'Rabbit caught in the HEADLIGHTS'

Biker on his motorcycle

Motorcycle transport is commonly the most dangerous mode of travel whether you ride during good weather, bad weather, night or day. This has been recognised by the EU who has suggested a number of measures to combat the dangers. All too often here at Digby Brown we hear that a motorist’s defence to causing an accident is they “didn’t see the bike”.

One of the various measures introduced in recent years is Daytime Running Lights (DRL). These are generally low beam headlights that come on automatically with the turn of the ignition. This specific measure falls under the “Crash Avoidance Measures” to improve road safety Europe wide. Its objective is to reduce the number of crashes by making it easier to see motorcycles in traffic. Such measure is already compulsory in many EU member states: Germany, France and Spain to name but a few. The member state can enforce the measure by ensuring manufacturers of motorcycles fit DRL in all motorcycles manufactured from February 2011. Some take the measure further by requiring action on the part of users to switch on headlamps.

Here, in the UK, DRL is not compulsory…yet! Currently, Rule 86 of The Highway Code advises, “Dipped headlights, even in good daylight, may also make you more conspicuous”. However, in saying this, most manufactures both in the UK and elsewhere, voluntarily opt for an Automatic Headlight On (AHO) system to be installed as an alternative. Both DRL and AHO offer automatic function but vary in operation and results.

Research carried out in member states who do enforce this measure has shown the use of daytime running lights by motorised two-wheelers has reduced visibility-related crashes by between 10% and 16%. Motorcyclists who use daytime running lights have a crash rate that is about 10% lower than that of motorcyclists who do not.

It seems whether you ride a newer model of motorbike or not, having your headlight on in all lighting and weather conditions helps support “Bikes are there to be seen”. Of course, high visibility clothing assists also!