Motorcycle Daytime Running Lights: Everything You Should Know

January 3, 2024
By Michael Padway
motorcycle with daytime running lights turned on

According to studies undertaken by a number of traffic safety organizations in the United States and Europe, using headlights throughout the day can help prevent between 7 and 25 percent of all fatal daytime collisions. According to most studies, using daytime running lights decreases accident rates by 5 to 10% across the board.

Motorcycle with LED lights The option of using a daytime running light to increase frontal motorcycle visibility in daylight appears to be the most practicable and is of primary interest, something very similar to tinted motorcycle visors

In this article, we want to share our takeaways from those studies as well as sharing relevant information about motorcycle daytime running light laws, and some things you should consider when purchasing those types of lights.

Do Daytime Running Lights Prevent Accidents?

We came across an interesting NHTSA study from 2008 about the effects of daytime running lights on passenger vehicles. They looked at three types of crashes – two passenger crashes excluding rear enders, vehicle crashes with pedestrians and cyclists, and single passenger vehicle to motorcycle crashes. They considered fatal accidents, less than fatal serious accidents, and all severity accidents.

As background, a study in Europe found that 37% of the accidents involving a motorcycle and another vehicle were caused by the driver of the other vehicle failing to detect the motorcycle.

The researchers found that there was little evidence to support the belief that a single daytime running light significantly reduced accidents in any of the injury categories. There was a slight reduction, less than 6%, on accidents involving light trucks and vans.

In their conclusions, the authors of the study suggested that additional yellow lights, like turn signal lights, would be more effective than a single headlight. There was not an adequate analysis of how brightness affected the effectiveness of the running lights.

The study did note that most daytime running lights on motorcycles are low beams. They asserted that these are not sufficiently bright enough to significantly reduce the number of accidents. They felt that this was particularly true on bright days. They also found that the low beams were ineffective at highway speeds and greater. They concluded that the lights are more effective on cloudy days and near dawn and dusk.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day, motorists aren’t paying enough attention. Distracted driving and mindless operation of vehicles continues to cause more than a third of accidents between cars and motorcycles. While the study suggest bright yellow auxiliary lights, it fails to provide hard statistical evidence of motorcycles being safer because they use those hypothetical systems.

I found the results of the study astounding, because in fact, it is impossible not to see a motorcycle. A motorcycle with a headlight on, even during the day, is just that much easier to see. I have to believe that with the brighter lights on newer bikes, we will see increased effectiveness from daytime running lights. It will be interesting to see the studies as the newer lights become the norm.

Motorcycle Daytime Running Lights Laws in the US

All states need lights to remain operable until sunrise, and all states have different legislation regulating how apparent motorbike headlights and taillights must be. By allowing the motorbike to be seen at all times, lighting rules assist both the riders and other cars on the road.

Some states have different regulations regarding motorcycle illumination, particularly daytime running lights, or riding a motorbike with the lights on during the day. 


Anyone riding a motorbike produced after 1977 during the day must have daytime running lights. 


Daytime running lights are also mandatory after 1975. 


Daytime running lights are required this state’s legislation for all motorcycle riders, regardless of the year the motorbike was produced. 

Whether traveling on or off-road, all states mandate motorcycle riders to wear headlights between sunset and daybreak.

Choosing the Best Daytime Running Lights For Your Motorcycle

Daytime running lights, unlike headlights, are fairly faint and do not illuminate the road ahead.

The goal of daytime running lights is to boost your vehicle’s visibility on the road so that other drivers can see you. Your headlights and tail lights are lighted at night, making it simple for other drivers to detect you. You need to take into consideration all of these aspects when deciding what DRLs to buy.

Types of DRLs:

  • Low beam headlights when start vehicle
  • Dimmed high beam headlights
  • Dedicated lights with a defined beam pattern and light intensity
  • Increased intensity yellow turn signals.

Motorcycle Daytime Running Lights Recommendations

Motorcycle Driving Lights 3000LM Super Bright 18SMD Chips Sport Lights Waterproof

Motorcycle Driving Lights 3000LM Super Bright 18SMD Chips Sport Lights Waterproof
Motorcycle Driving Lights 3000LM Super Bright 18SMD Chips Sport Lights Waterproof

These pieces are Made up of two 9-LED circular lamp bodies, a total of 18 SMD chips, and a condensing cup/each chip to improve the condensing property, brightness is increased, and the irradiation distance is extended. Light has a maximum range of 300 meters. Up to 3000 lumens of luminance. You can find them for less than US$24.00!

LED Motorcycle Driving Lights, 20W Round LED Daytime Running Light 3-Inch Motorcycle Additional Lights

LED Motorcycle Driving Lights, 20W Round LED Daytime Running Light 3-Inch Motorcycle Additional Lights

These are 3 Inch Round Motorcycle Fog Lights, 20W 6000K, Super bright, high-quality LED chips emit Red Light, PC lens with excellent light transmittance, allowing you to see well when driving. They have a 3-Wiring Handlebar Switch that allows you to individually adjust the HALO Ring to match your everyday demands. Buy these for only US$29.99!

KATUR Motorcycle Super Bright Highway Bar Switchback Driving Lights

KATUR Motorcycle Super Bright Highway Bar Switchback Driving Lights
KATUR Motorcycle Super Bright Highway Bar Switchback Driving Lights

These bar lights may be installed either vertically or horizontally. Simple to set up. 6 1 watt LED chips are included. High-impact ABS housing with a premium clear lens. When driving throughout the day, transparent lenses provide a better view. You can get them for only US$36.99.


Aside from making everyone safer, the dedicated daytime running light has been found to have the greatest benefits for motorcyclists because they are the group that other drivers find difficult to see.

As a result, it is preferable and vital to have a pair of specialized daytime running lights that allow you to be seen by others.

Michael Padway

Michael Padway uses his expertise in personal injury and motorcycle accidents to represent a broad spectrum of clients dealing with life-changing and permanent injuries for the first time. His offices are located at 235 Montgomery St., Ste 668, San Francisco, CA 94104 and at 3140 Chapman St. Oakland, CA 94601. For more information, please call (800) 928-1511.

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