Lights to the rear and to the side are permitted
There are currently two groups of cyclists with illuminated helmets. Cyclists in the first group simply want to be seen better by motorists, pedestrians and other road users. Commercially available helmets with LED lights can actually increase their visibility a lot, says the Ludwigsburg bicycle and electric-assisted bicycle expert Dirk Zedler:
“The contour of the driver becomes clear up to the head which, of course, increases safety. The cyclist is seen as such in its entirety.”
He adds that lights on the back of the helmet and on its sides are also permissible in road traffic.
“The body of the cyclist can be provided with a lot of things. Reflective strips on the legs, reflective bands on the arms, a conspicuous waistcoat. The body of the cyclist is not subject to regulations in this respect.”
The situation is different for the helmet light of the second group. These cyclists equip their head protection with LED lights or “helmet lights”. This trend originates from mountain biking. During a fast ride, the lamp points exactly where the athlete is looking.
“The headlight that casts forward an active light is often used by cyclists to replace the light on the bike. And that is in my opinion neither allowed nor reasonable in road traffic.”
According to him, the very bright light at head height not only dazzles others in road traffic.
“There is a clear recognition of the fact that motorists and all road users need to perceive known silhouettes before they realise them. And that includes proper lighting on the bike: Front light, rear light, front reflector, rear reflector, pedal reflectors and side reflectors. It is only with all this on the bike that it makes sense to equip the body and the helmet with additional things.”
Buying a helmet: It’s all right as long as it is light
A good bike helmet should be well ventilated, light and not pinch. These are the major preconditions to be fulfilled before you care about additional equipment such as lighting, says Dirk Zedler:
"You always have to buy a helmet that fits perfectly. A helmet that fits well and is comfortable will be worn. Some heads require an 80-euro helmet that fits perfectly, others need the 220-euro helmet that fits well. The manufacturers have different fits for different head shapes as well as for different ears and eyebrows.”
According to Zedler, the general rule is the lighter the helmet, the higher the price with the weight being an important safety criterion. In an emergency, a heavy helmet means an increased acceleration of the head which will lead to more severe injuries.
“The pure rear light system weighs between 20 and 60 grammes. This is not relevant compared to the weight of the helmet itself. It rather depends on which helmet choice I make."
If you make sure the helmet complies with the DIN standard 1078, you can't go wrong. This standard specifies the load a bike helmet must be able to withstand.
Read the entire article here.
Author: Pierre Gehmlich