Legality of flashing LEDs


Senior Member
Worcs, UK
This letter has appeared in my local paper this week. I'm fairly certain they're talking b0||0cks, but are there any confirmed sources you know of to put them straight?

"inadequate flashing LED' lights. These lights' that many people buy are not sufficient to do the job. Lights are meant to be permanently on, so these tiny flashing lights are very hard to see. The front white ones can often dazzle, whilst the tiny rear lights do not help the cyclists to be seen from behind."


Über Member
The author seems to be most concerned that cyclists are sufficiently lit up at night rather than making the point that flashing LEDs are illegal. A good point, some are rather pathetic, especially once the batteries start to go. In the car it is sometimes hard to see them until you are right up their arse.
Unusually I agree with Dom here. ;) There are a lot of people that ride around with lights that are totally inadequate. I especially hate the trend in people having little yellowish flashers on the front of the bike. At night it is hard to distinguish these from reflections of off windows, cars etc. If anything I think they serve to camouflage the cyclist.

If you can afford a bike, you can afford some decent lights!!


I have one steady (that smart falsh one) and one blinky (the ten led cateye one) on the back, theory is the blinky is eye catching and the steady allows judgement of distance

the small blinky ones are not good enough imho

and yes, of those that have lights, far too many have tiny and dim ones

no excuse any more, good lights are so cheap and last so long on a set of batteries


Front lights too bright?! Cagers worried about being dazzled. :biggrin: Pots and kettles.

Yes many LEDs are not legal and or insiginfiicant. However it is perfectly possible to have legal flashing LEDs as stated above.

There is no doubt in my anecdotal experiance that a bright flasher is better in getting you noticed than an equally bright static light. But Either have to be sufficiently bright.

Don't stint the batteries. When they start dimming swop them out for fully charged ones. Re-use the partials in your radio, re-charge them whatever you like, but keep your bike lights bright! Is an extra couple of pence worth your life?


too many cyclists have their front light badly aligned, they're not supposed to be pointed at drivers eyes, some of those really bright lights are dangerous if used like that

they seem to think oncoming traffic flashing their lights is some sort of sign of success


New Member
"I am not anti-cyclist as I have cycled to work myself"

Come on, stupid! Wobbling about on 'Cycle to Work Day' once in 10 years is not cycling to work! :biggrin::biggrin:


Legendary Member
"Lights are meant to be permanently on" Um...sez who? Lights are meant either to let you see ahead or - as in the case of purely urban cyclists like me - to make sure you're seen. In my view - and experience - for being seen, a good flasher beats a good steady any day of the week. (And your batteries last ten times as long - which is one of the reasons Police cyclists almost always use 'em.)


Well-Known Member
It is against the law to cycle in the dark without lights. The reason being is so that someone like myself will not have to feel guilty when they have run you over.

Yes, it's all about motorists' guilt isn't it?


As I understand it, prior to 2005 lights were required to be constant rather than flashing, but the law was changed.
Department for Transport said:
The use of lighting and reflectors on pedal bicycles is regulated under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. The most recent amendment is Statutory Instrument SI 2005 No. 2559 which came into force on October 23rd 2005.
The main effect of the new Regulations was to permit flashing lights on pedal cycles. The flashing lights do however have to conform to certain requirements which are elaborated below.


I go for belt and braces technique. I have a steady bright red light mounted on my rack bag, a flashing LED mounted below the rack (got it in Poundland - guess what it cost) on the rear wheel I'de got an Every Ready red light which clamps to the spokes (Poundland....) Up front a bright white lamp and a flashing yellow LED (Poundland), then I put on my high viz Yellow Jacket. Occasionaly low flying aircraft think I'm showing the approach to Prestwick Airport.


It's a rare night I don't get passed by at least three police cars on the way home. I've had flashing lights on the bike all that time and never been pulled once.

The town on my route has an evening fair twice a year and I have to ask the police who man the road blocks at each end if I can pass through. The last twice I've been complimented on my lights - which are flashing away like mad.

The past two years the Berks, Beds and Bucks police have had a blitz on unlit cyclists - I wasn't pulled.


flashing lights are now legal, this has been done so many times

some nonsense about them being capable of a steady light, lord knows why
Top Bottom