The Chainlink

With all this chitter chatter about lighting, I keep wondering....

I have no use whatsoever for any kind of lighting attached to any of my bikes.

In a "legal" situation would helmet lights be considered adequate?

Would be especially great if the legal types on the forum could weigh in.

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Can't look at the statute today, but if no other legal type gets back to you, I will have a look tomorrow to see what it says.

The Statute requires the bicycle to be equipped with the light. No mention of the rider. I believe the helmet light is not a substitute for the statutory requirement.

(625 ILCS 5/11-1507) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-1507) 
    Sec. 11-1507. Lamps and other equipment on bicycles. 
    (a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

Thanks for asking. Very interesting, I hadn't considered this and have just switched to a headlamp. I find it more effective as it shines where I look without any additional effort on my part. 

Interesting.  I'm ok on the headlight but I'm missing a separate rear red reflector, even though I've got a red taillight.
 
Kevin C said:

A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

I thought the same thing. I use a 5-LED rear blinky but have no rear red reflector (hereinafter referred to as "RRR").

Thunder Snow said:

Interesting.  I'm ok on the headlight but I'm missing a separate rear red reflector, even though I've got a red taillight.
 
Kevin C said:

A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

Do they satisfy the letter of the law?  No, but so what...  

I guess I want to know what you concern is.  Could you get a ticket?  Yeah, I guess so, but you and I both know that you probably won't.

What if you get hit by a car and bring a claim or lawsuit; could the driver claim that you were contributorily negligent because your setup did not satisfy the letter of the law?  In Illinois a jury in a personal injury case is asked to consider the negligence of both the defendant (driver) and the plaintiff (cyclist).  If the plaintiff was negligent along with the defendant then his or her compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault.  If the plaintiff is more than 50% responsible for causing their injuries then he or she gets nothing.  Here's the thing though, like the plaintiff, the defendant most show that not only was the other party negligent but that their negligence caused the injuries.  That causation element is key in your hypothetical.  So, if the cyclist violated the letter of the law by not having a light and reflector on his or her bike but had bright lights on their helmet that the offending driver could and should have seen then the driver's defense will fail.

Don't worry about violating the "letter" of the law.  Just worry about being visible at night.  Have a bright white light on your front somewhere and a bright red light on your rear somewhere and you'll be fine.

Don't worry about violating the "letter" of the law.  Just worry about being visible at night.  Have a bright white light on your front somewhere and a bright red light on your rear somewhere and you'll be fine.

Amen to this.  Another query for the group mind: has any of us ever gotten a ticket for not having lights and/or reflectors?  Or a ticket for anything?  Most Chicago-area cops don't bother.

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