RANT – Dipped Beams Please

23rd July 2014 by  in Rants & Raves

This week I’ve been acting as the family’s, “one man and an estate car”, delivering one daughter and a % of her stuff to her new flat in London, collecting another and all her stuff from Newcastle, and then up to Edinburgh to scout for accommodation for our youngest – I’m knackered!

Car full of stuff

These journeys have required the full capacity of the car, and in one instance, the trailer had to be called into service. So, no motorbike, merely rather tedious slogs up and down the M1, A1, A68, A7, A701, M6, & A65. Being confined to four wheels for these journeys and approaching the verge of losing the will to live, (how do long distance commuters cope with such tedium, dangerous tedium, day after day?), I reverted to playing mind stretching games in order to remain alert. For example, could I identify an approaching bike by the pattern of its headlights/spot lights, (GS Adventures are all too easy!), before other clues presented themselves?

And, in the process of playing this particular game, I realised that a significant number of motorcyclists ride with their full beams activated, day or night. I’m aware that there is some research around a perceived increase in, “SMIDSY”, RTIs as a result of drivers failing to accurately assess an on coming motorcycle’s distance and approach speed due to being dazzled by a bike’s main beam, day and night.

My experience would lead me to recommend that we utilise dipped beams during daylight hours, and main beam at night when no approaching traffic is visible.


Because despite actively seeking out motorcycles I was sometimes unable either to identify the bike, or assess its approach speed accurately, because its main beam was too bright – obscuring the bike’s outline and thereby making a judgement of how close it was and how fast it was travelling problematic.

Motorcycle main beam

If a fellow biker actively looking for you is experiencing difficulty in accurately judging what you are, where you are, and how fast you are travelling, then what hope is there for your average, “Reginald Molehusband*”?

And, as for the daughters and their chattels – they are all where they should be, all have enough stuff to be getting on with and I can revert to two wheels again – bliss!

All the best, Jim.