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Old 19th October 2015, 08:53   #1
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Default Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

All Two-Wheelers are expected to get Auto Headlamps from April 2017 as part of the Safety Measures the Government is planning to implement.

The Auto Headlamps On (AHO) feature is similar to DRL's in cars which turn on as soon as the car is started with no way to turn off. The difference from DRL is that DRL is in addition to the regular head lights. This AHO feature is for the main head light. This means the lights turn on as soon as the engine is started and there will no switch to turn off the lights.

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The ministry has already finalized the norm with the objective to reduce accidents involving two-wheelers, after consulting with all the two-wheeler manufacturers. The AHO feature as the name suggest switches on the headlamps as soon as the engine is turned on. These lamps can be turned off only when the engine is switched off as there will not be any specific switch to switch off these lights.

Sources have informed that the transport minister Nitin Gadkari has already received a detailed presentation from Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) after the proposal was accepted by the panel which sets the vehicle safety standards. The sources also informed that the Supreme Court appointed committee is also pushing the proposal in favor of the feature, looking at and giving examples of its beneficial significance in other various parts of the world where this feature is already in place, especially Europe where this feature was adopted in 2003.

Experts from Automotive safety have said that this AHO feature has improved conspicuity of two-wheelers throughout the day from dawn to dusk and also that this can be enhanced just by varying and optimizing the luminosity and intensity of the lamp’s color if necessary. The importance of such feature in India comes from the data collected by the government showing how in the two-wheeler segment alone 32,524 people were killed and another 1,27,452 injured in crashes the previous year.
Personally, wonder if this will have a benefit in a country like India. It may make sense in other parts of the world where the bike population is lower and visibility can be a concern. But here, the 2 wheeler population over whelms everything else. So is conspicuity really a concern in India? Will having the headlight on during a hot summer afternoon make any difference in visibility? Of course makes sense during the low visibility dawn and dusk periods.

Another feature being worked on is an emergency alarm.

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Along with AHO, the government is also working on another feature which would create a specific type of noise which would alert the people or police officials nearby of any accidents. This feature is being given importance as the current response time to help people involved in any crash is still not quick enough and that this response time would be longer in remote areas. Officials said that in India, sounding a horn automatically after a crash would not sound abnormal to commuters or police officials, hence a different method needs to be figured out to alarm people of any accidents in their surroundings.
Again, the question would be whether the delay in response time is due to a delay in noticing an accident or whether it is due to the general poor emergency response infrastructure in India.

Source: Motorbeam

Last edited by Rajeevraj : 19th October 2015 at 09:10.
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Old 19th October 2015, 09:04   #2
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Great move, a DRL will go a long way in improving biker visibility. I have seen the difference in the past couple of years since I started riding with the DRL on all the time. Most new bikes have a DRL as standard, although it's not auto-on. It will take some years for the pedestrians to stop making obscene looking gestures to tell you that your headlamps are on, though. Anyone know of this emergency alarm idea being used anywhere else in the world?

Last edited by anilp : 19th October 2015 at 09:05.
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Old 19th October 2015, 10:01   #3
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
So is conspicuity really a concern in India? Will having the headlight on during a hot summer afternoon make any difference in visibility? Of course makes sense during the low visibility dawn and dusk periods.
Thanks for sharing this article mate. It is a great move indeed.

Sitting in 2015 in India with outdated & non existent laws and consequently a low awareness level, it is natural to compare this law with the DRL law which indeed was borne out of low visibility conditions in Scandinavian countries. But in fact DRL's are counterproductive to the motorcycle headlamp law according to some road safety experts.

The fact is that motorcycle-headlamp-always-on law pre-dates the DRLs by at least a few decades in most countries. It was not introduced with low visibility conditions in mind but to improve the conspicuousness of a rider on the highways to motorists in relation to other traffic. There are some psychological reasons why motorists fail to see motorcycle riders in their RVMs.

For example, in UK, AHO was made mandatory only in 2007-08, but the headlamp always on rule had been in place since the 70's.

Secondly, since most motorcycle headlamp are a few inches higher than a typical 4 wheeler, say a sedan, this rule was seen to help in reducing 'right of way' violations by motorists and in increasing a biker's visibility in closer proximity conditions.

(Of course NO ONE ELSE of lesser kerb weight has any right of way in the minds of say, Delhi motorists, so this law is a bit hard to grasp for a lot of motorists in our country )

Lastly, my message to the authorities would be - please don't wait for a piece of technology for this important safety rule, implement it right away.
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Old 19th October 2015, 11:05   #4
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

This is good news, especially late evenings when bikes are nearly invisible especially in areas with tree cover. I wish automatic headlamps were complusory too, many car drivers drive around after sunset with no lights on depending on street lights, its absolutely dangerous especially for pedestrians. Another thing I'd like to have is to have reflective tape across the width of trucks. The muck makes them invisible and working tail lamps are a distant dream, keeping a strip of tape clean isn't asking too much.
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Old 19th October 2015, 11:15   #5
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by Rajeevraj View Post
Personally, wonder if this will have a benefit in a country like India. It may make sense in other parts of the world where the bike population is lower and visibility can be a concern. But here, the 2 wheeler population over whelms everything else. So is conspicuity really a concern in India? Will having the headlight on during a hot summer afternoon make any difference in visibility? Of course makes sense during the low visibility dawn and dusk periods.
You have summed up my questions about this perfectly well here. Mentally, we Indians are geared to look for powered and unpowered two-wheelers at all times and in the unlikeliest of places!

