Thursday 27 November 2008

Busted !

My youngest daughter was stopped by the police this morning. She set off with working lights, but half way to school when she passed the bike light patrol they were not working. She was stopped and given a €10 fine to pay.

Contributions gratefully accepted...

Here is proof that once-upon-a-time she must have had working lights. Her bike, like all the children's bikes, was inspected by the police at primary school last year. The sticker was given for bikes which passed all the tests, including having working lights.

In this case, the dynamo setup had gone wrong before and of course I'd not been told about it. It was a simple fix, as is usually the case.

If you need high quality lights to avoid getting a fine yourself, then we can supply them.


l' homme au velo said...

it usually is only the Bulb on most occasions.This happened on the Brompton once and I was going around with a Spare Light for the Handlebars for awhile until I eventually Changedit. I borrowed a Bulb from a German Bike Lamp that I was having trouble with,which had the same Bulb type and it worked no problem. Or maybe the Wire is Stripped from the Light to the Dynamo ,so a bit of Insulating Tape to fix it maybe. It will save a few €uro instead of bringing it to a Bike Shop,check it out.The same thing Happened to me on my way Home after it got Dark and the Light Failed Years ago when a Teenager on my Raleigh Triumph Three Speed. I was stopped by the Garda Siochana and got a Lecture from them but no Fine. The Police do not seem to care very much anymore about stopping anybody in Dublin for having no Lights on Bicycles. I never see them Stopping Cyclists for no Lights. I see People with Dark Clothes, Dark Bikes and no Lights every Day on the Streets sometimes on Dark Streets with either no Lights or Badly Lit Areas.

Anonymous said...

Light bulbs are extremely outdated. Their brightness in comparison to current high-performance LEDs is a joke.

David Hembrow said...

It turned out to be an earthing problem. I've rewired the set and it works well now. The thing is that this bike does a lot. It's a 7 km round trip to school, and she also rides to all sorts of other places, so the km add up and of course the bike is ridden in all weathers.

I'm glad they enforce the lighting requirement here, but actually think having lights is rather over-rated as a safety measure. After all, you wrote that you "see people with dark clothes, dark bikes" etc. Lights are a secondary safety measure, not a primary one. It is safe to cycle here at night not because of bicycle lights but because you are not in the way of cars.

As for efficiency of LEDs vs. bulbs, it's really not an issue. The brightness of either is adequate.

Battery powered lights are hopeless, though. You have to remember to replace batteries. You also need to remember to switch them off when you park your bike so that the batteries don't run down and leave you in the dark again on your next journey. Removeable lights are also hopeless. They can be stolen too easily if left on the bike.

Children need something reliable for everyday use. That means dynamos and lights bolted onto the frame.

Anonymous said...

Hi David

I agree that lights are secondary in terms of being seen, but not in terms of seeing hazards. I currently have a B&M Topal dynamo light, which is perfectly adequate for being seen, but useless for picking out potholes or other hazards. Had not proven to be incapable of sticking to their dispatch estimates, I'd currently have a 60 lux B&M IQ Cyo. Hopefully dotbike will have one with me next week.

Still, I suspect the cycle paths your daughter uses are sufficiently well maintained for it to be a non-issue.

Anonymous said...

Over here in Ireland you really need decent Lighting in order to avoid Pootholes, Manhole covers and Lumps and Bumps in the Roads. Even in the City the Street Lights can be bad sometimes especially away from the main thoroughfares. If you leave the City there are no Lights at all.So Lights are a double function,to show other users where you are as well as to Light your way.A lot of People use HI VIZ Vests and Fluorescent Sam Brown Belts at Night Time. This is not the Netherlands,we are playing catch up time at a Snails Pace.

David Hembrow said...

Yes, conditions do vary. I used to always wear a sam brown belt when cycling at night in the UK, and some years back I published a design for an extra bright bike light because I was having problems seeing where I was going too.

However, here there are nearly always lights on the cycle paths in the countryside, if not on all the roads, and the surface is generally excellent.

Even if you're not away from cars on a cycle path, speed limits are in any case somewhat lower and drivers seem to have a bit more of a clue around cyclists.

Bob said...

I use a dynamo that is driven by the spokes. I don't know the name in english, but here is a german description with a picture:
It can be fitted on to a normal bike as opposed to a dynamo front hub (if that is the correct wording), for which you need a different wheel and lights.
It has the same advantages as the hub dynamo: no drag, not even when it's raining or snowing. Plus there is no energy-loss when it is switched off. I have it for two years now and not once did I have to change the light bulbs.

2whls3spds said...

Sorry your daughter got "Busted"...does the fine come out of her allowance or does Dad foot the bill? ;-)


Multiparty Democracy Today said...

2whls3spds Because the light system failed, not the daughter (whatever that would mean) and she had no lights to use instead, she is also pretty young at the time this happened (2008), I think her dad (David) would have to foot the ticket. I don't even know if those under whatever the age of criminal responsibility is in the Netherlands is able to procedural get a ticket. Must have been a surprise when she told you about the ticket. I hope the police officer could communicate what the fine was for.