Riders in one American state can now add a special blue light to their rear brake light which they say increases awareness and avoids rear-end crashes.
The Illinois chapter of motorcycle rights organisation ABATE (American Bikers Aimed Toward Education) has successfully lobbied the state government to introduce the rule from January 1, 2017.
They believe the blue dot creates a contrast to the usual red lights and draws motorists’ attention.
Lincoln Land Chapter of ABATE Illinois Public Communications Officer Josh Witkowski says it works.
“I was behind one of these bikes while this bill was pending in the legislature, and I was amazed by how quickly it grabs your attention as a motorist — and it’s been a good thing,” he says.
“It’s good for visibility out there on the road, which increases safety and reduces the risk of accidents.
“The faster people can see a motorcycle while it’s on the road, the easier it is for them to see us, the better it is for everybody’s safety. And it reduces accidents out on the road.”
The blue dot in the centre of the red brake light was a stock feature on many cars and some bikes years ago and some modern customs have been bringing it back.
Josh says ABATE functions state to state and he is unaware of any other states attempting to introduce the rule.
Perhaps it is something our motorcycle groups could advocate in Australia, or at least softening the complex and restrictive Australian Design Rules on motorcycle lights so riders can take steps to make themselves more visible.
For anyone interested in adding the lights, you can buy them from JP Cycles or Amazon or customise them yourself as in this video. However, be aware they may be considered illegal in your jurisdiction.
Whether you believe the blue light will actually work or that riders have to take the responsibility to be seen rather than educating motorists to look for riders, this is a great example of motorcycle lobby groups influencing legislature.
Josh says ABATE regularly talk to “our friendly state lawmakers” and get them to write or amend legislation for them based on rider issues.
He says the number of sponsors for the Bill rapidly increased after hundreds of ABATE members from around the state descended on the capitol to talk issues with reps and senators.