Matt Greenop: Instant blindness from mad bike lights

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The view drivers, cyclists and other road users are left with after encountering these crazy LED lights is undoubtedly pretty, but not particularly safe. Photo / Thinkstock
The view drivers, cyclists and other road users are left with after encountering these crazy LED lights is undoubtedly pretty, but not particularly safe. Photo / Thinkstock

It's the first day of spring. Well, officially anyway. These days we seem to have all of the seasons mixed together, shaken up and randomly strewn across the calendar, but a bit more warmth is always appreciated. What I'm not appreciating, however, is some of our cycling brethren.

Now, I know the mere mention of anything even faintly cycling-critical will have the lycra-wearers amongst you start sending me furious emails (including the one who threatens to run me over on a weekly basis - you know who you are, and I don't believe you have the opposable thumbs required to ride a modern bicycle).

All but a few cyclists are totally innocent of the crime outlined in this weekend's bleat - and they're likely to be affected by it as well.

I'm talking about the giant, high-intensity LED light clusters fitted to some riders' helmets and bikes. It's an increasing trend that has the unfortunate result of blinding anyone and anything caught in the 10 squillion candlepower glare of these ridiculous accessories.

They remind me of a doofus I once knew who insisted on fitting four huge Hella Rallye 2000 spotlights to the front of his car, not through necessity as he lived in the central suburbs, just because he thought they made his Toyota Corolla look like it was driven by Juha Kankkunen. They didn't, serving only to make him a menace to anyone coming in the opposite direction.

The same is true of anyone who uses these ultra-bright LEDs on the road. It doesn't matter if you're a pedestrian, cyclist or motorist, not being able to see for even 10 seconds after being blinded could be the difference between getting home for dinner or squashed like a possum. Ordinary white front and red rear lights on bikes are perfectly acceptable - they allow riders to be seen without risking someone else's life to feel a bit safer, or to look like a UFO coming down the road. Just saying.

- NZ Herald

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