Posts Tagged ‘bike bicycle’

Dear SFMTA: Your Bike Lights Aren’t Really Bike Lights, So They Don’t Satisfy the California Vehicle Code

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

See what the SFMTA is giving out for free these days? It’s a Chinese flashlight with an adjustable mount so it can be used as a bike headlight. The problem with that is that it’s insufficient to put a nighttime cyclist in compliance with the California Vehicle Code. Check it:

Equipment Requirements. VC 21201 d) Every bicycle operated upon any highway during darkness shall be equipped with the following: 1. A lamp emitting a white light which illuminates the highway and is visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and the sides of the bicycle.

This setup up sends out zero light to the sides. In fact, the way it’s made it sort of has a hood. Now, it’s not illegal per se and it’s better than nothing but it’s not up to code in California, you know, where we all live.

Also, this jury rigged system is ridiculous. For example, it’s too bright, IMO. So if it’s pointed level with the ground then it will be certain to irritate oncoming traffic. Build quality is lower than standard if the standard is a typical Chinese flashlight. (It doesn’t say “Made in China” or anything, which was probably a selling point for the buyer, but where else could it have been made?) The big attraction for SFMTA with this setup must have been the giant SFMTA logo. Hey, SFMTA! Did it cost more to put the logo on than to buy these sub-$5 one-star-rated lights in the first place?

Now, click here to see a real bike light, with a blinking function, a decent quick release, longer time betwixt battery changes, and, of course, it complies with the CVC. Oh well.

And here’s what SFMTA thinks is a bike light:

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And as for the rear lights they’re giving out, they’re flimsy as all get-out, but that’s nothing that couldn’t be fixed with some super glue. The best course with those red lights would be to just glue the entire affair to itself and leave it on the bike 24-7.

I know what you’re trying to do, SFMTA, but you never do anything right. Why not try to do one small program that’s not FUBARed from the get-go? (Or maybe somebody can tell me something that the SFMTA does right?)

(Hey, SFMTA! Remember that big meeting when Nate Ford was maybe just a tad agitated about that big article, the one he “never read(!),” in the SF Weekly that was all about how you suck as an agency? Wouldn’t it be funny if somebody, maybe one of your very own, somehow made an mp3 audio recording of that little get-together? You know, surreptitious-like? Boy, that’d be funny, huh? Good times.)

Anyway, there’s no law that says you can’t give away flashlights to advertise your agency, but calling them bike lights, that’s what I’m taking issue with.

Combined SFMTA SFBC Bike Light Giveaway a Huge Success – Look Forward to Three More Sessions on Your Commute Home

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Despite some issues people might have with the giveaway SFMTA-branded lights themselves, last night’s somewhat-publicized bike light giveaway in front of Fox Plaza near 10th and Market was a huge success.

They’ll be doing this kind of thing again over the coming months, but you’re not going to hear about it beforehand – the tents will just pop up somewhere on your commute home betwixt 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

But mind the rules – you gots to have a bike to get your lights and your bike can’t already have lights.

Queuing up on Market:

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Check out this SFPD bike cop. He’d direct Lightless People to the queue but he didn’t get too much of a response. Oh well. (I suppose he could detain you first –  I’m sure that would increase interest dramatically, but he doesn’t need the hassle, right?)

(When a typical SFPD officer gives you ticket for rolling through a stop sign on your bike or riding around at night without lights on your bike or something like that, it’s for one or both of these reasons:

1. There’s an enforcement action going on, one where SFPD higher-ups have specifically mentioned that they want to see more of a certain type of citation, or

2. You’ve gone out of your way, your behavior really, really sets you apart from the crowd such that the cop is somehow personally offended by you.)

Anyway, Fiat Lux, let there be light…