Headlights on in the day: good or bad idea?

Riding with lights on, do they raise visibility or are they a nuisance?

Under normal circumstances displaying dipped headlights during the day will improve your conspicuousness, making it easier for other road users to see you, which is the main reason the choice to switch them off has been denied to us by EU ruling.

When headlights were first made compulsory in some US states back in the 1970s, their accident rate actually increased temporarily which may have been due to a psychological effect i.e. “I’m now more visible so I’ll go faster and assume drivers in side roads have seen me”.

Headlights will only increase conspicuousness against a darker background but may well camouflage you against a bright background – when descending a hill with the sun on your back you’ll be almost invisible.

Headlights can antagonise and draw unwanted attention particularly if the beam is set too high. It can appear to a driver in front that you’re constantly flashing your headlight.

Do you think it is a good or bad idea? Debate below