I recently bought a red and blue flashing light to wear on my helmet when I cycle into work in London.
I abide by road rules, cycle safely, never cycle on footpaths, obey stop signs and traffic lights etc, so my intent here is not to dash through red traffic lights whenever I want.
But it is incredible how much more drivers pay attention to red / blue flashing lights compared to standard white bike lights; I've noticed a measurable increase in how safe motorists drive when they see my red and blue flashing lights, from slowing down, to actually indicating when turning (a rarity in London) and giving ample room on the inside lane to me as a cyclist.
I appreciate that some people may think of this as "trickery" and that I am decieiving motorists into thinking that I am emergency services so that they drive on their "best behaviour". That is not my intention. My intention is to make cycling as safe as possible, which in London, where there aren't very many protected cycle lanes, is crucial to preventing accidents.
I only turn it on when I share a road lane with no protective barrier with motorists (which is about 60% of my commute); as soon as I get into a protected bike lane I turn it off. I don't want to have to use the light, but if its a question of safety or some people confusing me for emergency services, I would rather choose the former.
I have two questions:
- Is it legal under UK road law for bicycles to use red / blue flashing lights? I read in a road law handbook that motor vehicles cannot use them for obvious reason, but bicycles...?
- Provided it is legal, is it moral to do so? Yes, there is an element of deceiving drivers, which is not the direct intention. But if it makes motorists drive safer, ensuring a safer road expereince for all road users, what is the issue?