Blinded by the Dim, Blue Light

Something scared the hell out of me the other evening. I was on taxi duty, bringing my daughter and a few of her friends to a party, when I pulled out of a street onto a main road and severely underestimated the distance of an approaching motorbike.

It was mid-twilight, you know, mostly dark at eye level but with a half-bright blue sky, headlights definitely required on the road. The problem was the motorcyclist’s idea of a headlight: blue LED’s. Not sure if it’s just me with my short-sighted eyes which the glasses do a good job of correcting, but I find those blue LED’s very hard to focus on and therefore it is difficult to judge their distance.

As I pulled up, I saw the light, dimmer than expected, and the wrong colour for a headlight, and thought was it was a blue reflector marking the site of a fire hydrant further up near the bend. Must simply be another light shining off it from somewhere, I figured.

After I slowed and began pulling out I realised it was moving, and there was the silhouette of the rider around the reflector… light. And he was close enough that I should probably get out of his way.

In the end there was no collision but it was a closer call than I would have liked. It still got my back up.

Have you seen these blue “headlights”? Are they and should they be legal? On motorcycles? How about on cars?

Does anyone else who wears glasses have trouble with blue LED’s?

Thoughts and comments appreciated. 🙂

11 thoughts on “Blinded by the Dim, Blue Light

  1. Nicola Higgins

    If there’s one thing I hate more than any other, it’s invisible cyclists. I’ve never particularly noticed a problem with motorcycles, but pedal bikes… They are another matter entirely.

    I cycle myself, and at night I do it with bright lights on my bike (and often helmet too) and a reflective jacket. I just can’t understand people who don’t want to be seen! Are they trying to get killed?

    I saw someone the other day wearing black, with no lights, going the wrong way down a one way street. It drives me mad!

    (Rant over!)

  2. Vanessa Chapman

    I haven’t seen those kind of lights over here in the UK, but I do sometimes find it difficult to judge approaching speed at night when I look at headlights, I tend to over rather than underestimate though which is better, even if I do sit waiting at junctions for an embarassingly long amount of time when there would have been room for about 6 buses to pull out!

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Better safe than sorry! The more I think about it, I’m sure this guy wasn’t trying to use his fancy new LED’s as headlights because they would have been totally useless. He probably just wanted to look cool. Darwin Award candidates are not cool. 😉

    1. Richard Leonard Post author

      Cool, thanks for that.
      *goes off and reads it… comes back*
      Okay, so, with respect to the verb you ask “what” for the direct object and “to whom/what” for the indirect object.
      What’s still not clear to me is the rationale behind those associations. I need a way to understand the reasoning behind this. It seems a bit arbitrary to me. If it had have been the other way around I would very likely ask the same question! 🙂

  3. Carrie Rubin

    I don’t have great night vision, and as such, I find it difficult to gauge the distance of oncoming lights. And I agree–those blue lights make it all the more challenging.

    Thanks for stopping by my site. I appreciate it. 🙂


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