Reflectors and the Law... - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-22-2009, 11:29 PM Thread Starter
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Reflectors and the Law...

Okay, I just got new softbags installed on my bike. They cover up both the side reflectors. Is this illegal? I know that every bike is suppose to have reflectors, but to be honest I can't remember seeing any bike with reflectors and soft bags.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 12:22 AM
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I've been hearing lots of reports on other forums that the Seattle area police revenue generators are out in extreme force and have been ticketing folks with no or obscured reflectors. I myself went up to Seattle this past weekend and didn't have any problems (I actually needed to take my red reflectors off to make all my mounting brackets work for my stock hard bags and Givi trunk rack).

If I get pulled over for this, my response will be that I do in fact have side red markers, they wrap around a bit on the bags. This should be no different than many of the cars on the road that don't have side markers because the brake light lens wraps around.

I will, however, be adding some reflective tape to the inside of the lens when I install the LED kits from AdMoreLighting this week. Just to give my answer more justification with any potential run in with a picky "law enforcement" revenue generator.
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 01:48 AM
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Reflectors aren't required everywhere, however:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=46.37.060

Technically, in WA they are. Most places don't seem to pay much attention to stuff beyond what is mentioned in: http://www.amadirectlink.com/legisltn/laws.asp

However, cops in the big urban centers of greater PDX and Seattle tend to look a little closer. You could always re-attach the reflectors by poking holes in some webbing on the bags that backing the nuts with fender washers or just get some new ones to mount on the bags.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sexytacoman View Post
Okay, I just got new softbags installed on my bike. They cover up both the side reflectors. Is this illegal? I know that every bike is suppose to have reflectors, but to be honest I can't remember seeing any bike with reflectors and soft bags.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks
I'm not a US rider, so its just a guess......
given that Kawasaki had to recall V35 panniers to fit reflectors suggests to me the US laws says you must have side reflectors visible. Kawasaki selling a bike specific product (ie when fitted their OEM bags broke that law) recognised they had to do something or they would be in breach of that law and (I assume) liable to fines

I would guess the same law would apply to other suppliers of panniers whether soft or hard. however presumably the soft pannier manufacturers have a bit more wriggle room because they are supplying stuff which is not bike specific so they could argue that its up to the user to make sure the reflectors are visible. of course it could just be that Kawasaki is a bigger organisation to go after and so only Kawasaki have fallen foul of this law as its not worth some scumbag going after a smaller organisation. it may be that this law only applies to original equipment sold by the manufacturer or their agent.

but ultimately its just supposition
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 02:31 PM
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It is a DOT rule for motorcycles, but it isn't enforced in some states.

Ohio Troopers will notice, but rarely write a ticket for such, as they have a tendency to harass each other for what they call, "Chicken **** pinch" and will get you for the more serious offenses.

Now if you get busted for a serious offense, you can be sure every little infraction will be noted.

However, I'm interested in how this incident will work out.

http://www.fox8.com/news/sns-ap-oh--...,1872142.story

One of our state troopers was busted at 147 mph on a motorcycle while off duty.

Maloy
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 02:46 PM
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It's a DOT requirement, as Maloy mentioned above (not just for bikes, car must have them too). I agree that in most places, no officers will even give them a second look, but there are always exceptions. I've been hearing first hand accounts in the Seattle, Portland and even Eugene area about tickets issued for missing reflectors.

You may note that the Kawasaki branded Givi's come with reflectors. You can add some reflective material to the bag if you are worried about getting a ticket.

Gustavo


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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 03:23 PM
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I added some self adhesive reflectors to my TraX panniers and to the bike just above where the original reflectors were for a total of $2.00 from Harbor Freight. That gave me a total of 8 reflectors as they were on sale. Two on the side of the panniers, two on the back of the panniers and two on the bike leaving me two spare in the event they come off.

However, they have been on for over 1,000 miles and no sign that they will come off easily.

