BMW Gets Into the Flashing Brake Light Game
July 3, 2015 (Press release edited by webBikeWorld.com) – Braking and being seen by the traffic behind is of essential importance for motorcycle riders.
That is why BMW Motorrad said they have developed the Dynamic Brake Light system as a component of their Strategy “Safety 360°”.
The Dynamic Brake Light on a motorcycle is designed to warn drivers of following vehicles about when the motorcycle in front of them is braking.
This additional brake light function, which is still limited to the EU / ECE geographic region at this time, warns following traffic in two stages when the motorcycle in front brakes hard or makes an emergency braking maneuver.
Stage one is activated when the motorcycle decelerates from speeds above 50 km/h. In this case the brake light flashes with a frequency of 5 Hz.
As the motorcycle approaches standstill (< 14 km/h), the hazard warning flashers are also turned on in the second stage. These remain turned on until the motorcycle accelerates again to a minimum speed of 20 km/h.
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VIDEO: BMW Dynamic Brake Light Explained
Note that there are no current standards for “smart” brake light systems, so it is unclear at this point how following vehicles may react to a non-standard brake light that is anything but a simple on/off system.
The worst case would be the pilot of a following vehicle not understanding what messages are being conveyed by the motorcycle’s brake light, which has the potential to cause an accident.
International motor vehicle standards bodies must develop a set of standards for how these types of brake lights will be used, or risk generating confusion which might paradoxically causing more problems than the lights are intended to solve.
ABS Pro + Dynamic Brake Light for 6 BMW Motorcycle Models in 2016
The Dynamic Brake Light will be available as a factory option in conjunction with ABS Pro (and the optional “Ride Modes Pro”) starting in model year 2016.
BMW motorcycle models for this option include the R 1200 GS; the R 1200 GS Adventure and the S 1000 XR.
The K 1600 GT, GTL and GTL Exclusive luxury tourers will have the Dynamic Brake Light as standard equipment starting with the 2016 model year, as a supplement to ABS Pro.
About ABS Pro
Compared to conventional ABS, ABS Pro goes a step further offering increased safety when braking in corners by allowing ABS-supported braking when the motorcycle is leaned over.
In these situations, ABS Pro prevents the wheels from locking even when the brakes are applied quickly; this reduces abrupt changes in steering force on hard braking maneuvers and stops the motorcycle from standing up unintentionally.
The benefits of ABS Pro to the rider are a sensitive response and a high level of brake and ride stability together with the best possible deceleration in the corners.
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From “R.L.” (July 2015): “Whilst it is true such ‘dynamic’ brake-lights are not (yet) standardized, they do appear on modern luxury cars, such as Mercedes and Volvo, BMW. Perhaps even more, nowadays. For quite some years now.
And there are more. Many, many moons ago, there was also such an add-on for any (!) 3rd brake-light called the B480. Where the US model was the only one allowed to flash in different patterns, depending on the amount of braking.
Furthermore, there are of course the “normal” attention-getting brake-light solutions, such as the ones from Signal Dynamics and also KisanTech (tailBlazer).
Next to the BMW Deluxe rear LED Light add-on taillight (only available in the US) made by Code3 and specially developed for the authority BMW’s (R1200RT-P and others too). The first versions came with flashing patterns, but the recent model no longer flashes.
And is also available for the public, both in CAN-bus version and “regular” version.
There is also a ex-kickstarter program, a company called VoloLights, which works independent from the existing brake-light (still not yet CAN-bus compatible).
And there was a Canadian company, RoadRocketeer, now defunct, that made excellent replacement-bulbs.
So, in that respect, this new BMW solution is not that much unique other then that they integrate it into the existing brake light. Time will tell when legislation will catch on and formally allow it on the highway-codes and such.
I do agree that the tail-gater behind you might be a wee bit confused at first by all that flashing, but some motorcycle brake-lights are glowing nails in the dark, i.e., very hard to see/notice. Let alone in the full sun. 🙁
But flashing lights (headlight-flashing, still illegal in the EU) including the brake-light, with regular repositioning of the motorcyclist in his lane, will increase visibility. Which is no guarantee of course, as some drivers are looking without seeing. Any way, thank you for spotting this!”
Editor’s Note: We are currently in the process of reviewing the Vololight. We recently reviewed the Ohmics Brake Light and there are several other accessory brake light reviews listed on ourMotorcycle Brake Light Reviews page.