Saturday, November 13, 2010

Open Letter to the Person Who Stole My New Bike Headlight

Dear Bicycle-Light-Thief,
I wanted to write to you regarding your theft of the headlight off my fixed-gear commuter bike on the evening of November 11th. Unfortunately, I left my key for my u-lock at the office and therefore was unable to unlock my bike for the ride home from the train that evening. Fortunately for you this gave you an opportunity to acquire a brand new bike headlight.
Originally I was mad that the light was stolen, but then I realized that perhaps you needed a light and were unable to afford one. Perhaps you were like the character Jean Valjean in Les Miserables and stealing was an amoral necessity. And like the literary hero who stole bread to feed his family you stole a headlight so that you could ride safely at night.
Most importantly, your new headlight (which has a brand new battery in it, by the way) ironically allows you to abide by the law. Bicyclists riding at nighttime in Illinois must have the following on their bikes*:
  1. A lamp on the front that emits a white light that can be seen for 500 feet; and
  2. A red reflector visible from 100 to 600 feet by a car with its headlights on. 
I sincerely hope you put the headlight to good use and it keeps you safe. And hopefully the next time you need a piece of equipment that helps you ride legally and at less of a risk for getting injured you just ask me, I'd be happy to help you out. Ride safe.

                                                                                    Mike Keating
                                                                                    The Illinois Bicycle Lawyer
If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Illinois personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or All initial consultations are confidential and free.
  *Section 11-1507 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code (a/k/a "The Rules of the Road) reads as follows:
(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.