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Riding without lights

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by chillibutton, Nov 20, 2014.

  1. In a word - why?

    I regularly see riders on bikes with no headlight on. This morning on the way to work it was actually 2 out of about 8 bikes (ironically one of these was a guy wearing a fluro vest so assume an L which may explain that one). Can anyone explain to me why a rider would choose to do so? Many car drivers struggle to notice larger and more obvious things like, em, other cars and trucks. So why would you choose to reduce your already small visual profile on purpose.

    New bikes all come with lights auto on I assume (?) so I guess its mostly the older ones. But is this a deliberate choice, simply forgetting to switch them on (bad habit much like leaving indicators on for ages after turning), or issues with batteries running flat if switch is left on, or what?

    Genuinely interested to hear from anyone on the forum that rides with lights off as to why they do it.

    I prefer to be lit up like a Christmas tree lol.
    • BS BS x 1
  2. Why do you think a headlight will make any difference in broad daylight? And one of the reasons I don't is that people struggle to judge motorcycles speed and distance, imo a headlight makes it even harder for them.
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  3. #3 chillibutton, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014
    IMO a light, even in bright daylight, is far easier for people to notice than no light on - bike profile is narrow and regularly overlooked, just like pushbikes. I'd rather they noticed me and then concentrated on my distance and speed than not notice me at all.

    Adding to that, if you're into lane filtering etc, then a light in the rearview mirror of a car is also far more noticeable than not.
    • Agree Agree x 5
  4. You can argue all day re the pros and cons of lights on or off. I'm on the side of lights on personally but it's an individual choice on bikes without auto lights and I'm not going to tell someone to turn their lights on.
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  5. Louder exhausts will help you more when you lane split, when I ride my ninja 300 nobody notices me. When I get out on the striple its like Moses and the Red Sea.

    Then again one bike is average and the other is pure awesomeness.
  6. You need a Leo Vince Corsa exhaust on your Ninja then. My wife has one and it transforms the little puppy into a snarly mongrol. Sounds great!
  7. see and be seen
    • Agree Agree x 2
  8. Most of my early riding was done without lights permanently on, largely because most of my bikes lacked an electrical system which could cope with the constant drain. I only started riding lights on because I later got into old Suzukis which need all the help they can get in bleeding off a few Watts to keep the rec/reg a bit cooler.

    More recently, most of my bikes have been auto lights on.

    TBH I have never noticed a whit of difference in SMIDSY type incidents in conditions of decent visibility between lights on or lights off. I prefer to have the choice, but don't feel sufficiently strongly about the matter.

    IMHO there are three types of SMIDSYing drivers. Some don't look, some don't see and some don't care. Having your headlamp on will only affect one of those three and may be detrimental in a possible fourth type; those who look and see but misjudge speed and distance.

    Doesn't matter anyway. If you routinely ride so that it matters whether anyone sees you or not you're going to get cleaned up sooner or later.
    • Agree Agree x 4
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  9. #9 b12mick, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014
    The legal requirement (ADR) for having lights on automatically was removed some years ago as it was shown to make no significant difference.

    I'm sure someone with more time and inclination will find you the details.

    As for why I'd choose to ride without lights on, well for the same reason I won't wear hi viz, the benefits are miniscule.

    But you have to remember that I don't always wear all the gear either.

    In order to see, first they have to look - lights on or wearing fluro doesn't help with people who don't look and those that do look will see us anyway.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. Yes I hear you, my view is that I'm trying to attract the attention of those that don't look as best as I can, and bright twinkly things would have more chance IMO.
  11. Doesn't always work for Ambulances, Fire Trucks or Police Cars so I doubt it'll help you.

    You are much much better off learning some good roadcraft skills, including buffering, lane positioning and also how to 'read' what a driver is potentially going to do - it is possible.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  12. During daylight, you will see all sorts of bright reflections on the road from shiny objects.

    If people aren't going to look, you could be towing the times sqaure xmas tree and they would still pull out.

    Ambulances and Fire trucks get SMIDSY'd as well.
  13. LOL re emergency vehicles. Yup, I guess its hard to distract somebody who is in the middle of an important text/phone call/doof doof earphones while driving.

    Re roadcraft - agree - had 15+ yrs riding and still (hopefully) improving. Certainly don't seem to crash as often as I did back in Uni...
  14. Likewise - people don't realise that you can actually tell someone is going to do something stupid.

    I've given this example before, but when I was out with my teenage son doing some driving lessons we were coming up to an T intersection with us on the through road. A car was pulling up to the T intersection, I said to Brett (my boy) just slow down a tad, he asked why, I said just do it. He did slow down and sure enough old mate didn't giveway just pulled out in front of us. Had Brett not slowed down he would have T boned old mate.

    Brett asked how I knew he was going to do that and quite honestly I don't know. Maybe it was how he did or didn't look, maybe it was that the car wasn't slowing as much as I thought it should, maybe the car rose at the front indicating acceleration. Maybe it was combination of things - I don't know.
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  15. Yup I hear you and now will digress. What bike do you suggest for towing the TS Xmas tree. V-max maybe?
  16. Rocket 3, there's no substitute for cubic inches.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. #17 chillibutton, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014
    Riders/drivers instinct that is, some have it in spades and others seemed to have missed out completely. See it every single bloody day - "why couldn't that guy/girl see that xyz was about to happen...?" I guess riders tend to have more of it as we're more likely to end up broken from a hit on a bike...

    Huh - had to Google that one. 2.3L, wow.
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  18. Been posted before but it is a good UK Bike safety ad and is apropos:

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  19. #19 korbail, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2014
    this is just another oil thread which is a loud pipes saves lives thread which is another ride with high beams on thread which is another high vis vests will always be seen and save your life thread
  20. JustusJustus might also have view on the lights. I don't get a choice re lights on my new Ninja- but I can sethat if you don't automatically kill them once you turn off would be a bummer re a battery.
    But I did chuck a yoshimura pipe on her and woohoo I think she sounds verrry hot now and you can hear me coming from miles away- I do especailly enjoy a tunnel or bridge overpass now- the smile I get must make people wonder what on earth I am doing...:troll:
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