Lighting of bicycles in Ireland

Introduction

If you wish to use a bike on a public road in Ireland, your bike must be fitted with reflectors and lights to ensure that other road users will see you. All bicycles used on public roads are required to comply with the Road Traffic (Lighting of Vehicles) Regulations 1963 as amended. This law sets down the type of reflectors and lights that your bicycle must be fitted with and when you must use them.

Rules

All bicycles used on public roads in Ireland must at all times display a rear reflector. A rear reflector means a red reflector that can be plainly seen for a distance of 99 meters when the headlights of a vehicle shine directly on it. The only exception to this rule is on a child's bicycle where that bicycle is used during the daytime.

When do my bike lights have to be switched on?

Your bike lights must be switched on during ’lighting-up time‘. This is the period beginning half an hour after sunset and ending half an hour before sunrise on the following morning. During these hours all cyclists are required to have fitted (and make use of) the following:

  • One front light, showing to the front a white or yellow light visible for a reasonable distance
  • One rear light, fitted to the rear of your bicycle showing a red light that is visible for a reasonable distance

Lights do not need to be lit when stopped in traffic or when a person wheels the bike on foot as near as is possible to the left-hand edge of the road.

Can I use flashing front and rear lights?

Yes, under SI 487 of 2009, it is legal to use flashing front and rear lights.

What is the penalty for not having bike lights?

Failure to use proper lighting on a bicycle is an offence. If you are stopped by a member of the Gardai, the Garda may take your name and address, details about your bicycle and the time and date of the offence. You may be issued with a fixed charge notice (See our document on Laws on cycling in Ireland for more information). Failure to pay the fine could result in a summons to appear in court.

Where can I get bike lights?

Most bicycles sold in shops are already fitted with reflectors as standard. You can purchase additional bicycle lights or reflectors at any reputable bicycle shop.

How do I know my lights are legal?

If you wish to use your bicycle on a public road in Ireland but are unsure about whether your bicycle conforms to the law, you should contact your nearest Garda station for further advice and information.

Does a Garda have a right to stop me if I am cycling without lights?

Under Section 108 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 as amended, a member of the Gardai may demand your name, address and date of birth if they suspect you have committed any crime or offence. They may also demand your name, address and date of birth if they suspect you have been involved in a collision or caused injury to property or someone else. If you fail to give your name, address or date of birth, or give a false name, address or date of birth, the Garda may retain your bicycle until they are satisfied as to your identity.

Page edited: 5 September 2019