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Re: [CABO] Warning on New Bikes  David Takemoto-Weerts
 Dec 21, 1999 09:58 PST 
At 09:18 AM 12/21/99 -0800, Robert Bernstein wrote:
 Hi to California Bike Advocates

I just parked my 20 year old bike next to a new bike in a bike rack.

The new bike had a warning sticker to wear your helmet which sounds
sensible. But it also has a warning sticker saying "Do not ride at night"

I use my bike to get to work and for most local errands and find it
disturbing that such a warning is being put on new bikes. If I didn't
ride at night, I couldn't ride to work. Following this warning turns
the bike into a toy rather than a means of transportation.

What do other folks think?

I believe these stickers, which are commonly found on "department store"
bikes (Huffys, Murrays, Roadmasters, etc.) are a response to the Johnson
vs. Derby lawsuit of 1993. For John Forester's account of this case, see

I've been disturbed by these same stickers since I first noticed them
several years ago. If the manufacturers feel strongly that some kind of
warning is needed, I don't know why these stickers couldn't be replaced with
more positive statements such as "Use proper lighting at night".

The issue of bike lighting has been receiving some attention from the
National Committee on Uniform Traffic Law Ordinances (NCUTLO), the
group that develops the Uniform Vehicle Code. Last year the
group amended the UVC to allow the use of "blinkies" (flashing LED
taillights that have become so popular). Previously, the UVC specified
a constant-beam taillight. Riley Geary, LAB's representative on NCUTLO,
has been doing some independent research on night time bike crashes.
He writes:

 Both the enormity of the current problem (where over 40% of ALL cycling
traffic fatalities, and over 50% of all such fatalities happening to
'adults' aged 16 years or older, now occur during non-daylight hours--
despite the relatively small proportion of cycling actually done at
night), and the success some others have had in radically reducing this
problem (e.g. Australia through strict enforcement of mandated front and
rear bike lights for nighttime cyclists) strongly suggest we might want
to give this potential proposal [mandatory taillight laws] some serious

A few states already require the use of active taillights at night. The
of mandatory taillights to the UVC has been thoroughly discussed on the
labmembers and chainguard listserves. Check the archives over the past
3 or 4 months for some background. Is this proposed law something whose
time has come in California?

David Takemoto-Weerts                              ph.: 530/752-BIKE
Bicycle Program Coordinator                       fax: 530/752-8875
Transportation & Parking Services               
One Shields Avenue
University of California
Davis, CA 95616-8724 USA
LAB bd. of directors/secretary
Effective Cycling Instructor #569
CABO Dist. 3 Representative
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