Tuesday, 30 July 2013


Hi Damien,

It is disturbing that there is a current campaign (in rural Victoria at least) for all cars to have their headlights on during the day to be more visible. 

This removes the advantage that motorcyclists have by having their lights on. 

Your thoughts?


Paul Edwards,
Yarragon, Vic
'Morning Paul.

Lights-on promotions  come  and go. These  campaigns  demonstrate that
many  road  safety  campaigns   are   based   on  opinion  rather than
scientific fact.  That's too often true when it comes to motorcycles &

There  is  no  evidence  that  having  headlights  on  in bright light
conditions   reduces   collisions.  Australia  has  more  very  bright
conditions than most places with high volumes of vehicle traffic.

VicRoads  had  at  least  two  opportunities to conduct real lights-on

1.  After  we beat the lights-on law/rule for motorcycles &
scooters  on  roadworthy/legal  grounds  the  industry began to import
"hard-wired"  bikes.  So there were crash figures before lights-on for
bikes and after. VicRoads chose to do nothing.

2.  At  the  Road Safety Reference Group at VicRoads it was decided to
get  fleet  operators  to hard wire their vehicles. Telstra was one. I
argued  that  here  was  another opportunity to study before and after
lights-on  to  see if it really did reduce collisions. They could also
work  out  if  hard  wiring  cost  fleet  operators  more in parts and

Having  ridden  in Australian traffic since 1967 I can tell you I ride
most  of  the  time  in  daylight with my headlight off. I had a light
switch put on my Guzzi.

I can also say it's my opinion that since most motorcycles &  scooters
have  their  headlights  on  having  more  cars  travelling,  town  or
country, with lamps blazing will actually serve  to  hide  motorcycles
&  scooters  in traffic. This is probably more dangerous when the bike
is back lit. If there is a long shadow in front of my bike I make sure
my headlight is off.

There has also been concern that it is much harder to judge accurately
the speed and distance of an approaching single-lighted object. But no
research has been done, to my knowledge, on that.

The   only   serious  look  at  lights-on  for  bikes  I  know  of  is
Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Visibility released in

Recommendation  5  states.  "The  Minister  for  Transport advises the
Federal   Government   that   the  light  specifications  included  in
Australian   Design   Rule  19/01  are  inappropriate  for  Australian

Recommendation 6  states.  "The  Minister  for Transport amend the Road
Safety  (Vehicles)  regulations 1988 to exclude Australian Design Rule
19/01  from  roadworthiness requirements for motorcycles registered in

Recommendation 7 states. "The use of daytime running lights for
motorcycles remains voluntary."

Again,  in  my  opinion, motorcycle & scooter riders on their bikes in
areas where there is an active campaign to have car drivers turn their
headlights on in bright sunshine need to be extra vigilant.

"Sorry  mate.  I  did  not  see  you" is a car driver's  admission  of
negligence or incompetence or both.

Can I put this on the blog and facebook pages? I can remove your ID if
you wish.


Thanks Damien for your comprehensive reply. 

For the record, I've left phone messages with

. David Healy, Vice Pres of Australasian College of Road Safety

. Jessica Trong, TAC

. Ted Moulder, Minister for Transport

None have returned my messages

I also rang the Dept of the Premier. Didn't make it past the switchboard. They told me to ring Ted Mulder. 

Of course you can add it to your blog & FB. No need to remove my ID. 

Cheers , 


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