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Last updated

13 December 2010


The anti DRL campaign is supported by the British Motorcyclists Federation (BMF), the Motorcycle Action Group and the Federation of European Motorcyclists Associations (FEMA).  In 2002 they succeeded in uniting EU pedestrian and bicyclist organisations.  Collectively, they prevented the EU vehicle manufacturers association (ACEA) from introducing motorcar daytime running lights see  FEMA press release (62kb pdf).  MAG Belguium have published a Dossier detailing opposition to Daytime Running Lights 


Motorcycle Action Group UK have published an authoritative response which debunks the EC case for DRL

Also see Northern Irelands excellent well researched submission to Ireland's RSA Consultation January 2010 by Write to Ride 


Wow! - I didn't see that biker coming past!

The Times    20 September 2004

Paris: Motorcyclists across France demonstrated against an attempt to get car drivers to turn on headlights during daytime in winter as a safety measure.  Motorcyclists who already turn on their headlights in the day, say they will be harder to distinguish.   See the current state of opposition to DRL in France at


In the USA where DRL are used, we have reports of drivers turning mirrors out of alignment due to constant glare, thus road safety is compromised.  Increasing numbers of SUV 4x4 vehicles with high mounted headlights pose a particular problem.



The UK Highway Code and the Driving Test emphasize that good use of mirrors is an essential safety requirement.  If a car using DRL is filling a driver's mirrors, the intermittent glare is distracting and limits rearward vision past that vehicle. 


DRL are not a solution due in high traffic densities and DRL particularly put motorcyclists at risk due to reduced conspicuity.


Comment from the British Motorcyclists Federation on DRL


Trevor Magner is the British Motorcyclists Federation's professional lobbyist, a practising motorcyclist, scientifically trained and with many years experience in the field of practical technology.  He comments on the use of daytime headlights:


I list some of the reasons why daytime headlight use or day running lights are not a good idea for powered two-wheelers. Neither do I regard them as of value for cars.

Studies of lights on laws have been demonstrated by the BMF's Research Officer, Stephen Prower to have failed to demonstrate a safety benefit. Those that have claimed a fall in accidents have been shown to be flawed, e.g. the reduction in accidents in Scandinavia was due to fewer collisions with elks and in Austria, the fall in accidents was at night.

  • ·        The onus should be put on other road users to look rather than motorcyclists to imitate Christmas trees.

  • ·        Risk compensation - riders with lights on are more likely to assume that the other drivers can see them. They are no substitute for defensive riding.

  • ·        A headlight turns a 3-dimensional motorcycle into a 1-dimensional spot of light making its distance and speed hard to estimate.

  • ·        Going over a bump in the road can give the appearance of flashing the headlight confusing other road users.

  • ·        Daytime lights can obscure turn signals.

  • ·        Daytime lights (from bikes and cars) can obscure pedestrians and cyclists.

  • ·        Road users' search patterns have been shown to be attuned to looking for particular shapes rather than lights.

  • ·        If all motorcycles used daytime lights, other road users would get used to them and 'not see' them again.

  • ·        Positioning on the road is more significant than conspicuity measures used by riders in terms of being seen.

  • ·        The angle from head on at which an illuminated headlight can be observed is severely limited.

  •          Having an illuminated headlight bouncing up and down in your rear view mirror is extremely irritating.

I should add that I ride a motorcycle regularly and do not use my lights unless the conditions warrant it.  Riding with lights on all the time is a form of crying wolf and detracts from their use when they are really needed.  I suggest that the use of daytime lights should be discretionary and that riders and drivers should be educated on when it's best to use them.


Please also see "Answers to six points that are frequently put forward in favour of motorcycle daytime lights" Prower 1996


Motorcycle Action Group - Euro Conspicuity Project Fuels Concern on DRL  November 2000

Concern that bikes aren't visible enough has prompted The European Commission (EC) to launch a research project. This was the subject of a preliminary meeting held on October 12th and organised by ACEM (European Motorcycle Manufacturers' Association). FEMA was present, other participants included experts from a number of research authorities and institutes with motorcycle safety interests. The outline of this project will be to identify what makes motorcycles less conspicuous and how they can be overlooked. When the cause has been identified, potential devices or measures will be proposed and their effects measured with a methodology developed in the same project. The feasibility of implementing such measures will then be assessed in terms of acceptance by the market, reliability and costs. The final step will be to verify the cost-effectiveness of the proposed solutions and assess introduction schemes.

MAG opposes the introduction of mandatory daytime headlight use by motorcyclists on the grounds that such measure reflects a poor understanding of the problem and represents an unfair shift in the onus of responsibility from motorist to rider. MAG believe that the solution to the 'didn't see you' accidents lies in the exercise of greater care by all parties.

MAG Press Officer Ian Mutch: 'We fear that the boffins may be looking at more ways to make names for themselves with costly research and repressive legislation when a little common sense is all that is required.'

MAG Press Office Tel 0208 556 6495 MAG Central 0870 444 8448