The arrival of DRL made a real, effective gain in daytime conspicuity of cars and trucks, but it also took away the exclusivity motorcycles previously had on using daytime lights. Research hasn’t been conclusive, but wherever DRLs have been introduced there’s been concern amongst motorcyclists that DRLs on all vehicles might mean a negative effect on the visibility of motorcycles in traffic.
At the last ISAL in 2013, I was impressed by the lecture from Viola Cavallo, who described research findings:
Light arrangements that accentuate the vertical dimension of the motorcycle or motorcyclist are the most effective. They provideed substantial improvements as compared to a standard headlight, [and] the accepted gaps were equivalent to those in front of cars.The beneficial effect of vertical configurations depended on ambient lighting conditions.
So far, an effective vertically-orientated lighting configuration has been practically difficult to achieve. But now there’s interesting news—see this week’s newsletter—about the possibility to fit a light on the helmet. While it was impossible with halogen, LEDs could allow this possibility. Today’s OLEDs aren’t yet able to comply with DRL regulations as they’re presently written, concerning minimum intensity, but new OLEDs or perhaps a new regulation could allow it.
This example is interesting because it shows that something long impossible to achieve can be rendered possible in a short time, unleashed by a technological development. And it’s also a crucial example: crashes involving motorcycles are more and more frequent, and it is our responsability to give the world the best tools we can to improve safety—our primary main target.
DVN Editor in Chief