Tag Archives: cycling lights london law

Cycle Lighting.. according to English Law

According to the Regulations:

  • You need a front lamp. It should be on the centre-line or off side of the vehicle and aligned to and visible from the front. It should be not more than 1500 mm above the ground. It should be white (or yellow if it is incorporated in a headlamp which is capable of emitting only a yellow light). It should be marked with a British Standard Mark namely “BS 6102/3” (or its equivalent).
  • You need a rear lamp which should also be on the centre-line or off side of the vehicle aligned to and visible from the rear. It should also be not more than 1500 mm and not less than 350mm above the ground. It should have an angle of visibility 80O to the left and to the right and it should be red. It should be marked either with the British Standards Institution 3648:1963 or “BS 6102/3”.
  • You also need a rear reflector complying with the appropriate British Standard Mark between 350mm and 900 mm from the ground. New bikes will invariably be fitted with one: you wouldn’t take it off but it is unlikely to be your main line of defence.
  • Finally, you need two amber reflectors on each pedal complying with BS6102/2. Once again, you would not necessarily remove these from your pedal. They appear to be the least visible or useful of all lighting devices but if one breaks, as they invariably do, given their position, you should replace it in order to remain within the law.In addition to the illegality of flashing lights, there are a number of other relevant restrictions:
    • There is a prohibition on lights which move. So you cannot attach a light (other than a reflector) to pedals or wheels.
    • No lamp should be used so as to cause undue dazzle or discomfort to any persons using the road. Views will of course differ but the attentions of an enthusiastic policeman may be avoided if the angle of an intense front light is dipped slightly.
    • The other surprising technicality is that modern LED lights arguably do not comply with the relevant British Standard. The standard has been amended to cover LED lights but because of the way the standard is referred to in the Regulations, they arguably remain illegal. To comply strictly with the law, you must use an old fashioned, less efficient filament bulb as your main light and the powerful, highly visible LED light as a somewhat artificial “back-up”.


The above comes from the Cyclist Defence Fund….


Reading the small print, it means I must have a BS standard front light .. because that complies with the law, not strictly the LED ones. Great I have a LED one..  I ought to check my bicycle for pedal reflectors too… I don’t really pay attention to those. The thing is, what is the point having piddly pedal reflectors when you have a proper Hi Viz vest.. what is better???!