Limits on Bicycle Lights in Japan?

sakura

Cruising
May 15, 2009
29
0
11
Tokyo
#1
Hello everyone!

Long time no talk (...err post rather..).

I've been riding a brand new Niterider Pro 1800 LED light(link below) that I bought and brought back from the U.S. recently. The thing is super bright (1800 lumens) and definitely helps me be seen by cars at night.

http://www.niterider.com/pro-1800-led-race-2013/

The reason I went through the trouble to buy the light abroad is that I could not find any bike shops (offline or online) that carry it in Japan. Maybe my online search skills aren't up to par, but it would appear that Niterider is not even distributed in Japan. This is a bit of a surprise considering I've owned previous generations of Niterider's lighting systems and consider it one of the best I've owned. Also since Japan seems to be such a lucrative bicycle market for top-end components/parts, Niterider's absence is a bit strange.

So this brings me to my question. If Niterider is not in Japan, then maybe they can't sell their lights here because they are too bright??? That is to say, are their laws in Japan that limit the brightness of bicycle lights???

I am interested to read your comments.
 

bloaker

Maximum Pace
Nov 14, 2011
1,603
1,326
433
Miura, Japan
#2
I am sure there are laws in the states regarding how bright your lights can be.

I have both Magic Shine 1000 and Magic Shine 1600 Lumin lights.
I used them around Yokohama all the time.
BUT - Always on the lowest setting. I have done some rides that left me on stretches of road in the pitch black... that is where I went full power - however I really did not need it.

I bought my light setup for night time mountain biking back in Virginia not for road riding.

I think how you have your light aimed (not in a drivers face) and how you ride will determine the attention you may or may not receive from the police.
 
May 22, 2007
3,627
1,462
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Kawasaki
halffastcycling.com
#3
So this brings me to my question. If Niterider is not in Japan, then maybe they can't sell their lights here because they are too bright??? That is to say, are their laws in Japan that limit the brightness of bicycle lights???
I think how you have your light aimed (not in a drivers face) and how you ride will determine the attention you may or may not receive from the police.
It's probably a huge hassle (and cost) to get the JIS certification that would be necessary to sell lights like this in Japan, just to try to break into the market.

Bike lights must be white or pale yellow and illuminate the area in front of the rider sufficiently for them to see and avoid obstacles within 10 meters. The light must be pointing forward and downward.​

This is from Tokyo. All municipalities have their own codes which are very similar.

They're assuming that bicycles travel slowly - 10 meters is just one second at 36 kph!

There are no restriction on brightness so long as lights meet the above stipulation, but of course it's an offense to distract a(nother) road user e.g. with lights that are too bright, laser pointers etc.
 

sakura

Cruising
May 15, 2009
29
0
11
Tokyo
#4
Thanks for the response guys…and Happy New Year!

Bloaker--I find I also don’t generally need the highest setting either (it also tends to scare pedestrians/other cyclists—even with it pointed down towards the immediate area in front of my bike).

Half-Fast Mike--Thanks for that quote. I don’t suppose you could provide a link to where you found it? It appears this language could be open to interpretation especially the part, “sufficiently for them to see and avoid obstacles within 10 meters”. As you point out, they assume bikes are traveling slowly, however if I need to “sufficiently avoid obstacles within 10 meters” and I’m traveling at 30kph+ then the light should be sufficiently brighter.

Hmm…you are probably right about the hassle/cost of obtaining JIS certification. Definitely a lot of factors to consider before entering a new market. Not sure where Nite Rider stands on market share in the US, maybe they are still growing their domestic business and not quite ready to break into other markets.

I suppose as long as I’m not obnoxious about using my new light I won’t have any run-ins with an overzealous policeman!!
 

Doug3

Maximum Pace
Jun 24, 2010
720
179
63
Setagaya
www.tokyocyclingcoach.com
#7
Bike lights must be white or pale yellow and illuminate the area in front of the rider sufficiently for them to see and avoid obstacles within 10 meters. The light must be pointing forward and downward.​

....

