In France and Germany there are laws so that new bicycles have to come with lights. Presumably the French and Germans thought that this would be a good idea for road safety and there must be some statistics that prove these laws to not be a waste of time. Presumably these laws did not make cycling so expensive, killing the trade in new bikes and deterring people from cycling.
Are there any statistics to show the effect of a change in the law to make lights mandatory with new bicycle sales?
The biggest problem for a cyclist is 'I did not see you mate' and one of the biggest complaints that the tin-box people have about cyclists is that they ride at night without lights. Given recent changes in legislation so that cars have to have daytime running lights, shouldn't new bicycles also have to have daytime running lights? Or mandatory lights that the cyclist must use at night and can use during the day?
Please put down your thoughts on mandatory bike lights and how this could be implemented. For instance, road bikes that are sold 'without pedals' currently do not have to comply with reflector legislation. Equally, bikes 'without pedals' could be sold without the mandatory lights.
An E.U. (or NAFTA) law could also impose a levy on imported bikes not supplied with lights with the levy being high enough that it is cheaper to supply the lights than pay the levy. There is also a matter of wheel size, does a law need to apply to just adult bikes or 'anything that does not have stabilisers'? Clearly there are requirements to be seen, but does a cyclist need mandatory lights to see with? Right now the approved lights in the UK are 4 candela, flashing 60-240 times a minute, constant flashing rate.
Bounty will hopefully be awarded for useful statistics and/or the makings of a draft UK law
Reply from RoSPA regarding why they think lights do not need to be mandatory (see notes below)
Thank you for your email.
Our policy is not ‘bicycles do not need lights’. Of course cyclists need to use lights in the dark, and we state this very clearly in the first paragraph of the policy you quote. The last paragraph concerns the separate question of whether the law should be changed to require bicycles to be sold with lights already fitted, and we do not believe that there is evidence to support such a change in the law.
Such a law would increase the price of bicycles, and presumably harm after sales of bicycle lights that are sold independently of bicycles because people would be less likely to purchase additional bicycle lights, if their bicycle already had lights fitted. It would also impose the cost of lights on cyclists who never ride in the dark, and so do not need lights. The advantages would be that it would presumably decrease the number of cyclists riding in the dark without lights, although it would not guarantee this as lights can be removed, just like bells (when the law changed requiring bells to be fitted with new bicycles, people were free to take the bell off outside the shop).
You make an interesting point that the amendments to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations that permitted the use of LED lights (flashing or non-flashing) that are more reliable and have longer–lasting battery life mean that cyclists are more likely to use lights than previously. I can see some logic to this, but am not aware of any evidence.
The policy statement on cycle lighting was developed following a review of what little published research there is on the use of cycle lighting that we conducted in 1997 (copy attached). Obviously, this is all very old now, and we will look to see if there is any new research indicating that making it mandatory for cycle lights to be fitted to bicycles when they are sold would be effective.
The latest research into cycling accidents, “Collisions Involving Cyclists on Britain’s Roads: Establishing the Causes”, TRL Report PPR 445, 2009, shows that 78% of cyclist accidents occur in daylight, but accidents in the dark on roads with no street lighting are more likely to be fatal. These accidents more commonly involve the cyclist being struck from the rear, and it is likely that lights, reflectors and high-visibility garments would help to prevent some of these. The same research estimated that ‘Cyclist not displaying lights in the dark or poor visibility” was a factor in 5% of fatal cyclist accidents, and 4% of cyclist accidents resulting in non-fatal injuries.
I repeat, the question is not whether cyclists should use lights in the dark – there is no question that they should do so – but whether requiring bicycles to be sold with lights would decrease the number of cyclists riding in the dark without lights.
(1997 doc to follow...)