I am not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV. I researched the California
Vehicle Code through the official
web site. I looked for every law I could find that mentions the
words lamp, light, flashing, and motorcycle. This is what I found.
Auxiliary Driving Lamps (high-beam)
24402. (a) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two
auxiliary driving lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less
than 16 inches nor more than 42 inches. Driving lamps are lamps designed
for supplementing the upper beam from headlamps and may not be lighted
with the lower beam.
Passing Lamps (low beam)
24402. (b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two
auxiliary passing lamps mounted on the front at a height of not less
than 24 inches nor more than 42 inches. Passing lamps are lamps designed
for supplementing the lower beam from headlamps and may also be lighted
with the upper beam.
Fog Lamps (low beam)
24403. Any motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two foglamps
which may be used with, but shall not be used in substitution of, headlamps.
Foglamps shall be mounted on the front at a height of not less than
12 inches nor more than 30 inches and so aimed that when the vehicle
is not loaded none of the high-intensity portion of the light to the
left of the center of the vehicle shall at a distance of 25 feet ahead
project higher than a level of four inches below the level of the center
of the lamp from which it comes.
24404. (a) A motor vehicle may be equipped with not to exceed two white
spotlamps, which shall not be used in substitution of headlamps.
(b) No spotlamp shall be equipped with any lamp source exceeding 32
standard candlepower or 30 watts nor project any glaring light into
the eyes of an approaching driver.
(c) Every spotlamp shall be so directed when in use: That no portion
of the main substantially parallel beam of light will strike the roadway
to the left of the prolongation of the left side line of the vehicle.
That the top of the beam will not strike the roadway at a distance in
excess of 300 feet from the vehicle.
(d) This section does not apply to spotlamps on authorized emergency
vehicles. (e) No spotlamp when in use shall be directed so as to illuminate
any other moving vehicle.
Four lamps maximum
24405. (a) Not more than four lamps of the following types showing
to the front of a vehicle may be lighted at any one time: (1) Headlamps.
(2) Auxiliary driving or passing lamps. (3) Fog lamps. (4) Warning lamps.
(5) Spot lamps. (6) Gaseous discharge lamps specified in Section 25258.
(b) For the purpose of this section each pair of a dual headlamp system
shall be considered as one lamp.
(c) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any authorized emergency vehicle.
24406. Except as otherwise provided, the headlamps, or other auxiliary
driving lamps, or a combination thereof, on a motor vehicle during darkness
shall be so arranged that the driver may select at will between distributions
of light projected to different elevations, and the lamps may, in addition,
be so arranged that the selection can be made automatically.
Lamp pattern distribution
24407. Multiple-beam road lighting equipment shall be designed and
aimed as follows: (a) There shall be an uppermost distribution of light,
or composite beam, so aimed and of such intensity as to reveal persons
and vehicles at a distance of at least 350 feet ahead for all conditions
(b) There shall be a lowermost distribution of light, or composite
beam so aimed and of sufficient intensity to reveal a person or vehicle
at a distance of at least 100 feet ahead. On a straight level road under
any condition of loading none of the high intensity portion of the beam
shall be directed to strike the eyes of an approaching driver.
24408. (a) Every new motor vehicle registered in this state after January
1, 1940, which has multiple-beam road lighting equipment shall be equipped
with a beam indicator, which shall be lighted whenever the uppermost
distribution of light from the headlamps is in use, and shall not otherwise
(b) The indicator shall be so designed and located that when lighted
it will be readily visible without glare to the driver of the vehicle
so equipped. Any such lamp on the exterior of the vehicle shall have
a light source not exceeding two candlepower, and the light shall not
show to the front or sides of the vehicle.
24409. Whenever a motor vehicle is being operated during darkness,
the driver shall use a distribution of light, or composite beam, directed
high enough and of sufficient intensity to reveal persons and vehicles
at a safe distance in advance of the vehicle, subject to the following
requirements and limitations:
(a) Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle
within 500 feet, he shall use a distribution of light or composite beam
so aimed that the glaring rays are not projected into the eyes of the
oncoming driver. The lowermost distribution of light specified in this
article shall be deemed to avoid glare at all times regardless of road
(b) Whenever the driver of a vehicle follows another vehicle within
300 feet to the rear, he shall use the lowermost distribution of light
specified in this article.
