Monday, November 2, 2015

Illinois Law Requires A Bike Light - Daylight Savings Time Is A Reminder To Get One If You Don't Have One

Daylight Savings time is in effect again and until the Winter Solstice on December 22nd the days will get continually shorter. Even after the solstice it is many weeks before we get out of long nights and commutes home will again be in daylight. 

Lights Are Important

There is no way around the fact that Illinois bicyclists who commute to work via their bikes will be riding home in the dark. Because of this bike lights are critically important for all bicyclists. A headlight in particular provides the rider greater visibility and makes you more visible to motorists. A simple set of bike lights can categorically affect the risk of getting injured in a bicycle accident. Thinking "well, there's streetlights, I'll be ok" is an unreasonable and unnecessary risk. It is also illegal. 

Illinois Law Requires Lights And Reflectors

Lights for bicyclists riding at nighttime are required by Illinois law. According Section 11-1507 of the Illinois Rules of the Road, bicyclists 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. A rear red light may also be used.
The fact that the law says that a bicyclist may use a rear red light in addition to a rear reflector is probably just due to some less than precise legal drafting. The bottom line is a red reflector AND a rear red light are better than a reflector alone. This is why the Illinois Bicycle Lawyers strongly recommend that all bicyclists use a rear red light in addition to a red reflector and a bright light in the front. 

Jason Jenkins of the Active Transportation Alliance has put together a very helpful and informative short video on bike lights and what a difference they can make. Jason's advice regarding buying the most durable and bright light you can afford is solid advice. No one wants unnecessary expenses, but bike lights can make the difference between getting in a bike crash and getting home safely. 

Illinois Bike Law Attorneys

Keating Law Offices is the premiere personal injury law firm representing victims of bicycle accidents in Illinois. The firm is based in Chicago, Illinois and represents clients throughout Illinois. If you have any questions regarding this post or have a question regarding personal injury law, please contact Illinois Bicycle Attorney Mike Keating at 312-239-6787 (Office) or 312-208-7702 (Nights/Weekends). Our staff and operators are available around the clock. You can also email 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All e-mails and phone calls are returned promptly. All initial consultations are confidential and free.