The safety that this measure will offer for dawn/dusk alone should help justify it. Also, there's practically no cost associated with this (to the manufacturer), so it shouldn't result in a higher sale price for the customer.

That said, it doesn't matter if a lakh two-wheelers are sold with AHO, all it takes is one pre-2017 moped running the wrong way on a highway that can wreck lives.

Note that there are two types of auto-headlamp on:
  1. 1. Simply turn the headlight on, in low beam
  2. 2. Modulate the intensity periodically - this has a modulator fitted to vary the intensity of the headlamp. The rationale for this is with the advent of DRLs, a turned on headlamp is harder to spot, so vary the intensity.
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Old 19th October 2015, 11:16   #6
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

It is a very good move, but also depends on whether bikers diligently repair the DRL when it conks out. I see many bikers without a working brake-light, even when it is so cheap to repair.
I think the cheapest way to incorporate this is to implement car-like park lights (always on, and can be made a little brighter, for easier spotting).

Last edited by jinojohnt : 19th October 2015 at 11:20.
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Old 19th October 2015, 11:30   #7
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

A biker with a head lamp on is definitely easier to spot on highways. I always ride with my headlamps on when riding on highways.

Manufacturers can include a high wattage LED in the pilot lamps and turn them on instead of headlamps. Would be sufficient in making the two wheeler more noticeable .
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Old 19th October 2015, 14:45   #8
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

Somewhat related to this thread: why do people in India gesture to you when your bike headlights are switched on during the day time?
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Old 19th October 2015, 15:03   #9
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Somewhat related to this thread: why do people in India gesture to you when your bike headlights are switched on during the day time?
It will be an amusing scenario watching the "hey-your-headlight-is-on-brigade" gesturing to bikers left, right and center trying to get them to switch the headlights off.

With all 2 wheelers running headlights all the time, they will have a field day initially until they are aware of the provision.
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Old 19th October 2015, 15:48   #10
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

Excellent move! Forget bikes, I even keep the low beam of my cars on whenever I drive on the highway. It greatly improves your visibility to others at junctions, in their rear view mirrors etc.

From my highway safety article:

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Always keep your low beam and fog lamps on, even during the day. It greatly increases your visibility to fellow road users. Being seen is as important as seeing others.
Just hope someone figures out how to force bikers to keep their tail-lamps on at night. There are too many idiots riding invisible at night.
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Old 19th October 2015, 16:21   #11
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Just hope someone figures out how to force bikers to keep their tail-lamps on at night. There are too many idiots riding invisible at night.
The only way to ensure that is to invent a bulb that never fuses.
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Old 19th October 2015, 16:34   #12
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Talking Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by ebonho View Post
The only way to ensure that is to invent a bulb that never fuses.

Or, a bike that will not run without the bulb glowing
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Old 19th October 2015, 17:02   #13
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017


While the Govt is bringing all these regulations which are welcome, why cant they do something on the blinding headlights ? They should have some non-tamper proof, auto dimmer switch which should be mandated, and some other check which ensures the wattage/ brightness is within limits. This is getting serious with more and more drivers forgetting that there is low beam position as well. For last couple of weeks, have been checking the bikes and cars around at the signals, and I can count how many are on low beam. The sad part is that even the law enforcers dont!!
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Old 19th October 2015, 17:42   #14
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

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Originally Posted by raghu.t.k View Post

While the Govt is bringing all these regulations which are welcome, why cant they do something on the blinding headlights ? They should have some non-tamper proof, auto dimmer switch which should be mandated, and some other check which ensures the wattage/ brightness is within limits. This is getting serious with more and more drivers forgetting that there is low beam position as well. For last couple of weeks, have been checking the bikes and cars around at the signals, and I can count how many are on low beam. The sad part is that even the law enforcers dont!!
Very interesting point raghu.t.k,

Some time back, I tried talking to some drivers - to understand their point of view. I was shocked by their responses. I am listing some below:
  • Can't see far enough. On detail query, I got the feeling that either there was a night blindness issue OR the fellow was driving too fast.
  • No confidence in braking ability of the car driven!
  • "I want to see the road better - and - I don't care if the others are blinded"
  • "What low beam?"
  • "This is how I was taught to drive."

I am sure we will all discover more 'reasons' as we go along. However, a solution is required.

I have even faced this blinding issue with bikes behind in my old Maruti Omni - which did not have the day/night option.
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Old 19th October 2015, 18:00   #15
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Default Re: Safety Measure: All bikes to have 'Auto Headlamps On' feature from April 2017

Since we probably have the attention of all knowledgeable folks on this topic by now, can anyone please tell me what are the legal daylight hours in India?

I mean what time are we legally supposed to switch on our headlamps at dusk and at what time are we supposed to switch them off in the morning?
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