Why Does a Motorcycle's Headlights Flicker?

Written by marysia walcerz
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Why Does a Motorcycle's Headlights Flicker?
Flickering lights help draw attention to motorcycles at night. (motorcycle image by Piotr Lenar from Fotolia.com)

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.

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Modulator

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.

Terrain

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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