“Hello darkness, my old friend.” So went the Simon and Garfunkel ballad from a few years ago. As a cyclist, I don’t see it that way, no pun intended. This might be a good time to review lighting requirements for Missouri and Kansas. References are from MoDot, KDot, and state statutes. They are paraphrased for sake of brevity.
Missouri. Statute 307.185 Addresses lights and reflectors and the standards.
Every bicycle when on a street or highway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise SHALL be equipped as follows:
1. A front facing lamp on the bike or carried by the rider which shall emit a white light visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway at five hundred feet.
2. A rear-facing red reflector at least 2 inches square in reflective surface area, or a rear-facing red lamp, on the rear which shall be visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lower beams of vehicle head lights at six hundred feet.
3. Reflective material and/or lights visible from the front and the rear on any moving parts of the bicyclist, pedals, crank arms, shoes, or lower leg visible from the front and rear at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of a vehicle at two hundred feet.
4. Reflective material and/or lights visible on each side of the bicycle or bicyclist visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of a vehicle head lights at three hundred feet.
Kansas. Statute 8-1592 addresses Lamps, brakes, and other equipment
a. Every bicycle, when at use at nighttime, shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by secretary of transportation which shall be visible from all distances from 100 feet to 600 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lights of a motor vehicle. A red light visible from 500 feet may be used in addition to a red reflector.
Everybody clear on these regulations? Everybody knows that the time for sunrise and sunset changes daily. Any Missouri hunter that ever waited in a field knows how frustrating it is to time Sunrise. Kansas, saying “use a light” when it’s dark makes much more sense.
Have any of you gone out and tested lights or reflectors? Of course not. I also don’t know where that proverbial road is that the Missouri statute speaks of four times. You rely on sellers of the products. I wonder how many of you have taken reflectors of the wheels of your ultra cool lightweight rocket ship. I bet you don’t comply in Missouri.
Anyway, the purpose of this article is to encourage everyone to use proper lighting for others to see you and also so you can see where you are going. Be safe out there.