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Old 06-18-2011, 12:22 AM   #1
Bkgraham33
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LEDs in Houston & surrounding areas

I live in Friendswood. I have a cruiser with lots o' LEDs on it. I was pulled over by a constable (or maybe state trooper, not for sure) last weekend for said LEDs. No ticket, but he said with certainty that I could not have them. Then a Friendswood cop came along (during same stop) and said he was cool with the yellow LEDs (i have multicolor lights) but the rest were a no-no. Inconsistent much?

I've looked up the laws and it seems LEDs are kind of a grey area, but they don't seem to be technically illegal.

Well tonight on my way home a Webster cop pulled up next to me at a light and told me to turn off my lights... so I did.

My question for anybody who reads this, do you ride with LEDs? What's your understanding of the law. You ever get pulled over for them? How about tickets? And if you got a ticket for them, did you fight it? Did you win? If so what was your defense?

K, lots of questions I know. Thanks in advance for everyone's 2 cents. Ride safe!
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:26 AM   #2
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From what I know, reds and blues are definitely no-no's. Emergency colors or something. The others I'm unsure about.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:27 AM   #3
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:27 AM   #4
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Just dont ride with them........Pose with them.....
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:29 AM   #5
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Here's what I pulled up. And I'm surprised Friendswood hasn't messed with you, they seem to pull you over for the slightest of things.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.u...htm/TN.547.htm

"Sec. 547.305. RESTRICTIONS ON USE OF LIGHTS. (a) A motor vehicle lamp or illuminating device, other than a headlamp, spotlamp, auxiliary lamp, turn signal lamp, or emergency vehicle or school bus warning lamp, that projects a beam with an intensity brighter than 300 candlepower shall be directed so that no part of the high-intensity portion of the beam strikes the roadway at a distance of more than 75 feet from the vehicle.

(b) Except as expressly authorized by law, a person may not operate or move equipment or a vehicle, other than a police vehicle, with a lamp or device that displays a red light visible from directly in front of the center of the equipment or vehicle.

(c) A person may not operate a motor vehicle equipped with a red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light unless the equipment is:

(1) used as specifically authorized by this chapter; or

(2) a running lamp, headlamp, taillamp, backup lamp, or turn signal lamp that is used as authorized by law.

(d) A vehicle may be equipped with alternately flashing lighting equipment described by Section 547.701 or 547.702 only if the vehicle is:

(1) a school bus;

(2) an authorized emergency vehicle;

(3) a church bus that has the words "church bus" printed on the front and rear of the bus so as to be clearly discernable to other vehicle operators;

(4) a tow truck while under the direction of a law enforcement officer at the scene of an accident or while hooking up to a disabled vehicle on a roadway; or

(5) a tow truck with a mounted light bar which has turn signals and stop lamps in addition to those required by Sections 547.322, 547.323, and 547.324, Transportation Code.

(e) A person may not operate highway maintenance or service equipment, including snow-removal equipment, that is not equipped with lamps or that does not display lighted lamps as required by the standards and specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Transportation.

(f) In this section "tow truck" means a motor vehicle or mechanical device that is adapted or used to tow, winch, or move a disabled vehicle."
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:32 AM   #6
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Yeah, I've read that law and I don't see anything that specifically prohibits me from riding green.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C.Hern5972 View Post
Just dont ride with them........Pose with them.....
I ride with them half because I like the way they look and half because it allows other drivers to see me easier. Posing with them does nothing for my safety on the road.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:36 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkgraham33 View Post
Yeah, I've read that law and I don't see anything that specifically prohibits me from riding green.
Yeah, I don't see anything in that law about ANY lights besides flashing ones/attention getting. Correct me if I'm wrong.

If you don't have bright red/blue lights flashing off the front of your bike, or any flashing at all, I would say you're good. But, reality is, if a cop is gonna hassle you, he's gonna hassle you no matter what. I would roll with them, if a cop messes with you, ask him exactly what law it states it's illegal, not in a smart- kinda tone, just ask to find out.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:42 AM   #9
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Yeah, I don't see anything in that law about ANY lights besides flashing ones/attention getting. Correct me if I'm wrong.

If you don't have bright red/blue lights flashing off the front of your bike, or any flashing at all, I would say you're good. But, reality is, if a cop is gonna hassle you, he's gonna hassle you no matter what. I would roll with them, if a cop messes with you, ask him exactly what law it states it's illegal, not in a smart- kinda tone, just ask to find out.
Yeah, the constable last weekend didn't give me a ticket; I was being plenty nice. But he couldn't tell me anything law-wise except for "you can't have the LEDs, no matter what color." I told him I researched the out of it before installing the lights and found no law I am breaking. He didn't care but again had nothing specific to say about the law I was breaking.

But you're right, if they want to jack with me they're going to.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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Something I've looked into loosely. I'm not currently riding w/ extra lights of any kind but they're major on my list. So...

problem is, the laws keep changing -- and, as you've seen, are subject to interpretation (especially by the whimsy of whatever law enforcement type person you're dealing with at any particular moment).

There are laws against having neon lights mounted to an undercarriage, but that's for cars; it'd be hard to define "undercarriage" on a bike and LED's are not neons. Used to be blue lights were only allowed on vehicles carrying oxygen (& police).

There are/were differences between steady lights and strobing lights. You may have noticed that lately certain vehicles now have strobing lights attached, whereas they didn't until just recently. For ex, the yellow strobing lights on the back of dump trucks, and the amber and blue strobing lights on construction vehicles, when they're parked on "active duty" and need to be seen for safety reasons.

