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Some years back I installed one of those brake light modulators, and I was surprised how much hate/resentment I got from other drivers.
BUT more importantly it stopped my rostra cruise control from working!
So it is sitting my my MC stuff shelf.
I did put a light kit on my tour pac though and it really does light up
 

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While driving on a curved dark lonely road one night I came face to face with a vehicle on my side of the road, headlights on full and driving lights as well.
It was a escort driver escorting a following wide load. It was only when he had gone that I could see the oncoming wide load, because his lights were blinding and disorientating. Rather than feeling co-operative I felt resentful.
Same thing on this side of the dateline, @Brockie. Coming up on even a routine traffic stop or crash site at night, the LEOs have the retina vaporizing red and blue lights going in the pitch dark on a country road, and you can't see where the people are immediately- walking around on their cellphone or in shock? resisting arrest? Is there debris in the road?
 

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...I hacked together two bright blue / red aux brake lights...
Err, umm, uhh, your blue lights are illegal in all 50 states, no matter where you put them, unless you are a firefighter responding to a call. Red or amber facing the rear, that is all. White or amber facing front. Amber on the side. Don't believe me, look it up.
 

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Err, umm, uhh, your blue lights are illegal in all 50 states, no matter where you put them, unless you are a firefighter responding to a call. Red or amber facing the rear, that is all. White or amber facing front. Amber on the side. Don't believe me, look it up.
I looked it up, though I'm not a lawyer. Perhaps I missed it...it's been a while.


Short of It

Re-tracing my prior research, I found the following as a general rule:
  • NHTSA requires (among other things) minimum new and replacement vehicle lighting / lamp requirements
  • States may define additional regulations, for example for supplemental / auxiliary lighting / lamps added by vehicle owners

Long of It

Details of at least some of what I found in the past:

NHTSA - Per 49 CFR § 571.108 - Standard No. 108 Table I-C - Required Lamps and Reflective Devices, All Motorcycles:

Lighting DeviceNumber and ColorMounting LocationMounting HeightDevice Activation
Stop Lamps1 RedOn the rear, on the vertical centerline except that if two are used, they must be symmetrically disposed about the vertical centerlineNot less than 15 inches, nor more than 72 inchesSteady burning

Must be activated upon application of the service brakes.

When optically combined with a turn signal lamp, the circuit must be such that the stop signal cannot be activated if the turn signal lamp is flashing. May also be activated by a device designed to retard the motion of the vehicle.

My DL650 satisfies the above requirements. However, the above requirements do not address supplemental / auxiliary lights added by vehicle owners.

Fortunately, the NHTSA website offers (a mind-numbing number of) interpretation letters to assist the general public. Of the interpretations I've reviewed, two are particularly helpful, one general and one specific to my exact application:
  • General | 24200ztv, relevant section:
    • Whether non-standard lighting equipment is allowable on vehicles in use is at bottom a matter of State law. The legality of modifications by vehicle owners is generally determined by laws of the jurisdiction where a vehicle is registered and/or operated.

  • Specific | 23277ztv, relevant section:
    • We understand that a lighting accessory is available that consists of a clear blue circle which can be inserted in the middle of a red lens through which a blue light is emitted when the tail or stop lamp is activated...

      [T]he statute does not prohibit a motorcycle owner from such alterations. Thus, an owner would not violate Federal law either by installing a stop lamp altered to have a blue center, or by inserting a blue center in the original stop lamp. The validity of owner modifications affecting compliance with the Federal motor vehicle safety standards is determinable under state law.

And Illinois state law (625 ILCS 5/Ch. 12 Art. II Sec. 12-208 (a-1) provides:
  • A motorcycle or an antique vehicle or an expanded-use antique vehicle, including an antique motorcycle, may display a blue light or lights of up to one inch in diameter as part of the vehicle's rear stop lamp or lamps.

So as best I've identified, my blue & red brake lights are legal both with respect to federal / NHTSA and IL state law.


What am I missing?
 

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The bit that you are missing is:
"Thus, an owner would not violate Federal law either by installing a stop lamp altered to have a blue center, or by inserting a blue center in the original stop lamp."
"....may display a blue light or lights of up to one inch in diameter AS PART OF THE VEHICLES REAR STOP LAMP or lamps." Part of - not additional to.
So those lamps are larger than 1", and not part of the vehicles [existing] rear stop lamp.
Your lights, IMHO do not comply.
 

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Perhaps there's some confusion from the pic and my brief description of the stop lamps.

The stop lamps I added are not standalone blue lamps. No argument standalone blue brake lights would be a clear violation of IL (and I assume every other state's) law. But that's not what I have.

They are blue and red, per my original description: 'two bright blue / red aux brake lights'. What is clearly not obvious from the pic: the outer, clear lens activates to RED from the RED bulb in the housing. (My red lenses from AliExpress never showed up, so I just stuck with the clear since that's what I had on hand.) The inner blue tinted portion (obviously) -- which is definitely <=1" in diameter...I measured -- activates to blue.

