Lighting of motorcycles in Ireland


If you wish to ride a motorcycle on a public road in Ireland, you should be aware there are specific rules in place about the type of lamps and reflectors that must be fitted to your motorcycle. These provisions are set down in the Road Traffic (Lighting of Vehicles) Regulations, 1963 (as amended). Effective use of lighting on your motorcycle will ensure that other road users see you. The Gardai (Irish police force) are responsible for the enforcement of the law on the lighting of vehicles in Ireland and this enforcement is essential for road safety. The object of these Regulations is to prevent accidents and protect life and property.


Motorcycles at all times are required to have:

  • One head lamp: this is a lamp that when lit, adequately lights the road ahead with a white or yellow light for a distance of 99 metres (325 feet) (or 30.5 metres (100 feet) when dipped) and in the case of a low-powered motorcycle, a reasonable distance.
  • One rear lamp: this is a lamp fitted to the rear and when lit, a red light is visible for 152 metres (500 feet).
  • One rear reflector: this is a red reflector that can be plainly seen for a distance of 99 metres (325 feet) to the rear when the headlights of a vehicle shine directly on it.
  • Identification mark lighting: this is a white light illuminating the rear identification plate so that each letter and number is easily distinguishable for a distance of 20 metres (65 feet) to the rear.
  • Position lamp (if not fitted with a head lamp or if a side car is attached): this is a lamp not exceeding 7 watts that is fitted not more than 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the ground and which when lit shows to the front a white light visible for 152 metres (500 feet).
  • Direction indicators and high mounted stop lamp (this is optional): A direction indicator is a device fitted to a motorcycle that is capable of indicating to the other road users that the driver intends to turn right or left. Indicators must be either semaphore or flashing.

Side-cars of motorcycles are required at all times to have:

  • One position lamp
  • One rear lamp (as above)
  • One rear reflector

Use of head lamps

The head lamps on your motorcycle should be dipped in good time in the following situations:

  • Meeting oncoming vehicles (i.e., vehicles coming towards you from the opposite direction)
  • In built-up areas where public lighting is provided, and special speed limit areas
  • In periods of poor visibility (i.e., heavy fog, snow, rain, dust)
  • Travelling behind another vehicle
  • When failing to use your head lamps may cause inconvenience to other road users.

Lighting-up hours

All motorcyclists are required to use lamps (other than stop lamps) during "lighting-up" hours. If you are using your motorcycle during the day when visibility is poor, you are also required to use lamps. If you are using lamps on your motorcycle, you should ensure that your lights are dipped when approaching other road users.


Most motorcycles are fitted with these lamps and reflectors as standard. You can purchase replacement lamps at any reputable motorcycle shop.

How to apply

If you are unsure about whether your motorcycle conforms to the law, you should contact your nearest Garda station for advice and information.

Page edited: 13 January 2015