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University of Copenhagen
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Watch out! New rules for bike lights

No more riding with your lights dangling from the handlebars

From 1 November 2012, bicycle lamps must sit fixed onto the bike and point straight forward and straight back. This is according to Danish traffic agency Rådet for Sikker Trafik. This, together with a host of other rules, enforces an even stricter interpretation on bike traffic safety.

Previous bike violations include, talking on a handheld cell phone while riding, not giving way to approaching traffic when signs ask you to, and riding your bike opposite the direction of traffic. It is still legal to bike without wearing a helmet.

The University Post has already observed Copenhagen police pulling bike riders over to enforce the older rules. Once November begins, it will be forbidden to drive with bike lights that hang from the handlebar, the back of the bike and lights that point into the ground.

Better batteries in new lights

Demands on battery life for bike lights that are sold after 1 November 2012 are also affected. Bike lights with batteries sold after that date will be required to be bright enough for at least five hours to meet statutory requirements.

It will still be legal to use the old lights after first November 2012, but only if they are properly installed, and meet the requirements to be clearly visible at least 300 metres away.

The easiest way for many cyclists will be to put permanent lights on the bike, for example, magnetic lights or mounted flashlights with batteries. New battery bike lights that are sold in Denmark must be bright enough to meet the statutory requirements for visibility at least 5 hours. The lamp or sales packaging must be marked with a “Pot life / Runtime” and an indication of how many hours the battery can meet the requirement. This must also be stated in marketing material such as advertisements, brochures, online, etc.

Get up to code or face heavy fines

The specific requirements specify that head-lights and tail-lights must be clearly visible at least 300 metres away and must also be visible from the side. They must be mounted so the lights respectively face straight forward and straight back, it is reiterated that they may must not hang and dangle and light into the ground.

Powerful headlamps designed to illuminate the road in front of the rider, must be mounted, with the light obliquely downward, thus to not dazzle oncoming drivers.

If you are stopped by police, and there is no light on the bike or the lights do not meet the statutory requirements, you will be fined DKK 700.

Information regarding specific laws courtesy of Rådet for Sikker Trafik (in Danish).

A list of the rules now enforced is to be found on the fact box right.

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