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Discussion Starter #1
I was pulled over by the police on my way to work this morining. The officer told me had pulled me over because the headlight was flashing. He asked me why it was flashing and I told him I had installed a modulator. So why do you need a modulator, he asks. So other motorists can see me, I replied. I told the officer that the modulator is legal per federal law, and he told me he had no knowledge of this and that he had never seen it before on a motorcycle. He let me go without a ticket or a warning. He told me he would check with the office to make sure it was legal in case he saw me again :)
 

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Print this it may help next time..

This Federal law supersedes all state laws and makes motorcycle headlight modulators legal in all 50 states. FMVSS 108 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) (49 CFR Part 571.108 S7.9.4) allows motorcycle headlight modulation systems all 50 states provided they comply with the standards set forth in this section. Title 49 USC 30103 (b1) (US Codes) prohibits any state from forbidding a system that conforms to FMVSS 108. Click here to see the regulation.

Code of Federal Regulation - Title 49, Volume 5, Parts 400 to 999 - Revised as of October 1, 2000
From the U.S. Government Printing Office via GPO Access [CITE: 49CFR571.108] [Page 236-307]
TITLE 49: TRANSPORTATION - CHAPTER V, NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 571, FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS - Subpart B--Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards - Sec. 571.108 Standard No. 108;

Lamps, reflective devices, and associated equipment - S7.9.4 Motorcycle headlamp modulation system.
S7.9.4.1 A headlamp on a motorcycle may be wired to modulate either the upper beam or the lower beam from its maximum intensity to a
lesser intensity, provided that:

(a) The rate of modulation shall be 240 <plus-minus> 40 cycles per minute.
(b) The headlamp shall be operated at maximum power for 50 to 70 percent of each cycle.
(c) The lowest intensity at any test point shall be not less than 17 percent of the maximum intensity measured at the same point.
(d) The modulator switch shall be wired in the power lead of the beam filament being modulated and not in the ground side of the circuit.
(e) Means shall be provided so that both the lower beam and upper beam remain operable in the event of a modulator failure.
(f) The system shall include a sensor mounted with the axis of its sensing element perpendicular to a horizontal plane. Headlamp modulation shall cease whenever the level of light emitted by a tungsten filament light operating at 3000 deg. Kelvin is either less than 270 lux (25 foot-candles) of direct light for upward pointing sensors or less than 60 lux (5.6 foot-candles) of reflected light for downward pointing sensors. The light is measured by a silicon cell type light meter that is located at the sensor and pointing in the same direction as the sensor. A Kodak Gray Card (Kodak R-27) is placed at ground level to simulate the road surface in testing downward pointing sensors.
(g) When tested in accordance with the test profile shown in Figure 9, the voltage drop across the modulator when the lamp is on at all test conditions for 12 volt systems and 6 volt systems shall not be greater than .45 volt. The modulator shall meet all the provisions of the standard after completion of the test profile shown in Figure 9.
(h) Means shall be provided so that both the lower and upper beam function at design voltage when the headlamp control switch is in either the lower or upper beam position when the modulator is off.

S7.9.4.2(a) Each motorcycle headlamp modulator not intended as original equipment, or its container, shall be labeled with the maximum
wattage, and the minimum wattage appropriate for its use. Additionally, each such modulator shall comply with S7.9.4.1 (a) through (g)
when connected to a headlamp of the maximum rated power and a headlamp of the minimum rated power, and shall provide means so
that the modulated beam functions at design voltage when the modulator is off.

(b) Instructions, with a diagram, shall be provided for mounting the light sensor including location on the motorcycle, distance above the
road surface, and orientation with respect to the light.


Happy trails... Mark..
 

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Well this may sound like a silly question but why would you want to signal distress to everyone, flashing your headlight has always been a distress signal recognized by many, it's one of those unwritten rules of the road,
also some police use a wiggle waggle headlight ( flashing high low )

So of course the cop would stop you to see whats the matter or to check you out for having a wiggle waggle

I feel this is not a good item to add to a motorcycle, in theory it sounds good but it goes against the rules of the road
 

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HansS said:
I was pulled over by the police on my way to work this morining. The officer told me had pulled me over because the headlight was flashing. He asked me why it was flashing and I told him I had installed a modulator. So why do you need a modulator, he asks. So other motorists can see me, I replied. I told the officer that the modulator is legal per federal law, and he told me he had no knowledge of this and that he had never seen it before on a motorcycle. He let me go without a ticket or a warning. He told me he would check with the office to make sure it was legal in case he saw me again :)
My wife and I both carry laminated copies of the webBikeWorld regulations page because I like the "preamble" at the top. We've got the specs from the modulator on the back side -- just in case we have to prove that our modulators comply. Carrying these is, afaik, the best way to prevent being pulled over for the modulator.
 

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Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.

itsjustme said:
I thought Ignorance of the law was no excuse...
Guess that doesn't apply the other way does it!!
You have NO idea how much that pisses me off. :evil: The average citizen is expected to know every f'ing law, thousands of pages of laws, yet the po-po aren't. What is up with that? I have friends who are LEO and former LEO, and they're cool and all that, but sometimes some LEO think they've got all the answers, as if they're <gulp> attorneys or something, and dammit, they're not.
 

