Light on legislation on bicycle lighting

The bike is a vehicle like any other. In this, it must be taken into consideration by the various road users. Moreover, for everyone to move in harmony, everyone must respect the rules of conduct imposed on him. The visibility of the cyclist is essential for his or her safety and that of others. This is why rules on bicycle lighting have been put in place. Take note of the necessary cycling equipment.

Light on legislation on bicycle lighting
Light on legislation on bicycle lighting

Compulsory cycling equipment

The cyclist must have:

  • A headlight white or yellow and a rear light red
  • A white or yellow front reflector and a red rear reflector
  • Reflectors visible laterally (reflectors that attach to the spokes of your wheels, or tires with reflective sides)
  • Pedal reflectors
  • If your bike tow a trailer, it must be equipped with a retro-reflector (or several) on each side if its width exceeds 1,30m. For more visibility, trailer rear lights would not be too much.

Indeed, according to the Highway Code in force, at night or when visibility is insufficient (fog, tunnel), to cycle, you must have full bike lighting.

The essential thing being to be seen, if your bike is well lit, there is little risk that a policeman is looking for you noises. However, in theory, this could happen!

A poorly lit cyclist is not visible enough to travel at night in safety, even if the public lighting or the moonlight is enough to advance. You see the street and the cars, but the motorists will not see you in time if you are not adequately equipped. You are therefore strongly encouraged to invest in quality lighting!

The mandatory retro-reflective vest

Moreover, it should be known that since 30 July 2008, a decree has made the wearing of a retro-reflective waistcoat necessary by bicycle, at night, outside agglomeration. The mandatory wear of the fluorescent vest is not unanimous! Indeed, it is not very suitable for cyclists wearing a rain cape or a backpack. Neither for those who have a child seat on the rear rack or a recumbent bike.

Also, the same level of safety can be guaranteed with reflective strips on your bike and saddlebags or with the use of equipment already equipped with reflectors. The advantage of providing the bike directly rather than the cyclist is that you will not forget the reflective accessory at home!

The quality and power of lighting

A bike must be sold with regulatory light. The sale of a light-free bicycle is an offense that can be reported to the DGCCRF.

However, the Highway Traffic Act does not provide any information on the lighting power or the power supply. The industry standards for the Cycles sector provide that the supply voltage is 6 V and the electrical energy is at least 3 W. However since the efficiency is not specified, illumination may well be acceptable and insufficient. Also, bicycle lights are not subject to any wear test, or no corrosion resistance standard.

The Code only states that the bicycle lighting should not be dazzling. You can compensate for the weakness of your current light by equipping yourself (you, your bike or saddlebags) with reflective accessories.

German standards, which are more severe and more pragmatic, require an illumination of at least 10 lux at 10 m. Only a minority of lighting marketed in France reaches this level (on the site you will find a broad range of high-quality lights with high light power).

In another genre, the Monkey Light lighting allows you to be visible at night by bike by setting you apart from the regular cyclist.


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