Why Does a Motorcycle's Headlights Flicker?

Updated April 07, 2017

If you own a motorcycle, or just regularly notice them as you drive, you may have seen the headlights of a motorcycle flicker. There can be several reasons for this flickering, including a built in light modulator, the movement of the motorcycle, or poor electrical connections in the headlight.


Many motorcycles have a build in light modulator that artificially creates the flicker of the headlight. Headlight modulators cause the lights of a motorcycle to vary their brightness up and down and make them appear to be flickering. This is a safety feature to draw attention to the motorcycle when other motorists might not see it.


A motorcycle travelling over bumpy terrain may also create the appearance of flickering headlights. As the motorcycle goes up and down rapidly, the light modulates and appears to be flickering.

Electrical connection

A poor electrical connection from bad wiring can also result in erratically flickering headlights. Lights that have not been wired correctly often develop loose connections that cause them to flash on and off rapidly.

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About the Author

Marysia Walcerz has been writing since 2008. She has been published in several compilations of artistic and philosophical work, including "Gender: Theory in Practice" and "Retold Comics." Walcerz has a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts and philosophy from The Evergreen State College.