24410. Headlamps arranged to provide a single distribution of light
not supplemented by auxiliary driving lamps are permitted on motor vehicles
manufactured and sold prior to September 19, 1940, in lieu of multiple-beam
road lighting equipment if the single distribution of light complies
with the following requirements and limitations:
(a) The headlamps shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is not loaded
none of the high-intensity portion of the light shall at a distance
of 25 feet ahead project higher than a level of five inches below the
level of the center of the lamp from which it comes, and in no case
higher than 42 inches above the level on which the vehicle stands at
a distance of 75 feet ahead.
(b) The intensity shall be sufficient to reveal persons and vehicles
at a distance of at least 200 feet.
Eight lamps maximum for off-road use.
24411. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a vehicle may be
equipped with not more than eight lamps for use as headlamps while the
vehicle is operated or driven off the highway. The lamps shall be mounted
at a height of not less than 16 inches from the ground, or more than
12 inches above the top of the passenger compartment, at any place between
the front of the vehicle and a line lying on a point 40 inches to the
rear of the seat occupied by the driver, shall be wired independently
of all other lighting circuits, and, whenever the vehicle is operated
or driven upon a highway, shall be covered or hooded with an opaque
hood or cover, and turned off.
Other flashing lights prohibited
25250. Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as otherwise
Turn signals, hazard warning lights
25251. (a) Flashing lights are permitted on vehicles as follows:
(1) To indicate an intention to turn or move to the right or left upon
a roadway, turn signal lamps and turn signal exterior pilot indicator
lamps and side lamps permitted under Section 25106 may be flashed on
the side of a vehicle toward which the turn or movement is to be made.
(2) When disabled or parked off the roadway but within 10 feet of the
roadway, or when approaching, stopped at, or departing from, a railroad
grade crossing, turn signal lamps may be flashed as warning lights if
the front turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed simultaneously
and the rear turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed simultaneously.
(3) To warn other motorists of accidents or hazards on a roadway, turn
signal lamps may be flashed as warning lights while the vehicle is approaching,
overtaking, or passing the accident or hazard on the roadway if the
front turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed simultaneously
and the rear turn signal lamps at each side are being flashed simultaneously.
(4) For use on authorized emergency vehicles.
(5) To warn other motorists of a funeral procession, turn signal lamps
may be flashed as warning lights on all vehicles actually engaged in
a funeral procession, if the front turn signal lamps at each side are
being flashed simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each
side are being flashed simultaneously.
(b) Turn signal lamps shall be flashed as warning lights whenever a
vehicle is disabled upon the roadway and the vehicle is equipped with
a device to automatically activate the front turn signal lamps at each
side to flash simultaneously and the rear turn signal lamps at each
side to flash simultaneously, if the device and the turn signal lamps
were not rendered inoperative by the event which caused the vehicle
to be disabled.
(c) Side lamps permitted under Section 25106 and used in conjunction
with turn signal lamps may be flashed with the turn signal lamps as
part of the warning light system, as provided in paragraphs (2) and
(3) of subdivision (a).
(d) Required or permitted lamps on a trailer or semitrailer may flash
when the trailer or semitrailer has broken away from the towing vehicle
and the connection between the vehicles is broken.
(e) Hazard warning lights, as permitted by paragraphs (2) and (3) of
subdivision (a) may be flashed in a repeating series of short and long
flashes when the driver is in need of help.
25251.2. Any motorcycle may be equipped with a means of modulating
the upper beam of the headlamp between a high and a lower brightness
at a rate of 200 to 280 flashes per minute. Such headlamps shall not
be so modulated during darkness.
Liability for non-use of turn signals
25251.3. No civil liability shall attach to any person for the use
or nonuse of turn signal lamps in the manner permitted by paragraph
(3) or (5) of subdivision (a) of Section 25251, except for such civil
liability as would attach for the use or nonuse of any other device
required by this article or Article 8 (commencing with Section 25300).
Theft alarm flasher
25251.4. Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a theft alarm
system which flashes any of the lights required or permitted on the
motor vehicle and which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing
with Section 28085) of Chapter 5 of this division.
