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I bought a set of mudguards recently, the rear one attaches onto the seat post.

I have a red reflector that also attached onto the seatpost, so if I have both the seat has to be too high and only my toes can touch the ground when seated.

I've removed the reflector, is this OK or is it required by the highway code?

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BTW - most of the time if your bike is properly adjusted for fit and size, you won't be able ground while seated. If you can it will be just barely. –  Gary.Ray Oct 9 '10 at 23:09
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Slightly off-topic, but.. For those that love to be minimal and do not want reflectors on spokes - I would recommend tires with reflective stripe on side. Works excellent –  Tadas Sasnauskas May 10 '12 at 13:54

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

There is a good "common language" guide to the bike specific regulations in the Highway Code here.

The relevant paragraph reads:

At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85).

So, while I am not a barrister, nor a UK citizen, the answer appears to be that you have to have a rear reflector somewhere. However, there may be some wiggle room since the law specifies at night. It seems unlikely that if you only ride during the day that you will run into a problem if you remove it.

Most jurisdictions in the US and other countries have similar laws. While safety experts generally agree that a rear light is much more effective (and UK law seems to recognize this by requiring not only the light, but that it be lit), you can usually get away with a rear light that is also made out of red or amber reflective material.

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Wouldn't the rear light double as a reflector, even if it's not turned on? Especially as far as the law is concerned? –  zigdon Oct 9 '10 at 23:09
    
@zigdon - some do and some don't. In the US at least there is a standard for distance and angle for reflective visibility and many rear lights don't meet them, especially the ones sold in some large department stores. For instance the following light at WalMart doesn't meet the standard in many US jurisdictions: walmart.com/ip/Bell-Sports-Night-Trail-Light-Set/14003649 –  Gary.Ray Oct 9 '10 at 23:14

In theory, yes, in practice, not really. The CTC have a decent summary of the situation.

Rear Reflector

One is required, coloured red, marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), positioned centrally or offside, between 350mm and 900mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind.

Note also that the highway code is not the law, so breaking it is not illegal. Although generally speaking if you contravene it you will probably be breaking a law somewhere or other.

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The main problem with having no rear reflector is that if you are involved in an accident with a car at night and make a claim on the drivers insurance, then the insurers, being insurers, will probably seek to nullify the claim by proving that your bike was not adequately equipped to be on the road at night due to the lack of legally required reflectors.

You're also supposed to have amber reflectors on both sides of the pedals too, which doesn't seem feasible on clipless pedals.

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