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High Beams Blind Cyclists

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Headlight GlareI bicycle to work with proper lighting and reflective gear. My safety concern is oncoming traffic with their high beams on, especially when it rains, because those oncoming high beams are like a welding arc or camera flash. Can you please recommend a simple, yet cost effective solution? Glasses don't help as they dull ones night sight. How can I alert traffic to lower their beams?

The Motor Vehicle Act says that the operator of a cycle has the same rights and duties as the operator of a motor vehicle. However, the right to have the headlights of approaching or overtaking vehicles dimmed within 150 meters only applies to another vehicle, not a cycle. Concerned drivers may choose to dim their headlights out of courtesy if they wish to.

This reader is correct when he observes that wearing sunglasses at night is not the solution. This would severely limit your ability to see in unlit areas of the highway or in the shadows between street lighting. Yellow tinted lenses are not the answer either according to the Canadian Ophthalmological Society. The contact I corresponded with recommended only clear lenses for night driving.

Cyclists are able to use the same strategy as drivers caught in this situation, slow down and watch the road to your right instead of looking at the oncoming headlights. You may also be able to ride on a side road that does not have as much traffic to limit your exposure to any dazzle. These are not ideal solutions but are better than doing nothing at all.

If you are having trouble seeing, remember that motorists may be in the same situation. Insure that you have good quality lights and reflectors on your bicycle and use them. Not only do they help you to see at night, they help other traffic see you.

Reference Links:

Rights and Duties of Operator of Cycle - Section 183 MVA

Dimming High Beam Headlamps - Division 4.06(5) MVAR

Definitions of Vehicle and Cycle - Section 1 MVA

Night Driving Strategies - Page 124, Learn to Drive Smart

Submitted by E-mail

When speaking of the bright lights, it is too bad people driving these newer vehicles would'nt learn where the off switch for their fog lights is. So many leave them on when they are not necessary. Talking to a local RCMP highway patrol, this practice annoys them also.

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