/ Tips & Advice

Here's why riding with busted lights is a recipe for disaster

Here are a few guidelines to follow.

Triumph Rocket 3

As motorcycles age, wears and tear and the process of repair becomes a natural cycle of motorcycle ownership. While a motorcycle is generally a very robust machine, there are still some items that may not fall into the category of consumables. Instead, wear parts are often the first items to be damaged during accidents, and are often the parts of your motorcycle which protrude out the most: handlebar grips, handlebars, mirrors, fairings, and your lighting system. While riding to the repair shop with a torn handlebar grip, scratched fairings, or a slightly cracked mirror might still be doable, your lighting system is a different story.

Your motorcycle’s lighting system is one of the most important components of your motorcycle for a few reasons, but one of the most important ones is that it makes your relatively slim and compact motorcycle a little bit more visible to motorists and pedestrians—it is literally the most important component of your motorcycle in making you seen. As such, riding with busted lights can put you in some serious danger, and here’s why you should attend to repairing your lights as soon as you find an issue.

Hazardous to motorists

Triumph Speedmaster

The most important reason is that it is hazardous to ride with a busted lighting system. As mentioned in a previous paragraph, your headlight, taillight, and turn indicators do a considerable amount of work in practical visibility. Without an illuminated bulb to demand attention from fellow motorists, a motorcycle and its rider can very easily disappear into the peripheral vision of drivers and pedestrians. Your lighting system is meant to keep you safe and visible to the public—a much-needed safety net for an otherwise small machine.

Riding out with a busted lighting system can very easily put other people in harm's way—pedestrians who might get in your way unknowingly, drivers who may swerve into you, and fellow motorcyclists who may not see you turning or braking. Riding without a working lighting system is hazardous and can very easily pose a threat to your life and the life of others.

It’s illegal

Triumph Daytona

Riding without a working lighting system is not only hazardous—it’s also illegal and is something you can be penalized for. According to Chapter III Article IV of the Republic Act No. 4136, the lighting system of your motorcycle must be operable if you would like to use it on public roads. Busted lights that remain inoperable are a clear violation of this law and will be grounds for penalties. The act also states that:

  • Headlights must be able to direct downwards, must have a yellow or white color only, and must not blink or have a blinker mode.
  • Taillights must also not have a blinker mode, and can only bear the color red.
  • Turn signal lights can only be in orange, yellow, or amber color.
  • Brake lights can only activate upon engaging the front or rear brakes, must be placed at the rear of the motorcycle and must be at least 5 times more luminous than the taillights without brakes engaged.
  • Plate number lights must also be wired in a way that they cannot be turned off from the driver’s seat and must make the plate number visible at night.

Maintenance is cheap insurance

Triumph Street Triple

At the end of it all, simple maintenance can greatly outweigh the practical and legal costs of negligence. Get that bulb fixed, get that signal light repaired, get that lamp rewired. You will be doing yourself and your community a favor by attending to a maintenance task that will cost you far less than what a ticket might—after all, maintenance is cheap insurance in that spending a bit to keep your motorcycle healthy today will help prevent larger costs down the line.

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