The Cyclist's view on DRL and Xenon-HID lights

 

 

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Last updated

 13 December 2010

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Some cyclists simply hate drivers and want nothing to do with them, but sometimes motorists and motorcyclists are also keen cyclists and probably vice versa, the key being to share road space in harmony and safety.
Cyclists tend to keen environmentalists, the consequences of world wide CO2 and diesel pollution from DRL are a factor.

 

But the real concern to a cyclist, is loss of conspicuity caused by DRL and Xenon-HID lights

 

As a driver, if your concentration is distracted by someone cocooned in an airbag padded metal box with lights ablaze appearing just as you are about to pass a cyclist, it reduces a driver's ability to perceive the hazard correctly.

 

A driver's natural tendency is to shy away from the other car with potential disastrous results for the cyclist who should be given a clearance of at least 2 metres.

 

Hypothetical maybe, but if your eyesight is de-sensitised after a day of driving against other vehicles with headlights ablaze , it puts cyclists at an unnecessary risk - see comments from the USA trucker -

 What's New    Also see a cyclist's submission to the EU DRL consultation.

 

See  Safe Cycling by University Professor Peter Heilig

 

Vulnerability and Risk Emergence in Complex Traffic Scenarios by University Professor Peter Heilig:

Disturbance of the equilibrium of the smooth flow in complex traffic scenarios can be compared with some rather thoughtless human eco-system-interactions in the past.  Minor changes may provoke catastrophes and sequences of undesired irreversible failures ('global dimming', climate change, etc.).

'Natural' brightness distribution within visual fields being just one of some prerequisites for the driver's optimized sight, attention and perception.  Any accentuation or 'over'-accentuation of stimuli would cause unequal distribution of attention.  Consequently some 'accentuated' traffic-relevant objects' Daytime Running Lights (DRL) catching more attention than the less conspicuous objects or 'weaker' traffic participants are creating interference factors thereby disturbing a delicately balanced vulnerable stability.  The occurrence of traffic-accidents is probably not reflecting the true potential of induced hazard.  'Near misses' and the avoidance of crashes by preventive driver-reactions just in time may falsify the attempts of expert-evaluations and analysis.

The signalling effect of DRL functioning as distracter is only one factor causing imbalance and a kind of non-equilibrium.  Side impact- and rear end crashes are indicating the effect of 'imbalance of attention' by accentuating the front of vehicles exclusively (in some countries).

All past attempts to increase the conspicuity of pedestrians and cyclists have failed

Reflecting materials appear to be ineffective in connection with DRL.  The illumination of bicycles suffers from systematic misconception:  With decreasing daylight intensity, front and rear vehicle lights attract the attention of other traffic participants; however cyclists are hard to observe and to detect against a darkening background.  The average bicycle illumination does not protect at all against the risk of (fatal) side impacts. 

Deaths in mixed traffic are avoidable: blinding glare caused by the bluish High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights can be observed with increasing frequency since the introduction of the experiment (Licht am Tag) in Austria.  Additionally headlight misalignment and road undulations cause momentary dazzle.

Usually more factors than one are multiplied before the catastrophe of a traffic accident: sometimes a harmless (probably superfluous) traffic sign could be just one distraction too much and provokes cognition failures (overload of the visual short term memory).

The Times 05 November 2010

The number of road deaths in April-June fell to 470, down by 16 per cent from the same period last year, provisional figures from the Department of Transport showed. The number of road users killed or seriously injured was also down, by 6 per cent to 6,620. Casualty rates fell for all types of road user except cyclists: the number killed or seriously injured rose by 5 per cent to 850.

 

The Times 30 June 2006

 

"Cycling was the only mode of transport with an increase in deaths in 2005 up 10% to 148 from 134 in 2004."  Ben Webster Transport Correspondent

 

 

The Sunday Times 27 February 2006

 

"In 2004, the latest year for which figures are available, 134 cyclists were killed on Britainís roads, a rise of 18% on the previous year."

 

 

More cyclists die on roads  Arthur Leathley Transport Correspondent   The Times  

 

A SHARP rise in the number of cyclists and motorcyclists killed in road crashes overshadowed a general fall in casualties last year.  The growing popularity of two-wheeled travel threatens to disrupt government plans for reducing fatalities and serious injuries. The number of cyclists and motorcyclists killed rose by about 10 per cent, although the overall road death toll remained stable. Ministers said that the number of deaths was less than might have been predicted by the in numbers riding.  Road safety campaigners maintained however, that unless measures were taken to offer more protection to cyclists, the death toll would rise. The Government has set a target of reducing deaths and serious injuries by 40 per cent by 2010.

 

 Although British roads are among the safest in Europe, 45 per cent of accidental child deaths occurred on roads, for teenagers aged 15 and 19 the proportion is 72 percent.