/24 or to ECE Regulation 3;
- Rear Registration Plate Lamp - on motorcycles first used on or after 1 April 1986 must be approved to EC Directive 76/760, 93/92 and Chapter 2 of 97/24 or to ECE Regulation 4 or 50;
- Headlamps - the regulations set minimum wattage requirements for dipped and main beam headlamps according to the cubic capacity of motorcycles.
- NB. Headlamps on motorcycles are not required to have any approval markings.
- As a general condition the regulations require riders to keep obligatory lamps and reflectors clean and in good working order.
- You are not allowed to show a red light to the front of the vehicle; s.11(1)
- You are not allowed to show a white light to the rear except when reversing; s.11(2)(b)
- You are not allowed to show a white light unless it is illuminating your registration plate; s.11(2)(e)
- Wheel reflectors and reflecting tape of any colour is allowed as it shows to the side only. s.11(1)(c)(iii) & s.11(2)(q)
- Note s.24(2) Save as provided in paragraphs (5) and (9), where a solo motor bicycle is not fitted with a front position lamp, no person shall use it, or cause or permit it to be used, on a road (other than when it is parked) between sunset and sunrise or in seriously reduced visibility between sunrise and sunset, unless a headlamp is kept lit and unobscured.
- Paragraph (5); It is parked on a road in an area whose maximum speed limit is 30mph.
- Paragraph (9); It being pushed along the left-hand edge of a carriageway .
Solo motor bicycle and motor bicycle combination
|Type of lamp or reflector
||Schedule in which relevant installation and performance requirements are specified
|Front position lamp
||Schedule 2: Part I
||A solo motor bicycle fitted with a headlamp.
||Schedule 4: Part I
|| A vehicle first used before 1st January 1931.
| Main-beam headlamp
||Schedule 5: Part I
A vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph
A vehicle first used before 1st January 1972 and having an engine with a capacity of less than 50 cc.
A vehicle first used before 1st January 1931
||Schedule 7: Part I
A vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph;
A vehicle first used before 1st April 1986;
A vehicle which is constructed or adapted primarily for use off roads (whether by reason of its tyres, suspension, ground clearance or otherwise) and which can carry only one person or which, in the case of a motor bicycle combination, can carry only the rider and one passenger in the sidecar.
|Rear position lamp
||Schedule 10: Part I
||Schedule 12: Part I
A vehicle having a maximum speed not exceeding 25 mph;
A vehicle first used before 1st April 1986 and having an engine with a capacity of less than 50 cc;
A vehicle first used before 1st January 1936.
|Rear registration plate lamp
||A vehicle not required to be fitted with a rear registration plate.
|Rear retro reflector
||Schedule 18: Part I
The Highway Code has the following rules regarding lighting requirements in sections 113-116:
- 113 You MUST:
- Ensure all sidelights and rear registration plate lights are lit between sunset and sunrise.
- Use headlights at night, except on a road which has lit street lighting. These roads are generally restricted to a speed limit of 30 mph (48 km/h) unless otherwise specified.
- Use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced (see Rule 226).
Night (the hours of darkness) is defined as the period between half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise). [Laws RVLR regs 3, 24, & 25, (In Scotland - RTRA 1984 sect 82 (as amended by NRSWA, para 59 of sched 8))]
- 114 You MUST NOT:
- Use any lights in a way which would dazzle or cause discomfort to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders
- Use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced. You MUST switch them off when visibility improves to avoid dazzling other road users (see Rule 226)
In stationary queues of traffic, drivers should apply the parking brake and, once the following traffic has stopped, take their foot off the footbrake to deactivate the vehicle brake lights. This will minimise glare to road users behind until the traffic moves again. [Law RVLR reg 27]
- 115 You should also:
- Use dipped headlights, or dim-dip if fitted, at night in built-up areas and in dull daytime weather, to ensure that you can be seen.
- Keep your headlights dipped when overtaking until you are level with the other vehicle and then change to main beam if necessary, unless this would dazzle oncoming road users.
- Slow down, and if necessary stop, if you are dazzled by oncoming headlights.
- 116 Hazard warning lights. These may be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic. Never use them as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed. [Law RVLR reg 27]
RVLR; Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989
RTRA; Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984
NRSWA; New Roads and Street Works Act 1991
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