1. #1
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    Question Colored lights on a motorcycle... Legal??

    Ok so a similar question has been asked on here before but I need clarification =) are vehicle codes the same when referring to a motorcycle??? For example... Section 24400 of the California Vehicle Code states that

    Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated during darkness, the driver shall use a distribution of light or composite beam, directed high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following requirements and limitations:
    (a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, he shall use a distribution of light or composite beam so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the oncoming driver.
    The lowermost distribution of light specified in this article shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times regardless of road contour.
    (b) Whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within 300 feet to the rear, he shall use the lowermost distribution of light specified in this article.


    But it says clearly in the DMV handbook that a motorcycle can be driven all the time with its high beam on. Night or day. They actually recommend it.

    Now for my real question. And it has to do with “illegal” lighting. I am going to be buying a motorcycle with L.E.D bars on it; it was a show bike, now I was wondering if I could get the ok to use them in night situations to be seen by other vehicles. Like another light per say. Or better yet a “can you see me now Mr. Man on your cell phone not paying any attention?” light.

    Now Section 24255 states…

    24255. (a) A vehicle may be equipped with a system to supplement the driver’s visibility of the roadway to the front or rear of the vehicle during darkness. This system may incorporate an illuminating device that emits radiation predominantly in the infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum and a display monitor to provide an image visible to the driver of the vehicle. The system, or any portion of it, shall not obstruct the vision of the driver, and shall not emit any glaring light visible in any direction or to any person. The illuminating device may be mounted inside the vehicle, if it is constructed and mounted so as to prevent any direct or reflected light, other than a monitorial indicator emitted from the device, from being visible to the driver.
    (b) The system shall be operated only with the headlamps lighted. An illuminating device for the system shall be interlocked with the headlamp switch so that it is operable only when the headlamps are lighted.
    (c) (1) No part of the illuminating device may be physically or optically combined with any other required or permitted lighting device.
    (2) The illuminating device may be installed within a housing containing other required or permitted lighting devices, if the function of the other devices is not impaired thereby.


    So……… do my lights count?? I’m still confused about what a radiation predominantly light is though. I’m not trying to be an jerk and get away with something, I just want to be safe when I ride and have people be able to see me. The bike is black and the night is black and black on black don’t mix very well while trying to be seen. I have a reflective jacket and a stripe on my helmet but you know it just doesn’t seem like enough.


    They're orange not red. Pictures taken on a cellphone.

  2. #2
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    The Code of Alabama Title 32-Motor Vehicles&Traffic has provisions virtually identical to the CVC. Additional lighting is governed in the code. To keep it simple, Alabama prohibits red/blue lights on a civilian motorcycle.

  3. #3
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    So if i understand you right.... i could have like a white light? or like any other color besides red and blue? red and blue was pretty much a give in about not putting in on. but i wasnt REALLY 100% sure of the moto law. i know that i have gotten a fix it ticket for my scion and it was an orange light too.




    but other than the fact that i was driving a BIG billboard saying "please mr officer pull me over!!!" i understood about the car vehicle code.

    if anyone can tell me if it IS illegal in CA or not please let me know. and if i have to i would change the color to white as to not push anything.

  4. #4
    An Obvious problem
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    "emits radiation predominantly in the infrared region "


    This refers to the system in I think it's Cadillacs that use an infared light source and interior monitor to supplement your night vision. Infared light is not in the visible spectrum of the human eye.
    Today's Quote:

    "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
    Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Retired Sergeant - CHP
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    Accent lights are unlawful in CA!

    The "Motorcylce Driver's Handbook" for the State of California states what you have written; except, it was a misprint and is supposed to read as follows:

    Headlight

    The best way to help others see your motorcycle is to always keep the headlight on. Studies show that during the day, a motorcycle with its light on is twice as likely to be noticed. Using your high beam during the day and at night increases the chances that oncoming drivers will see you. Use your high beam WHEN it is legal and safe to do so. When it is foggy, use the low beam.
    The use of a flashing headlamp on a motorcycle is the recommended attention getter and is now legal in CA.

    Motorcycles: Headlamp Flasher

    25251.2. Any motorcycle may be equipped with a means of modulating the upper beam of the headlamp between a high and a lower brightness at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlamps shall not be so modulated during darkness.

    Added Ch. 35, Stats. 1980. Effective March 7, 1980.
    The law requires the high beam headlamp be placed to a low beam when other vehicles are approaching.

    This is the section you should be concerned with:

    Vehicle With Unlawful Lamps

    24003. No vehicle shall be equipped with any lamp or illuminating device not required or permitted in this code, nor shall any lamp or illuminating device be mounted inside a vehicle unless specifically permitted by this code. This section does not apply to:

    (a) Interior lamps such as door, brake and instrument lamps, and map, dash, and dome lamps designed and used for the purpose of illuminating the interior of the vehicle.

    (b) Lamps needed in the operation or utilization of those vehicles mentioned in Section 25801, or vehicles used by public utilities in the repair or maintenance of their service, or used only for the illumination of cargo space of a vehicle while loading or unloading.

    (c) Warning lamps mounted inside an authorized emergency vehicle and meeting requirements established by the department.

    Amended Ch. 723, Stats. 1979. Effective January 1, 1980.
    Section 24255 refers to an INRA-RED, supplemental visual/lighting system. It is not, as you have depicted, having "RED" lights illuminating the ground around your vehicle.

    You cannot stretch the law, in the name of safety, to trick out your motorcycle. Sorry!

    You are permitted to operate your vehicle with headlamp(s), tail lamp(s), brake light(s), low intensity white or yellow forward running lamps, low intensity RED lamps to the rear; and, turn signal lamps.

    You are not permitted to operate with any type of under-vehicle, under-fender accent lamps or under-vehicle roadway illuminating devices, while the vehicle is being operated over, across or upon a roadway or highway.

    Nothing above will preclude your use of those types of lighting when your vehicle is static and on display.
    Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence!

    [George Washington (1732 - 1799)]


  6. #6
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    Thank you SgtCHP thats the answer i was looking for. And i didnt know that the DMV handbook was a misprint... you think that they would have made new copies for 09 if it was mistaken. you have been a big help thanks again.

  7. #7
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    Those would be illegal in Colorado, on a public roadway. On private property, they can be lit (car shows).

    It is also a misdemeanor offense in Colorado to possess a red or blue light that displays said light directly to the front of the vehicle.

  8. #8
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    SGTCHP covered it......... dim the highbeam and no extra lights

    Defensive riding and caution will be better than some red neon light for protecting against the idiots on the road.

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