The reason behind daytime headlight laws

Should one ask a motorcyclist why their bike is equipped with a headlight, the answer would almost undoubtedly be due to the illumination that it offers when riding at night. Yet surprisingly, many states have begun to pass laws requiring that motorcyclists keep their headlights illuminated during the day. Indeed, in Section 55-8-164(b) of Tennessee's Code and Constitution, it states that motorcyclists must keep their headlight turned at all times. One might question the logic behind this law, as motorcyclists in Shelby typically have no trouble seeing where they are going during the day. Yet in the context of this law, the main emphasis is not on helping them to see, but rather helping them be seen. 

One of the more common answers given in response to how a motorist came to collide with a motorcyclist is that the driver of the vehicle couldn't see the motorcycle approaching. It is true that the combination of the relatively smaller size of motorcycles and the visual limitations imposed by vehicle blind spots can make motorcyclists difficult to see, yet that does not take away the need to be vigilant from motorists. At the same time, however, motorcyclists should take whatever measures are needed to make themselves more visible. Keeping their headlights running at all times does that. In fact, information compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that one study in daytime motorcycle headlight use yielded a 23 percent reduction in opposite-direction collisions. 

For those concerned that leaving their motorcycle headlight on at all times might damage their bike's electrical system, comfort can come from knowing that according to the American Motorcyclist Association, the use of modulating headlights is permitted in Tennessee. 

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