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Thread: Stupid recall? What am I missing?

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExGMan View Post
    Here's the language on the NHTSA website regarding the BMW motorcycles:

    "Potential Number of Units Affected: 4,026
    Problem Description:
    BMW of North America, LLC (BMW) is recalling certain 2020 F900R, F900XR, S1000RR, F750GS, F850GS, F850GS Adventure, R1250GS, R1250GS Adventure, R1250RS, R1250R, RnineT, RnineT Pure and RnineT Scrambler and 2019-2020 S1000R motorcycles. The brake light may flash instead of remain steady during emergency braking. As such, these vehicles fail to comply with the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 108, "Lamps, Reflective Devices, and Associated Equipment."

    Consequence:
    A flashing brake light can cause confusion to other drivers on the road, increasing the risk of a crash."


    Seems that perhaps US drivers are easily confused, but the rest of the world's drivers aren't?
    The OP notes that it's his RT that flashes. Fortunately for him the RT is not included in the above FMVSS 108.
    '20 R1250RT, '17 R1200GS
    Priors: '16 R1200R, '14 R1200GS, '13 K1600GT, '08 R1200RT, '04 R1150RT, '05 R1200GS, '73 R75/5 (LWB).

  2. #17
    Registered User h2onutz's Avatar
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    I think a flashing brake light does attract a driver's attention and thus prevent an accident, but, I wouldn't modify my motorcycle to do so. In the event of an accident where a driver struck the rear of my motorcycle I could be held as the party at fault by some Ambulance Chaser (Attorney) for having equipment that does not comply with Federal Regulations, which the Attorney could contend may have caused a crash.
    If I'm at a traffic light waiting for it to change, and I see a car approaching from my rear, I hit my brakes a few times to flash my brake lights. It serves the same purpose, however, I haven't modified the motorcycle as not to comply with Federal Regulations.
    Steve

    2018 BMW K1600B

  3. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by h2onutz View Post
    I think a flashing brake light does attract a driver's attention and thus prevent an accident, but, I wouldn't modify my motorcycle to do so. In the event of an accident where a driver struck the rear of my motorcycle I could be held as the party at fault by some Ambulance Chaser (Attorney) for having equipment that does not comply with Federal Regulations, which the Attorney could contend may have caused a crash.
    Of course. Did you ever notice that among the participants in a court room the only persons other than the judge not sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth are the lawyers. That "whole truth" part is important. Ponder that.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by vark View Post
    The flashing brake light is expressly legal in my state of residence. That’s a recall I would ignore.
    Except that, in the case of motor vehicle standards, federal rules override state laws. It's called federal preemption. Here's a quote from Title 49 United States Code, Section 30103b:

    "When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter."

    In other words, the state law needs to read the same as the federal standard. Here in NY the law regarding helmets had to be changed because NY required 4 square inches of reflective material on each side of the helmet. The law now reads simply to comply with FMVSS 218.

    If you take your bike to a dealer for service they are obligated to perform the recall. They don't have a choice.
    Karl
    2007 R1200ST

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Of course. Did you ever notice that among the participants in a court room the only persons other than the judge not sworn to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth are the lawyers. That "whole truth" part is important. Ponder that.
    That is a very good point!

  6. #21
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    Hopefully I wont encounter an issue traveling. I've connected my camper lights via a Hexcan and set the brake lights to flash three times then remain steady, this option is supposed to be in compliance with California legislation, but by the sounds of it not other jurisdictions. We'll see I guess.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  7. #22
    Registered User ExGMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    Hopefully I wont encounter an issue traveling. I've connected my camper lights via a Hexcan and set the brake lights to flash three times then remain steady, this option is supposed to be in compliance with California legislation, but by the sounds of it not other jurisdictions. We'll see I guess.
    I've ridden two RTs about 90,000 miles around the US. I've had Skene P3 (rear) lights on both bikes, always set to the three-flashes, then full-bright for braking. I've never had a conversation about the lighting characteristics with an LEO.
    John Gamel - BMW MOA Consumer Liaison
    2015 Ebony Metallic R1200RT
    MOA #153274
    "We have met the enemy, and he is us." Pogo/via Walt Kelly

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by kthutchinson View Post
    Except that, in the case of motor vehicle standards, federal rules override state laws. It's called federal preemption. Here's a quote from Title 49 United States Code, Section 30103b:

    "When a motor vehicle safety standard is in effect under this chapter, a State or a political subdivision of a State may prescribe or continue in effect a standard applicable to the same aspect of performance of a motor vehicle or motor vehicle equipment only if the standard is identical to the standard prescribed under this chapter."

    In other words, the state law needs to read the same as the federal standard. Here in NY the law regarding helmets had to be changed because NY required 4 square inches of reflective material on each side of the helmet. The law now reads simply to comply with FMVSS 218.

    If you take your bike to a dealer for service they are obligated to perform the recall. They don't have a choice.
    I’m familiar with federal preemption. Not sure how the conflict is resolved in this case. I’d have to do more research, but I expect there is permissive language somewhere that allows it. For example, the Fed regs may apply to new vehicles only, but don’t control subsequent modifications. So a new vehicle must be delivered in compliance with the federal laws, but that doesn’t prevent an owner from making modifications so long as those modifications are legal within the state. (I’m not stating that this is the case, only that law is very nuanced.)

    Or maybe my state has concluded that since no federal entities are writing tickets for traffic code violations within their jurisdiction, there is no enforcement mechanism.