Deceleration flasher, amber flashing brake lights, red flashing brake
25251.5. (a) Any motor vehicle may also be equipped with a system in
which an amber light is center mounted on the rear of a vehicle to communicate
a component of deceleration of the vehicle, and which light pulses in
a controlled fashion at a rate which varies exponentially with a component
(b) Any motor vehicle may be equipped with two amber lamps on the
rear of the vehicle which operate simultaneously with not more than
four flashes within four seconds after the accelerator pedal is in the
deceleration position and which are not lighted at any other time. The
lamps shall be mounted at the same height, with one lamp located on
each side of the vertical centerline of the vehicle, not higher than
the bottom of the rear window, or if the vehicle has no rear window,
not higher than 60 inches. The light output from each of the lamps shall
not exceed 200 candlepower at any angle horizontal or above. The amber
lamps may be used either separately or in combination with another lamp.
(c) Any stoplamp or supplemental stoplamp required or permitted by
Section 24603 may be equipped so as to flash not more than four times
within the first four seconds after actuation by application of the
Motorcycle headlights on at night.
25650. Every motorcycle during darkness shall be equipped with at least
one and not more than two lighted headlamps which shall conform to the
requirements and limitations of this division.
Motorcycle headights on while riding.
25650.5. Every motorcycle manufactured and first registered on and
after January 1, 1978, shall be equipped with at least one and not more
than two headlamps which automatically turn on when the engine of the
motorcycle is started and which remain lighted as long as the engine
is running. This section does not preclude equipping motorcycles used
as authorized emergency vehicles with a switch to be used to turn off
the headlamp during emergency situations or when the light would interfere
with law enforcement, if the switch is removed prior to resale of the
Motorcycle headlight illumination requirements
25651. The headlamp upon a motor-driven cycle may be of the single-beam
or multiple-beam type, but in either event, when the vehicle is operated
during darkness, the headlamp shall comply with the requirements and
limitations as follows:
(a) The headlamp shall be of sufficient intensity to reveal a person
or a vehicle at a distance of not less than 100 feet when the motor-driven
cycle is operated at any speed less than 25 miles per hour and at a
distance of not less than 200 feet when operated at a speed of 25 to
not exceeding 35 miles per hour, and at a distance of 300 feet when
operated at a speed greater than 35 miles per hour.
(b) In the event the motor-driven cycle is equipped with a multiple-beam
headlamp, the upper beam shall meet the minimum requirements set forth
above and the lowermost beam shall meet the requirements applicable
to a lowermost distribution of light as set forth in subdivision (b)
of Section 24407.
(c) In the event the motor-driven cycle is equipped with a single-beam
lamp, it shall be so aimed that when the vehicle is loaded none of the
high intensity portion of light, at a distance of 25 feet ahead, shall
project higher than the level of the center of the lamp from which it
Colors of Lamps and Reflectors
25950. This section applies to the color of lamps and to any reflector
exhibiting or reflecting perceptible light of 0.05 candela or more per
foot-candle of incident illumination. Unless provided otherwise, the
color of lamps and reflectors upon a vehicle shall be as follows:
(a) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from all
reflectors, visible from in front of a vehicle, shall be white or yellow,
except as follows:
(1) Rear side marker lamps required by Section 25100 may show red to
(2) The color of foglamps described in Section 24403 may be in the color
spectrum from white to yellow.
(b) The emitted light from all lamps and the reflected light from all
reflectors, visible from the rear of a vehicle, shall be red except
(1) Stoplamps on vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1979, may show
yellow to the rear.
(2) Turn signal lamps may show yellow to the rear.
(3) Front side marker lamps required by Section 25100 may show yellow
to the rear.
(4) Backup lamps shall show white to the rear.
(5) The rearward facing portion of any front-mounted double-faced turn
signal lamp may show amber to the rear while the headlamps or parking
lamps are lighted, if the intensity of the light emitted is not greater
than the parking lamps and the turn signal function is not impaired.
(6) Reflectors meeting the requirements of and installed in accordance
with Section 24611 shall be red or white, or both.
(c) All lamps and reflectors visible from the front, sides, or rear
of a vehicle, except headlamps, may have any unlighted color, provided
the emitted light from all lamps or reflected light from all reflectors
complies with the required color. Except for backup lamps, the entire
effective projected luminous area of lamps visible from the rear or
mounted on the sides near the rear of a vehicle shall be covered by
an inner lens of the required color when the unlighted color differs
from the required emitted light color. Taillamps, stoplamps, and turn
signal lamps that are visible to the rear may be white when unlighted
on vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1974.
Timberwoofs Motorcycle FAQ