@Brockie -- re your [existing] note. Are you suggesting I'm not in compliance because I didn't <1> modify the [existing] stock lamp, or <2> replace the [existing] stock lamp with another unit that is a like-for-like replacement of the original (excepting the blue light)? (Incidentally, I considered hacking the stock stop lamp to add a single blue light to it.)

If so, what language in the IL law or NHTSA law or interpretation indicates the stop lamps containing the blue light must be part of the stock stop lamp(s)...or a direct like-for-like swap?

I appreciate your input. You got me thinking and doing some more digging. I found this additional snippet from an NHSTA interpretation on an aux stop lamp (emphasis mine):

"Vehicle owners may add lighting devices or make other modifications to their own vehicles without violating any provision of Federal law, even if the owner's modifications result in the vehicle no longer complying with Standard No. 108. However, the individual States are free to establish whatever restrictions, if any, they deem appropriate on individual owner modifications."

And same IL law as noted above, but paragraph (g) reads: "Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles may be equipped with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle..."

No requirement that stop lamps be stock / OEM equipment, or direct like-for-like / fit-for-fit replacements for stock.
 

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Perhaps there's some confusion from the pic and my brief description of the stop lamps.

The stop lamps I added are not standalone blue lamps. No argument standalone blue brake lights would be a clear violation of IL (and I assume every other state's) law. But that's not what I have.

They are blue and red, per my original description: 'two bright blue / red aux brake lights'. What is clearly not obvious from the pic: the outer, clear lens activates to RED from the RED bulb in the housing. (My red lenses from AliExpress never showed up, so I just stuck with the clear since that's what I had on hand.) The inner blue tinted portion (obviously) -- which is definitely <=1" in diameter...I measured -- activates to blue.

@Brockie -- re your [existing] note. Are you suggesting I'm not in compliance because I didn't <1> modify the [existing] stock lamp, or <2> replace the [existing] stock lamp with another unit that is a like-for-like replacement of the original (excepting the blue light)? (Incidentally, I considered hacking the stock stop lamp to add a single blue light to it.)

If so, what language in the IL law or NHTSA law or interpretation indicates the stop lamps containing the blue light must be part of the stock stop lamp(s)...or a direct like-for-like swap?

I appreciate your input. You got me thinking and doing some more digging. I found this additional snippet from an NHSTA interpretation on an aux stop lamp (emphasis mine):

"Vehicle owners may add lighting devices or make other modifications to their own vehicles without violating any provision of Federal law, even if the owner's modifications result in the vehicle no longer complying with Standard No. 108. However, the individual States are free to establish whatever restrictions, if any, they deem appropriate on individual owner modifications."

And same IL law as noted above, but paragraph (g) reads: "Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles may be equipped with a stop lamp or lamps on the rear of the vehicle..."

No requirement that stop lamps be stock / OEM equipment, or direct like-for-like / fit-for-fit replacements for stock.

Get in front of a police car and tap your brakes a few times. I bet 2 things will happen:

1. Your auxilliary lighting will get their attention as designed.
2. You'll get to see how bright their red/blue lights are.
 

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@PerazziMx14 -- I've been square in front of IL state / various local LEO multiple times. I fully expected to be pulled over and -- not that it would matter, since they can do with me as they wish anyway -- keep the IL law printed out for reference on the bike, just in case. Perhaps I've just been lucky to catch IL / Chicago / Chicago-area's finest on a good day.

FWIW, when I crossover into WI, which to the best of my knowledge does not have a "blue dot" law (I haven't really checked, TBH), I inactivate the blue / red aux brake lights via switch.
 

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You'll find out when cop is behind you whether it'll be ok or not lol.

I used below link for my brake light. The turn signal bulb would be great for brake but I think it's overkill/over blinding since brake are used more than turn signal.
 

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@PerazziMx14 -- Might be right! I will report back if and when I have an encounter with LEO related to my legal stop lamps. Once I got over my anti-authoritarian phase decades ago, I've enjoyed entirely positive encounters with LEO. Given the crud LEOs have to deal with on a daily basis, engaging them with kindness and respect goes a long way.
 

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Let us know how it goes when you shove a printed copy of the vehicle code under the officers nose for him to reference. I bet things will not go according to Hoyle.
I think that there is a fine line between being seen and being a scene
 
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About once a month or so, some oblivious motorist plows into a cop car with all lights flashing, parked off the side of the road. I don't think it is about how bright the lights are, or what color, or where they are placed. It is about motorists' lack of competence and attention. Obviously the cell phone plays a big part in this.

Probably the only thing that might work would be a bright light (laser?) that would aim at the following driver's face, triggered by radar when a driver is following too close, to encourage them to put down their phone and pay attention. Perhaps some holographic 'light field' that defines a safe buffer zone, to make the following driver uncomfortable when they encroached.