    Here is the Code of Virginia as it relates to this topic. Note that a dipping (winking/modulating) headlight is also permitted:

    § 46.2-1012. Headlights, auxiliary headlights, tail lights, brake lights, auxiliary lights, and illumination of license plates on motorcycles or autocycles.
    Every motorcycle or autocycle shall be equipped with at least one headlight which shall be of a type that has been approved by the Superintendent and shall be capable of projecting sufficient light to the front of such motorcycle or autocycle to render discernible a person or object at a distance of 200 feet. However, the lights shall not project a glaring or dazzling light to persons approaching such motorcycles or autocycles. In addition, each motorcycle or autocycle may be equipped with not more than two auxiliary headlights of a type approved by the Superintendent except as otherwise provided in this section.

    Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with means of modulating the high beam of their headlights between high and low beam at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlights shall not be so modulated during periods when headlights would ordinarily be required to be lighted under § 46.2-1030.

    Notwithstanding § 46.2-1002, motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with standard bulb running lights or light-emitting diode (LED) pods or strips as auxiliary lighting. Such lighting shall be (i) either red or amber in color, (ii) directed toward the ground in such a manner that no part of the beam will strike the level of the surface on which the motorcycle or autocycle stands at a distance of more than 10 feet from the vehicle, and (iii) designed for vehicular use. Such lighting shall not (a) project a beam of light of an intensity greater than 25 candlepower or its equivalent from a single lamp or bulb; (b) be blinking, flashing, oscillating, or rotating; or (c) be attached to the wheels of the motorcycle or autocycle.

    Every motorcycle or autocycle registered in the Commonwealth and operated on the highways of the Commonwealth shall be equipped with at least one brake light of a type approved by the Superintendent. Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with one or more auxiliary brake lights of a type approved by the Superintendent. The Superintendent may by regulation prescribe or limit the size, number, location, and configuration of such auxiliary brake lights.

    Every motorcycle or autocycle shall carry at the rear at least one or more red lights plainly visible in clear weather from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Such tail lights shall be constructed and so mounted in their relation to the rear license plate as to illuminate the license plate with a white light so that the same may be read from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Alternatively, a separate white light shall be so mounted as to illuminate the rear license plate from a distance of 50 feet to the rear of such vehicle. Any such tail lights or special white light shall be of a type approved by the Superintendent.

    Motorcycles or autocycles may be equipped with a means of varying the brightness of the vehicle's brake light upon application of the vehicle's brakes.

  9. #24
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    vark,

    I haven't seen any permissive language that lets the states to set their own standards in conflict with federal standards. However, you're correct about owner modifications. The federal standards apply to manufacturers, dealers, repair shops and the like, but not to individuals. Any enforcement actions against individuals is up to the states, and I suspect most police officers are fairly ignorant of many of the requirements. But the civil penalties for non-compliance by manufacturers and such are severe. Fines of up to $21,000 per occurrence may be leveled, up to a maximum total of $105,000,000. That means that, if they wanted to, the feds could go after any retailer that sells flashing brake light kits to the tune of $21,000 per unit sold.

    As for headlight modulators, the federal lighting standard specifically allows them, subject to certain requirements on their operation. So, because of federal preemption, no state can declare them to be illegal. And, since the federal standard does not address auxiliary lights at all, the states are free to set their own standards.
    Karl
    2007 R1200ST

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Be looking for a Triumph recall, if NHTSA is paying any attention. But since they are complaint driven maybe not. Unless Triumph riders are complaining after club rides.
    Actually, it's an 04 TBS and the flashing was done with just an aftermarket bulb...I'm not aware that any Triumph has this as a factory feature- sounds like a German thing.

  11. #26
    Registered User h2onutz's Avatar
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    Not just a hypothetical situation

    I was at a BMW Dealership getting work done on my motorcycle (oil change). As I was waiting, a man (investigator) approached the Service Manager and asked to see a motorcycle that was declared a total loss (K1600B). The Service manager replied that he wrote the estimate on the bike (a $40K loss) and released the bike for salvage. After the Investigator left I asked the Service Manager how could the estimate exceeded the cost of the bike. The Service Manager replied that the estimate to repair did exceed the cost of the bike and that was why it was declared a total loss (cost more to fix than replace). The Service Manager also said that the Investigator was from a law firm. The strange part was that the law firm was representing the person who struck the motorcyclist from the rear (at fault party).
    Since the bike was declared a total loss, you would have to presume that the accident was serious. If the accident was serious that means a big payout by the insurance company. If the insurance company pays out serious money, maybe they hired the law firm who hired the Investigator. What was the Investigator looking for? A modified motorcycle which the law firm could say caused or contributed to the crash?
    Steve

    2018 BMW K1600B

  12. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by h2onutz View Post
    If the insurance company pays out serious money, maybe they hired the law firm who hired the Investigator. What was the Investigator looking for? A modified motorcycle which the law firm could say caused or contributed to the crash?
    See post # 18
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  13. #28
    Registered User WalterK75's Avatar
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    An interesting thread. I've seen add-on lights that flash when the brakes are applied and think it an excellent idea. It certainly caught my attention, and fast.

    In the case of add-ons, the original brake light will act normally so it seems if there is no alteration in that it would comply with the law.

    It's hard to understand some of the legal idiocy around motorcycles and safety.
    Walter

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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalterK75 View Post
    In the case of add-ons, the original brake light will act normally so it seems if there is no alteration in that it would comply with the law.
    The federal standard simply says that brake lights must be "steady burning." So the company that sold the unit is in violation of the federal statute prohibiting the sale of non-compliant equipment, and the rider would be in violation if the state enforced the federal requirements due to federal preemption.
    Karl
    2007 R1200ST

  15. #30
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    SUV police vehicles ‘round here use the pulse brake light system. I think it’s “Back-Off” that sells a kit to be used on less complicated bikes.
    OM
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