There are no restriction on brightness so long as lights meet the above stipulation, but of course it's an offense to distract a(nother) road user e.g. with lights that are too bright, laser pointers etc.
If I come back from the mountains after dark along the Tamagawa, it almost never fails that there are 2 or 3 tools riding the other way with very bright lights that are misaligned, nearly blinding me.:mad: And I sit quite high up at 187cm. I have started to develop the habit of drifting over towards them as they approach.:eek:
 
Likes: theBlob

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#8
There is no need for the mega lights, all they do is endanger everyone, as they make blinds spots all over the road. That is very dangerous on Tokyos small back streets.
 
Likes: jessie

microcord

Maximum Pace
Aug 28, 2012
914
294
83
Tokyo
#9
This puzzles me. Can the light source be as intense as a car headlight? If not, and if it's pointing slightly downward (as it's supposed to be), then it might trouble only people (children, people in wheelchairs, etc) whose eyes are below its level though above that of car headlights. (Or something like that -- I'm still caffeine challenged this morning.)

Pardon the slight digression, but what do youse use to have a dynamo charge USB; or more to the point, where did you get it? I've read (e.g. here) about a variety of doodads that will do the job, but I haven't noticed any at Y's and can't find them at Wiggle.
 
Likes: jessie

jessie

Warming-Up
May 11, 2013
10
0
1
30
#10
There is no need for the mega lights, all they do is endanger everyone, as they make blinds spots all over the road. That is very dangerous on Tokyos small back streets.

of course, I never choose high set on the small back streets,:D just the lowest set,only about 300lm(it is ok for people eyes), but the higher brightness was needed if I ride in the dark night on the mountain!:cool:
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
2,453
932
133
Setagaya, Tokyo
joewein.net
#11
It's not just about brightness, but also about reflector shapes and angles.

Regulations are very specific about car headlights and where they may or may not shine how much light. For example, in countries that drive on the left, the right headlamp does not illuminate the road as far ahead as the one on the left (at the edge of the road), so as not to dazzle oncoming traffic in the opposite lane. When you cross the Channel between the UK and France you're supposed to cover part of the headlight with masking tape to make it fit the opposite side of the road. Headlight angles are carefully inspected in garages during safety checks. New cars in the EU have to have level adjustment wheels on the dashboard so avoid irritating oncoming traffic when loading heavy luggage into the boot of the car (which would raise the front).

There aren't any such regulations for bicycle lights in Japan (and if they existed, they probably wouldn't be enforced). I heard Germany has tighter regulations on bike lights, hence there are dynamo light models for the German market and other models for international markets.

The brightest and most dazzling lights I see here are on some mamachari. The emphasis seems to be more on being seen than seeing.
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#12
Always set light to lowest level and point light down on the cycling roads. If someone blinds me, I set to 150lumen strobe WW

For infos, on dynamo hubs search the positivo espresso site or pm David, he reviewed some.
 

Sibreen

Maximum Pace
Jul 23, 2010
566
246
63
Hanno, Saitama
#14
how many brightness bicycle light is fit on road and mountain?:confused::confused::confused:
I cycle at night in the mountains and my nanoshot (single version) is adequately bright at 250lumens.
If there are lots of switchbacks, then the ability to adjust the direction of the light (having a light on your helmet, for example) is immensely useful.
 

jessie

Warming-Up
May 11, 2013
10
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#15
see, the high bright biycycle light I have that have several different fuctions, the lowest one I have ask them , only about 300LM. I think it is good, when I need the high bright at very night, I can choose other lumens.:rolleyes:;)
 

Lynn

Cruising
Jul 9, 2013
11
2
13
28
#16
I bought a bike light with dual distance beam system. It can produce close-in visibility and long-range illumination as well as broad flood beam.I usually choose the floodlight mode with a beam throw reaching deep to 0--2 meters.It works well and won't influence others .
 

jessie

Warming-Up
May 11, 2013
10
0
1
30
#17
I bought a bike light with dual distance beam system. It can produce close-in visibility and long-range illumination as well as broad flood beam.I usually choose the floodlight mode with a beam throw reaching deep to 0--2 meters.It works well and won't influence others .
good, I think a lot of light have floodlight mede now. it is a trend! no one company hope themselves lights will kill people eyes!!! ;);)