I had to do that has some of my friends are law enforcement and they would get on me about, "Knowing better". This is usually payback from me fixing/cleaning some of their personal firearms and asking if they dragged it behind the cruiser, or used it as a hammer.



Maloy
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions and replys. I did some more research about my local Washington State law. Here is what I found...

RCW 46.37.525
Motorcycles and motor-driven cycles — Tail lamps, reflectors, and stop lamps.

(1) Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall have at least one tail lamp which shall be located at a height of not more than seventy-two nor less than fifteen inches.

(2) Either a tail lamp or a separate lamp shall be so constructed and placed as to illuminate with a white light the rear registration plate and render it clearly legible from a distance of fifty feet to the rear. Any tail lamp or tail lamps, together with any separate lamp or lamps for illuminating the rear registration plate, shall be so wired as to be lighted whenever the head lamps or auxiliary driving lamps are lighted.

(3) Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall carry on the rear, either as part of the tail lamp or separately, at least one red reflector meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.060.

(4) Every motorcycle and motor-driven cycle shall be equipped with at least one stop lamp meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.070.

The only thing stated here is that I need one on the back of the bike. I've check out the other laws about reflectors on vehicles and couldn't find anything that said that a motorcycle needed one on the sides. However, even if I don't get busted in WA state, doesn't mean when I won't get busted going through other states. So I'm going to get some reflective tape put on anyways.

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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Maloy,

You are definetly right. I Googled DOT J594f, January 1977 and it states...

On the rear—1 red on the vertical centerline except that, if two are used on the rear, they shall be symmetrically disposed about the vertical centerline.
Not less than 15 inches, nor more than 60 inches. On each side—1 red as far to the rear as practicable, and 1 amber as far to the front as practicable.

But does that only apply to the way they are manufactured? Reguardless, I'm getting some reflective tape.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 04:22 PM
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All bikes of the year enacted or later must meet this requirement. Right now with the panniers on or off, I meet the requirement. I didn't have to do the two in the back, but making the back of the bike more visible can't hurt.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 05:08 PM
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The side reflectors look like they were hung on as an afterthought, are butt ugly, and detract from the styling. I took them off. I'm not convinced that they do any good, anyway.

The feds require certain equipment on all vehicles sold in this country. After that, it's up to each state to deal with it. Most equipment violation citations are "fixit tickets". Fix the problem and have the local cop shop sign off on it. No points, no fine. Most departments have more important things to do than write chickens**t reflector citations. At least they do around here.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 08:04 PM
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I guess Buell cares about covering the side reflector with their buell branded soft saddle bags.



State laws can vary greatly and most cops don't know all of the 4 wheeled vehicle laws. Motorcycles are a minority so they don't know the laws.

In VT if you are riding a motorcycle you are supposed to have 4 sq. inches of reflective material on each side of your helmet. I have yet to see any riders complying to this law. I also have not seen any cops pull people over for it. I even got 2 motorcycle VIN's checked by the local police. The officer that did it had all the opportunity to look at my helmet and I didn't hear a peep out of him about the lack of reflective material.


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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 08:55 PM
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If you want to keep your refectors, simply relocate them like I did. It's a direct swap.

Last edited by mcrider; 07-23-2009 at 09:21 PM.
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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-23-2009, 10:58 PM
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Regardless of the law...

Whether the law requires it or not, I want to be as visible as possible from all sides, especially at night. All of the stickers on my panniers are reflective and they really light up when hit by light at night. I commute at night and want to be certain that the drunks that are out joy-riding see me as quickly as possible.


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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-24-2009, 06:35 AM
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Since I am not a big fan of stickers on my vehicles, I added the black reflective tape to the back of my cases. Seems to work pretty well.


Steve

I bought a motorcycle because my wife said that I couldn't! Now I have two and she still says I can't have another one!
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Sounds like a challenge to me!

Now I have four!
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Last edited by sharrison56; 07-24-2009 at 06:37 AM.
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