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Spotlight on Lighting.

The safety of motorcycle users is being ignored in the latest round of changes to vehicle lighting regulations, say the British Motorcyclists Federation.

The 140,000 strong BMF, Britain’s most influential rider group, say that while motorcycles are now being equipped with hard-wired automatic headlight on (AHO) systems, changes to European vehicle lighting regulation UN-ECE Regulation 48 now require that any car fitted with day-time running lights (DRLs) must be fitted with a driver operated deactivation switch and secondly that rear lights (tail) lights need no longer operate with DRLs.

Writing to both the Department for Transport (DfT) and the European Commission, the BMF have called for parity of treatment, pointing out the anomaly that motorcycle manufactures have arbitrarily decided that all new motorcycles from this year on will be equipped with AHO systems with NO rider deactivation switch.

The BMF have also pointed out that the motorcycle AHO system is flawed in that no research has proven the benefits of such a system. To the contrary say the BMF, the glare from a headlight can actually cause accidents through the misjudgement by others of approaching speed and further, due to the movement of a motorcycle headlamp over rough surfaces, actually be confused with a headlight flash signal.

Bearing this out, the BMF say that lower wattage lamps and purpose-designed lenses are now being trialled on cars because experiments have found that high wattage headlamps and concentrated beam patterns (as also fitted on motorcycles) are not suited for DRL purposes.

Commenting, BMF spokesman Jeff Stone said: “Once again the motorcyclist is the poor relation of road users. The car driver is given the choice; the motorcyclist has had it taken away. The manufacturers have acted in a high-handed fashion. The case is not proven; we want freedom of choice and we want our switches back!”


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