Improving car drivers’ perception of motorcyclists through innovative headlight configurations

  • Published: 10th International Symposium on Automotive Lighting (ISAL), 25 September 2013
  • Authors: Cavallo V, Ranchet M, Pinto M, Espié S, Vienne F and Dang N-T
  • Date Added: 25 Jan 2014
  • Last Update: 25 Jan 2014
  • Format: html


To evaluate three innovative headlight configurations that accentuated the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the motorcycle.


The study was conducted on a small-scale interactive driving simulator, comprising control devices as well as visual and auditory rendition systems. The target vehicles were motorcycles equipped with different headlight configurations as well as cars, vans and trucks. Four motorcycle headlight configurations were used: "standard" (one central headlight), "horizontal" (one central light + 2 lights on the ends of the handlebar), "vertical" (one central headlight + one light on the helmet and 2 lights on the fork), "combined" (combining the horizontal and vertical configurations).

The gaps adopted by the drivers in a left-turn situation towards motorcycles equipped with these light configurations were compared with those adopted when facing a motorcycle with a standard headlight or a car. The first experiment was dedicated to night time conditions, and the second experiment to dusk and daytime conditions.

Key Findings:

  • Analysis of variance for the night time experiment indicated a significant main effect of headlight configuration and vehicle type, with longer accepted gaps for the vertical and combined configurations than for the standard and horizontal configurations.

  • However, for the daytime conditions, statistical analysis revealed no effect of headlight design on accepted gaps which were found to be similar for all motorcycles, whatever their headlight configuration.


Perception, motorcyclists, headlight configurations