Lights and reflectors the legal requirements

Dec 4, 2008
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#1
I understand that a front light and rear reflector are required by law - what colour does the reflector have to be?

I have various white reflective bits - shoes, seat pak, helmet
 

Half-Fast Mike

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May 22, 2007
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#3
what colour does the reflector have to be?
Good question.

An obvious point, perhaps - a front light and rear reflector are required on the road (1) at night, or (2) in a tunnel, or (3) in heavy fog etc. where visibility is less than 50 meters.

Regulations for light/reflector colors may vary by prefecture. For Tokyo:
  • a front light must be white or pale yellow and sufficient to illuminate obstacles 10 meters ahead in the dark*;
  • a rear light must be red and easily visible from 100 meters away;
  • a rear reflector must be red or orange and easily visible from 100 meters away when illuminated by a motor vehicle's high-beam headlights
*So those tiny LED decorations/position-lights don't meet the legal requirement for nighttime riding.

(sauce)
 
Dec 4, 2008
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Tokyo
#4
Mike my reading of the sauce indicates that if you have working rear light, you don't need a reflector. And so all my white reflective bits are superfluous in the eyes of the law, as long as my rear light works. I carry a spare battery in the seat pak and even if some toerag made off with the light you can buy something that will suffice at any 100 yen shop.
 

Half-Fast Mike

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#5
if you have working rear light, you don't need a reflector
I agree with your reading.

I'm sure I read somewhere that reflective clothing, whatever the color, doesn't count anyway, in the eyes of the law. The reflector must be fixed to the bike.

This is one of my favourite jackets. (Not currently available.) I personally feel that more is better when it comes to being seen (rather than smeared) at night. Even so, all my lights and reflective garb didn't save me from being doored by an inattentive taxi last February. Broken ribs are just Mother Nature's way of telling us to slow down a bit...
 
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Karl

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Feb 7, 2011
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#7
The police were out on the road stopping cyclists without reflectors last week. I had my front flasher and rear flasher going so sailed right by. So, anecdotal evidence suggests front and rear blinkers will get you past the spot checks.
 
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TokyoLiving

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#8
Not only the law is important, and it does go without saying best to be clearly seen in both the front and back and side. No use messing around increasing the chances of getting hit. Lights and reflection galore!
 

OreoCookie

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Dec 2, 2017
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#9
No matter what the law says, I think it is just smart to ride with lights as a defensive strategy. I recently bought see.sense smart lights that automatically regulate brightness and lighting patterns to suit the situation. I use them even during the day. That is in addition to all the reflective bits and bobs on my clothes and my backpack.
 
Dec 4, 2008
190
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Tokyo
#10
Dec 4, 2008
190
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Tokyo
#11
Don’t disagree with that. Daylight lights in heavier traffic areas and Shingo junctions ( where someone might be turning across your intended path). Just can’t leave them on all the time, not enough juice.
 

stu_kawagoe

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#12
@pedalist the first jacket looks pretty good. I use a vest thing when I’m out running and it’s okay but doesn’t fit as well as I’d like. I’ve also got one of those obi belt/ekiden style reflective straps that I’ve experimented with on the bike. Again, it’s okay but flaps around a bit, which isn’t ideal.
 

OreoCookie

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#13
Don’t disagree with that. Daylight lights in heavier traffic areas and Shingo junctions ( where someone might be turning across your intended path). Just can’t leave them on all the time, not enough juice.
What do you mean? Of course you can leave them on, my front daylight lights last well in excess of 10 hours, the rear lasts 30-50 % longer. That should be enough for almost anything.
 
Dec 4, 2008
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#14
What do you mean? Of course you can leave them on, my front daylight lights last well in excess of 10 hours, the rear lasts 30-50 % longer. That should be enough for almost anything.
For a while I had that Lezyne 1500xxl ridiculous LED thing and it would run for about 4 hours in economy (4th least bright) at the end of its lifecycle....it subsequently decided not to work after being left outside in a rainstorm....yes the silicon plug was definitely in....could see water droplets inside the lens....technically it is under guarantee but haven't yet returned it. 10hours is the quoted figure for a brand new 1500xxl, but the batteries degrade over time as does the runtime.

Now just using an old 400megadrive that used to sit on my helmet. Only good for a couple of hours in the 3rd least bright setting - which isn't really noticeable in daylight.

I also forgot to mention, when the sun is behind you, especially now when it is low in the sky, daylight lights are worth using.
 

OreoCookie

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#15
I have a Cateye Volt 800, and that thing is great. I rarely use it at its brightest setting as I am a bit paranoid about running out of battery in the boondocks. But the second-brightest setting is usually enough for countryside roads. In principle I could buy a spare battery, but the top is quite scratched, so I might just go for a new light when the time comes.
 

Half-Fast Mike

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#19
Honestly my long term target is a dynamo hub but how much light can I expect from such a setup?
You'll be able to set fire to roadside shrubs, if you wish.

I want to get dynamo, too. Only problem for me is that I have too many bikes, and I know that once I have it on one, I'll want it on them all.

@joewein has the full, rectified and balanced setup for lighting and charging.