Or a return to competent traffic enforcement, citing drivers that routinely drive dangerously. Nah, that'll never happen.
 

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...
Probably the only thing that might work would be a bright light (laser?) that would aim at the following driver's face, triggered by radar when a driver is following too close, to encourage them to put down their phone and pay attention.
...
I think bright lights in driver's eyes has the opposite effect from what you are looking at. It is actually a form of camouflage and makes it harder to see what's ahead. It might also lead to target fixation as drivers try to figure out what they are looking at. A short burst of flashing lights might be helpful.

..Tom
 

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About once a month or so, some oblivious motorist plows into a cop car with all lights flashing, parked off the side of the road. I don't think it is about how bright the lights are, or what color, or where they are placed. It is about motorists' lack of competence and attention. Obviously the cell phone plays a big part in this.
And this just in... From our local paper:
279672
 

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@V-Tom -- Absolutely right about too-bright lights acting as camouflage. They're disorienting, can cause temporary night blindness, and make it more difficult to actually see what's happening. I experience those issues myself from time to time around incidents with LE and emergency vehicles with flashers blasting.

@Jimding -- If brightness or color or placement don't matter, why have brake lights or NHTSA standards at all? In jest, of course, but with a grain of truth. If only everyone would just pay attention during the most dangerous activity almost all of us experience on a frequenty basis...

FWIW, NHTSA found placement matters (warning: PDF attachment), for example in a study of center high mounted stop lamps (CHMSL) on cars & trucks:

Effectiveness...then leveled off [to] 4.3 percent. This is the long-term effectiveness of the lamps.

At the long-term effectiveness level...the lamps will prevent 92,000-137,000 police-reported crashes, 58,000-70,000 nonfatal injuries, and $655,000,000 (in 1994 dollars) in property damage per year.

Even though the effectiveness of CHMSL has declined from its initial levels, the lamps are and will continue to be highly
cost-effective safety devices.
@Motorpsychology There's no getting around the fact of some instances of high profile extreme inattention. For every one of those, IME there are many, many more partially-distracted drivers who -- when prompted by some stimulus, e.g. brake light, flashing brake light, horn, etc. -- re-focus their attention. They just don't make the headlines. In urban and suburban environments I have experienced them regularly for decades -- directly and indirectly -- on and off the bike.
 

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I was thinking the bright light in the face might get them to look up from their phone. Probably expecting too much, but they might even learn not to follow so close so they don't get 'flashed'. Generally see at least one crash each morning and night, in each direction on the Interstate of someone following too close or not paying attention. I doubt the drivers responsible see any significant penalty. Not proposing the light be constant, just when they get too close.

Mostly the drivers are just outright incompetent. The other morning we had a heavy frost, no actual precipitation, and had numerous crashes, to the point that they quit responding to property damage accidents. Any rain, or God forbid, snow, and it's bumper car rules.
 

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This discussion comes down to no matter what you do, some people become distracted when they should be focused on piloting a 2 ton or a 20 ton vehicle.
The real solution is to take off the roads those who have proved that they are not prepared to apply themselves to their driving. When incompetence has no consequences it will continue.

I was watching one of those dash cam video compilations on television last night and 95% of all the incidents were because of irresponsible, mindless activity. Sure, you knew that the clip was there because of how it ended, but in the few seconds before disaster you knew that driver was going to either crash there, or a little further down the road.
Instead of insisting on due care and attention, the system attempts to cater for the lowest common denominator.
So have a few more lights and a loud horn but at the end of the day your safety depends more on your due diligence, and in recognising a possibly dangerous situation developing.
 

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Our society will never take distracted driving serious until we stop using the term car 'accident'. There has almost never been a car accident. They are crashes, and always caused by either neglect, poor judgment or failure to maintain control of the vehicle.

But we are so damn afraid of hurting someone's feelings that we refer to them as accidents.

Relax and have a homebrew

Autocorrect is my new enema
 

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Discussion Starter #40
This discussion comes down to no matter what you do, some people become distracted when they should be focused on piloting a 2 ton or a 20 ton vehicle.
The real solution is to take off the roads those who have proved that they are not prepared to apply themselves to their driving. When incompetence has no consequences it will continue.

I was watching one of those dash cam video compilations on television last night and 95% of all the incidents were because of irresponsible, mindless activity. Sure, you knew that the clip was there because of how it ended, but in the few seconds before disaster you knew that driver was going to either crash there, or a little further down the road.
Instead of insisting on due care and attention, the system attempts to cater for the lowest common denominator.
So have a few more lights and a loud horn but at the end of the day your safety depends more on your due diligence, and in recognising a possibly dangerous situation developing.
Ride as if they are out to get you. Even if that just means they couldn't be bothered to ignore that last text message.

This is why autonomous vehicles are inevitable. They don't have to be perfect, they just have to be better than the average human. And Mr. or Mrs. Average has not been doing a great job driving their vehicle the last decade and destined to get worse before it gets better.
 
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