Lights Too Bright?

Question

Paul asked: What’s the brightest in lumens my light can be? Just got a one that’s 8000 lumens and it seems to be too bright.

Answer

There is a minimum distance for visibility for required bike lights.

s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations

(7) Every bicycle in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped with a lamp on the front exhibiting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and a lamp and reflector on the rear each exhibiting a red light visible from a distance of 600 feet to the rear. A bicycle or its rider may be equipped with lights or reflectors in addition to those required by this section.

Apparently there is no maximum intensity. Please see these posts, which include the FHP’s comments in response to the same question.

http://flbikelaw.org/2013/11/bright-bicycle-lights/

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/11/bicycle-lights/

Other statutes prescribe lighting requirements, but they are for motor vehicles, not bicycles.

7 comments on “Lights Too Bright?
  1. Phil Leinbach says:

    I came upon another bicycle coming from the opposite direction and the light was so bright I couldn’t tell where the bike was. I just stayed as far right as I could and luckily we didn’t hit. It would have been better it the light was strobbing but that is not legal.

  2. fred says:

    Phil, it’s okay to have flashing lights on a bicycle. That statute was changed in the recent past (more than three years ago!) to allow for red flashing tail lights. The only lights one cannot have on a bicycle are blue, flashing or steady.

  3. Keithmj says:

    If you are worried about it being too bright then sell it and get another one. The best way to do it is aim the light down and to the right so it doesn’t shine in peoples eyes but if it is about the same lumens as a car light then don’t worry about it.
    Safety wise, your safety is more important than anything and if you are riding according to law the vehicles will be behind you and will not shine in their eyes.
    “To that, I’d add the caveat that if it makes you safer, then within reason, go for it. I’d rather be annoying than dead.”

  4. Geo says:

    Fred is correct. FBA initiated legislation that changed the requirements. The required front and rear lights on a bicycle may flash. Additional lights on the bicycle or the rider may be steady or may flash.

    http://flbikelaw.org/2013/02/bicycle-lights-2/

    Also, red lights may not be visible from the front of the vehicle.

    s. 316.2397 – Certain Lights Prohibited; Exceptions
    (1) No person shall drive or move or cause to be moved any vehicle or equipment upon any highway within this state with any lamp or device thereon showing or displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front thereof except for certain vehicles hereinafter provided.
    (2) It is expressly prohibited for any vehicle or equipment, except police vehicles, to show or display blue lights.

  5. Maria Eberle says:

    I’d like to add to your question if I may. I was driving on a divided road at night. A cyclist approached on the right side. He had a steady light on his bike and one on his helmet. The one on his head was bright and his head movement caused me partial blindness. I wasn’t sure if he was on the sidewalk or in the bike lane. My questions is: If a cyclist is riding at night, if they are on the sidewalk why are they not required to ride in the same direction as traffic or are they?? This was a scary incident as I wasnt sure where exactly he was. White lights, to me, indicate approaching traffic. We aren’t in Europe. Approaching traffic should be on my left. I am used to red tail lights on the right. When vehicle traffic is bright and on my left, I dont expect a white flash of light at me on the right. It seems like common sense to me but my husband and I differ. Can anyone help answer this question??

    • Keithmj says:

      If they are in the bike lane most States say you ride the same direction as a vehicle but if on the sidewalk you can ride either direction. They are not a motor vehicle so they can ride on the sidewalk which they don’t have any laws that pertain to direction of travel.
      On a divided road they should travel the same direction but some choose not to due to safety reasons or distance they have to travel.

  6. Geo says:

    Maria,

    When in the roadway bicyclists have the same rights and duties as other drivers concerning direction of travel.

    s. 316.2065 – Bicycle Regulations
    (1) Every person propelling a vehicle by human power has all of the rights and all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle ….

    Unless there is a local ordinance to the contrary, when on a sidewalk they have the same rights and duties as pedestrians and are not required to ride in a particular direction.

    (9) A person propelling a vehicle by human power upon and along a sidewalk, or across a roadway upon and along a crosswalk, has all the rights and duties applicable to a pedestrian under the same circumstances.

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