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Motorcycles are "hobby" vehicles on US roads. Unless a law enforcment officer is a rider, expect him/her to know very little (or care) about motorcycles in general.

In 2004, there were 5.7 million registered motorcycles out of 243 million total registered passenger vehicles, or under 3% according to a Wikipedia article. Obviously, law enforcement agencies in areas with higher concentrations of riders (Myrtle Beach, Daytona, etc) have more exposure than police in other areas, and are likely to be more familiar (and often less forgiving) with motorcycle regulations.
 

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Seamaiden said:
Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.

itsjustme said:
I thought Ignorance of the law was no excuse...
Guess that doesn't apply the other way does it!!
You have NO idea how much that pisses me off. :evil: The average citizen is expected to know every f'ing law, thousands of pages of laws, yet the po-po aren't. What is up with that? I have friends who are LEO and former LEO, and they're cool and all that, but sometimes some LEO think they've got all the answers, as if they're <gulp> attorneys or something, and dammit, they're not.
The police are expected to know the law, as are all civilians. That is how the system works. Ignorance of the relevant facts/circumstances etc. can cause problems across the board in lots of jobs, not just police.

Anyway, this particular LEO didn't write him a ticket, did he? I think modulators are worth the risk of an occasional, if unnecessary chat with the police and plan on adding one to my ride ASAP.

- Dan
 

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Dan K said:
Seamaiden said:
Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.

itsjustme said:
I thought Ignorance of the law was no excuse...
Guess that doesn't apply the other way does it!!
You have NO idea how much that pisses me off. :evil: The average citizen is expected to know every f'ing law, thousands of pages of laws, yet the po-po aren't. What is up with that? I have friends who are LEO and former LEO, and they're cool and all that, but sometimes some LEO think they've got all the answers, as if they're <gulp> attorneys or something, and dammit, they're not.
The police are expected to know the law, as are all civilians. That is how the system works. Ignorance of the relevant facts/circumstances etc. can cause problems across the board in lots of jobs, not just police.

Anyway, this particular LEO didn't write him a ticket, did he? I think modulators are worth the risk of an occasional, if unnecessary chat with the police and plan on adding one to my ride ASAP.

- Dan
Yeah,
I thought I read the o.p. correctly and that their was NO ticket.
So the cop learned something. Sounds like he wasn't a dick about it. Why the outrage?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I thought I read the o.p. correctly and that their was NO ticket.
So the cop learned something. Sounds like he wasn't a dick about it
You're right. No ticket or warning. We actually had a nice conversation. He didn't even ask for my license/insurance card.
 

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TechJD said:
Well this may sound like a silly question but why would you want to signal distress to everyone, flashing your headlight has always been a distress signal recognized by many, it's one of those unwritten rules of the road,
also some police use a wiggle waggle headlight ( flashing high low )

So of course the cop would stop you to see whats the matter or to check you out for having a wiggle waggle

I feel this is not a good item to add to a motorcycle, in theory it sounds good but it goes against the rules of the road
That's a good point. I've heard people with modulators say that drivers in front of them have actually pulled over (presumably because they thought a motocop was stopping them). I think that is the idea behind the headlight modulator "NOTICE ME!!"

If another driver is confused or annoyed by the flashing headlight, that means they noticed the rider, for better or worse, and likely won't be running him over.

If the flashing light so annoyed the other motorist that they follow the rider to give him a beating, well that's when the ball-peen modulator becomes useful. :)
 

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Seamaiden said:
Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.
Yeah, of course it does! You and I both know that we only get stopped when were NOT prepared for it. Somehow those LEOs just know when you're ready and able to defend yourself.
 

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Maverick750 said:
TechJD said:
Well this may sound like a silly question but why would you want to signal distress to everyone, flashing your headlight has always been a distress signal recognized by many, it's one of those unwritten rules of the road,
also some police use a wiggle waggle headlight ( flashing high low )

So of course the cop would stop you to see whats the matter or to check you out for having a wiggle waggle

I feel this is not a good item to add to a motorcycle, in theory it sounds good but it goes against the rules of the road
That's a good point. I've heard people with modulators say that drivers in front of them have actually pulled over (presumably because they thought a motocop was stopping them). I think that is the idea behind the headlight modulator "NOTICE ME!!"
One reason I have no plans to install a modulator is that I do not want the traffic ahead of me slowing and stacking up--it increases my chance of being greased from behind. I prefer less confusing methods of visibility such as regular head/driving lights and bright clothing.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I have not seen anyone slowing down or flashing their lights because of the modulator, but I have seen people changing their mind about pulling out from a driveway or intersection. That doesn't mean you shouldn't SEE. A "blind" cager will always be a "blind" cager and you shouldn't assume that everybody will see YOU because you have a modulator.

Ride Safe
 

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TechJD said:
Well this may sound like a silly question but why would you want to signal distress to everyone, flashing your headlight has always been a distress signal recognized by many, it's one of those unwritten rules of the road,

Distress? I've never heard of it as a distress.

