Letter: Motorcycles should have a headlight modulator - The Buffalo News
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Letter: Motorcycles should have a headlight modulator

Motorcycles should have a headlight modulator

I am a retired lawyer/judge and have been riding motorcycles for almost 50 years. I have never found anything as relaxing as getting out on the bike, but early on, I learned three very important lessons: You can’t fix stupid, so speed and alcohol will always kill some bikers; watch out for the left-turning driver; and beware the brown stain in the road between two cow pastures. I pretty much mastered the third very quickly, but for the second, I rely on a motorcycle headlight modulator.

In 1981, a study was published concerning causes of motorcycle accidents, called the “Hurt Report.” A car turning left in front of the motorcycle was the most common. Thus, the idea of a headlight modulator was born. Harry Hurt believed drivers were seeing the motorcycle, but there was not enough brain processing to trigger drivers to act on what they were seeing. A modulator is an electronic device that pulses the headlight between high and low beam two to four times a second. This should be sufficient for drivers to think about what they are seeing, and recognize the danger of moving forward.

I was able to find such a unit, have had one on each bike I’ve owned ever since and am absolutely convinced they have saved my life multiple times. If you search “motorcycle headlight modulators,” you will find one for almost any bike. I believe keeping a headlight on at a steady brightness may do more harm than good, because estimating distance and speed of the motorcycle is almost impossible. Not so for the modulator-equipped bike.

These units should be on all motorcycles. Even if they save just one life.

Mark Lillenstein


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