I think you'd be perfectly safe if you have extra lights hooked up to "function" lights, such as installing amber lights in the footpegs provided they're hooked up with the turn signals, or extra red led's on the tail, tied into the tail-/brakelights.

You *might* be able to get away with colored lights as driving lights, provided your headlights meet legal standards.

Overall I'd say you're safer with lights that match the color of other function lights (red, white, amber), while blue (or a blue-red combination) would be risky as it might be construed as impersonating an emergency vehicle.

Know that bikes attract attention, and anything fancy (esp lights) will only exaggerate this.

As for avoiding tickets, the one thing that I think would most likely work is to actually get a ticket, fight it and WIN, and carry around something to indicate this as it will set precedent and enable the "double jeopardy" clause in your favor. Of course, this just means you'll get a ticket for something else instead...
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Old 06-18-2011, 03:31 AM   #11
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bkgraham33 View Post
I ride with them half because I like the way they look and half because it allows other drivers to see me easier. Posing with them does nothing for my safety on the road.
+1

Haven't rode with LEDs yet but planning for rear facing red LEDs and amber/white on the front and sides. People can barely see the tiny stock red rear brake light anyway so a few extras may help.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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The lights you have will be covered under Texas Trans. Sec. 547.332:


Sec. 547.332. OTHER LAMPS PERMITTED. A motor vehicle may be equipped with:

(1) not more than two side cowl or fender lamps that emit an amber or white light without glare;

(2) not more than two running board courtesy lamps, one on each side of the vehicle, that emit an amber or white light without glare; and

(3) one or more backup lamps that:

(A) emit an amber or white light only when the vehicle is not moving forward; and

(B) may be displayed separately or in combination with another lamp.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart View Post
As for avoiding tickets, the one thing that I think would most likely work is to actually get a ticket, fight it and WIN, and carry around something to indicate this as it will set precedent and enable the "double jeopardy" clause in your favor. Of course, this just means you'll get a ticket for something else instead...
Great generally informative post Bart. Except this last section is completely wrong so I am quoting it to highlight it. There is no precedent being set here. Carrying around his dismissal or acquittal is like carrying around a dismissal or acquittal from a speeding ticket and assuming this will protect you from further speeding charges. Double jeopardy only bars charges from the same offense. It may seem like the same offense because it would be the same lights, but because it is on a different day at probably a different location, it is a new offense. Now if you could get the transcript from your previous trial and it outlines in detail where the lights are, you could submit it as persuasive authority in your subsequent cases. But it is not binding precedent. Trial courts don't create binding precedent.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by wackjum View Post
The lights you have will be covered under Texas Trans. Sec. 547.332:


Sec. 547.332. OTHER LAMPS PERMITTED. A motor vehicle may be equipped with:

(1) not more than two side cowl or fender lamps that emit an amber or white light without glare;

(2) not more than two running board courtesy lamps, one on each side of the vehicle, that emit an amber or white light without glare; and

(3) one or more backup lamps that:

(A) emit an amber or white light only when the vehicle is not moving forward; and

(B) may be displayed separately or in combination with another lamp.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995.
This is open to interpretation. Technically I'm not violating any of these sections. Additionally, my LEDs are not "lamps". I have spoken to several cops/troopers who said only red and blue LEDs are questionable.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:31 AM   #15
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Quote:
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This is open to interpretation. Technically I'm not violating any of these sections. Additionally, my LEDs are not "lamps". I have spoken to several cops/troopers who said only red and blue LEDs are questionable.
True, but he's an attorney and probably knows what you CAN and CANNOT get away with.
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Old 06-18-2011, 11:48 AM   #16
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This is open to interpretation. Technically I'm not violating any of these sections. Additionally, my LEDs are not "lamps". I have spoken to several cops/troopers who said only red and blue LEDs are questionable.
Cops are the worst source of knowledge on the laws. Didn't you open this thread with an issue about inconsistent information from cops?

Besides, all lighting used on vehicles should "technically" (I see this word thrown around in the context of laws, what does it even mean?) be approved by the DOT or SAE for use on roads. Otherwise it is sold for "off road use only."
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:09 PM   #17
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And Friendswood cops are just all around anyway.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:26 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by wackjum View Post
Cops are the worst source of knowledge on the laws. Didn't you open this thread with an issue about inconsistent information from cops?

Besides, all lighting used on vehicles should "technically" (I see this word thrown around in the context of laws, what does it even mean?) be approved by the DOT or SAE for use on roads. Otherwise it is sold for "off road use only."
Gotchya. Thanks for the input. Sounds like I might have a tough time fighting a ticket if I get one. Being an attorney, have you fought an LED related ticket?
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:30 PM   #19
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And Friendswood cops are just all around anyway.
I have lived in Friendswood for 6 years and haven't yet had a problem with them. But I do agree that there are cops that can be dicks. Not to defend them, but they do have to put up with lots of bullshit, which can make anybody a over time. But still, those of us who aren't being jackasses and have to out up with cops with bad attitudes--sucks for us.
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Old 06-18-2011, 12:46 PM   #20
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Gotchya. Thanks for the input. Sounds like I might have a tough time fighting a ticket if I get one. Being an attorney, have you fought an LED related ticket?
People get hassled for them, but I can't say I've ever seen a citation. But I also do not primarily deal with traffic laws so I don't necessarily have my finger on the pulse.

This also came up when those windshield spray nozzle lights were a big hit. I remember at that time looking for the definition of "lamp" as used in the Federal and State codes. I never found one (which doesn't mean the definition doesn't exist). So in that case, a Court would go with the standard dictionary definition, which could be as broad as "any artificial source of light."

In the end, if you don't mind the hassle, some prosecutor somewhere will have to find a statute he thinks applies and prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.
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