Most of the time, flashing your lights, you are telling someone to "go ahead"
as if you are allowing them to turn in front of you.

It also means, some type of law enforcement is head.... it's a warning.

Flashing from behind means, "I'm going to pass you".

I've never heard of using it as "I need help"
 

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Howie said:
Dan K said:
Seamaiden said:
Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.

itsjustme said:
I thought Ignorance of the law was no excuse...
Guess that doesn't apply the other way does it!!
You have NO idea how much that pisses me off. :evil: The average citizen is expected to know every f'ing law, thousands of pages of laws, yet the po-po aren't. What is up with that? I have friends who are LEO and former LEO, and they're cool and all that, but sometimes some LEO think they've got all the answers, as if they're <gulp> attorneys or something, and dammit, they're not.
The police are expected to know the law, as are all civilians. That is how the system works. Ignorance of the relevant facts/circumstances etc. can cause problems across the board in lots of jobs, not just police.

Anyway, this particular LEO didn't write him a ticket, did he? I think modulators are worth the risk of an occasional, if unnecessary chat with the police and plan on adding one to my ride ASAP.

- Dan
Yeah,
I thought I read the o.p. correctly and that their was NO ticket.
So the cop learned something. Sounds like he wasn't a dick about it. Why the outrage?
Why the outrage? Either they don't like cops or they think ignorance SHOULD be an acceptable excuse for breaking the law. But even many judges and attorneys do not have all of the state and federal laws pertaining to traffic laws memorized. While an attorney usually has time to look up the law prior to going into the courtroom for a particular case, and a judge will sometimes take a recess during a trial in order to research the law, a cop often has to decide at a moment's notice whether or not a stop will be made. Some states (including mine) make it clear in their traffic statutes that flashing lights are prohibited under state law. In this case, however, federal law supercedes the state law. Generally, states are allowed to make traffic laws that are more restrictive than federal laws, but the law regarding modulating headlights is an exception that few outside the motorcycle community are aware of. If you have the opportunity, you might ask a prosecutor, defense attorney, or judge about modulating headlights. You will probably find that they are just as "clueless" as the cops.
 

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gyjoe said:
Howie said:
Dan K said:
Seamaiden said:
Carrying those pieces prevent you from being pulled over? :lol: Sorry.. just had to, I'll shut up now I know what you meant.

itsjustme said:
I thought Ignorance of the law was no excuse...
Guess that doesn't apply the other way does it!!
You have NO idea how much that pisses me off. :evil: The average citizen is expected to know every f'ing law, thousands of pages of laws, yet the po-po aren't. What is up with that? I have friends who are LEO and former LEO, and they're cool and all that, but sometimes some LEO think they've got all the answers, as if they're <gulp> attorneys or something, and dammit, they're not.
The police are expected to know the law, as are all civilians. That is how the system works. Ignorance of the relevant facts/circumstances etc. can cause problems across the board in lots of jobs, not just police.

Anyway, this particular LEO didn't write him a ticket, did he? I think modulators are worth the risk of an occasional, if unnecessary chat with the police and plan on adding one to my ride ASAP.

- Dan
Yeah,
I thought I read the o.p. correctly and that their was NO ticket.
So the cop learned something. Sounds like he wasn't a dick about it. Why the outrage?
Why the outrage? Either they don't like cops or they think ignorance SHOULD be an acceptable excuse for breaking the law. But even many judges and attorneys do not have all of the state and federal laws pertaining to traffic laws memorized. While an attorney usually has time to look up the law prior to going into the courtroom for a particular case, and a judge will sometimes take a recess during a trial in order to research the law, a cop often has to decide at a moment's notice whether or not a stop will be made. Some states (including mine) make it clear in their traffic statutes that flashing lights are prohibited under state law. In this case, however, federal law supercedes the state law. Generally, states are allowed to make traffic laws that are more restrictive than federal laws, but the law regarding modulating headlights is an exception that few outside the motorcycle community are aware of. If you have the opportunity, you might ask a prosecutor, defense attorney, or judge about modulating headlights. You will probably find that they are just as "clueless" as the cops.
I agree - the people outraged either don't like cops, think ignorance of the law should be an excuse, or have other reasons they don't want police around (i.e. carrying a weapon or other contraband).

I also agree that most in law enforcement don't have a clue about the federal law permitting modulators, let alone the applciable state laws that may preclude them. When I was a prosecutor, I started in traffic court trying DUI cases. You can imagine all of the assortment of tickets that cops write that go with DUI's, many times to explain why they pulled them over (97% or more DUI violations are the result of some bad or tecnically illegal driving). Never saw a flashing light ticket, and never knew until I got into riding again that there was a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provision regarding modulators on motorcycles.

I prefer the danger of a someone seeing / being aware of me and misperceiving why my headlight is flashing as opposed to the danger of someone having no clue I am on the road....

- Dan
 

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I don't know every rule and formula for my job. As long as the officer was polite and understanding, he was doing his job. Cops are still just people.
 
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