Auxiliary Lights

The Effect of LED Daytime Running Lights on Motorcycle Conspicuity

The effect of LED Daytime Running Lights from a scientific view

The effect of LED Daytime Running Lights on Motorcycle Conspicuity has been researched in order to find out what helps protecting motorcyclists on the road. One of the most common questions we are asked is, “what LED driving lights should I fit to my bike?” Our usual response is to discuss why people want driving lights, and in 90% of the time it’s because they think that Daytime Running Lights (DRL), auxiliary lights or any kind of driving light will add a level of safety to them whilst riding.

Many years ago there was some research conducted in the USA that talked about the “Triangle of Light” making motorcycles more visible to other road users but that was a long time ago. This theory has been revisited by Mr Nils Haferkemper from the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany.

Science makes the case for LED Daytime Running Lights

With the EU regulation allowing for Daytime Running Lights (DRL) to be fitted to motorcycles,  the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Laboratory of Lighting Technology, were commissioned to conduct research into the effect of auxiliary lights or DRL fitted to a motorcycle.

In Germany they have seen over the last 15 years that cars were involved in 66% of motorcycle accidents and 50% of those happened in urban environments.

Abstract of the scientific research paper “The Effect of LED Daytime Running Lights on Motorcycle Conspicuity …”

N. Haferkemper, H. Sprute, Ch. Schiller, T. Q. Khanh
Laboratory of Lighting Technology, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Germany

Accident statistics show that motorcycling is still a pretty dangerous mode of locomotion. Since the last 15 years motorcyclists’ fatalities experienced just a creeping decrease compared to car drivers’. In-Depth Motorcycle Studies displayed that in more than two thirds of motorcycle accidents the main contributing factor is a car.

With these accidents basically taking place in urban areas (more than 50%) with a lot of distraction and at pretty low speeds – at intersections above all – one can conjecture the low visibility of powered two wheelers (PTW) to be an important cause.

This is fortified by actual statistical research naming 10.5% of all motorcycle accidents to be conspicuity related1. With ECE-R87 compliant Daytime Running Lights (DRL) as a regulatory defined conspicuity aid, the impact of DRL usage on PTWs was to be investigated.

The Effect of LED Daytime Running Lights
This research was sponsored by KTM Sportmotorcycle AG and BMW AG. A warm Thank You to Mr Haferkemper for giving us permission to share this scientific paper with you!