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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wrote the texas DPS the following email regarding installing LED lights on my bike for decoration and better visibility:

Can someone please answer this question for me?

I just baught a brand new motorcyle....its dark blue.  I want to install a couple of blue LED lights on the bike so that I can be seen better from the side at night by other drivers.  Is this legal?  they don't flash, and don't blink.  It just gives the bike a mild glow. 



They're response was ridiculous.  I should also tell you that I called the motorcycle safety unit to ask them the same question, and the guy bit my head off.....saying he wasn't the person to talk to....this was my only answer.  I hate Houston.

What this basically says is, "If we want to give you a ticket, we can." 

How the hell are we supposed to abide by the law, when the law makers and enforcers themselves can't even tell us what they are?

For those interested, here was the long winded load of crap I got from them"

This is in response to the email inquiry attached below sent to the Texas Department of Public Safety. You want to know whether a particular item of after-market vehicle equipment, specifically LED lights are legal or illegal.

At this point, I should make clear that it is not the function of the Department of Public Safety to provide legal interpretations of the Texas Transportation Code, nor is it the role of anyone in the department to dispense legal advice even regarding the traffic laws of the state. The department enforces state traffic law as its members understand it, and if necessary, issue citations for violations, all which are subject to review by courts of law. 
However, taking into consideration the above, here are at least some general comments you may wish to consider:

Modifying your vehicle can cause you problems. This is because most of the enforcement of equipment laws are based on the interpretation of the laws "on the books" and federal regulations. Vehicle manufacturers are regulated by 49 CFR 571.108.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) tells original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), GM, Ford, Honda, and the rest, the specifications to be used for vehicular lighting equipment. As a consequence, manufacturers expend enormous resources in engineering and legal research to meet the federal regulations and all state laws so that they can sell their vehicles, everywhere. A simple rule of thumb: if a vehicle doesn't come, from the factory, with the equipment - it probably is not a good idea to install it on the vehicle.

In recent years, after-market parts manufacturers have introduced large numbers of ancillary, often decorative, lighting devices in a variety of colors, which may confuse and distract other motorist, obscure required lighting, and adversely impact public safety. Additionally, some of the lights are deceptively similar to emergency vehicle lighting. Examples are: Pulsating, rotating, or flashing front and rear license plate lights, Hood-mounted LED (light emitting diode) illuminated windshield sprayer nozzles, Small flashing lights mounted on tire valve stems (tireflys), Clear bumper, side-marker, and tail lamp replacement assemblies, Tailpipe LED lamps creating flame-like illumination, Flexible neon tube lighting used for undercarriage and interior vehicle illumination, and Simulated, but not true, HID (high intensity discharge) headlamps or driving lamps.

The entrepreneurs who made and sold these lights have made no effort to go through the required steps to have these lights approved. They sell them to you simply to make money. You buy them to draw attention and I can assure you that you will get attention - some of that attention will be from a law enforcement officer from one of the more than 2000 law enforcement agencies in this state alone.

These vehicle lighting devices often escape federal restrictions by advertising the product as "off-road use" or "show purposes" only, and instruct the purchaser to check with state law enforcement officials regarding highway use.

As a consequence, DPS receives numerous inquires by telephone and email from confused parents, motorists, law enforcement  and judicial personnel who want to know if lighting devices such as neon undercarriage lighting are "legal." The answer would seem simple, either legal or not; but it is not.

The primary vehicle lighting laws are contained in Transportation Code, Chapter 547. Subchapters D, E, F, G, H, J, & M.  They are available for your review on the internet at:

These statutes were "codified" from the Vernon's Ann.Civ.St. (V.A.C.S.) in 1995 and, in general, have remained virtually unchanged since 1971. Texas law generally states what lighting equipment is required, permitted, prohibited, and exceptions to the latter. It is not a customization guide or check-off list of items that are legal and those that are illegal.

Section 547.004 prohibits the operation of a vehicle that is unsafe, not equipped in compliance, with the law, or equipped in a prohibited manner by the Transportation Code. Some would this means that if the lamp is not required under Texas law, nor fits an exception, then it is prohibited, particularly if it can be shown as a distraction to other drivers or a driving hazard. The general statutory restriction on vehicle lighting is §547.305, but it does not specifically address most after-market lighting, such as under glow lamps, that are causing so much confusion for both law enforcement and consumers.

Section 547.3215 adopts the federal motor vehicle safety standard (FMVSS) for lighting (49 CFR 571.108) for all lighting and associated equipment, unless specifically prohibited by the code.  FMVSS #108 prohibits anything that interferes with or obscures federal required lighting equipment. However it does not prohibit, nor regulate, after-market lighting equipment not meant to replace original equipment manufacturer (OEM) lighting.

With neon under-glow lights, the common practice to circumvent any clear prohibition of the law is by installing the lighting under the vehicle, out of direct view, so that the light illuminates downward towards the ground and the light source is out of direct view. State law is silent on this subject (but in this case silence may not be golden) and the federal regulations do not address it. Therefore, mounting the neon lights under the vehicle would appear to be a technical loophole. As with all technical or legal loopholes, not everyone understands or recognizes them and as with all questions of law, they are finally resolved in court.

It is my understanding that the Texas Highway Patrol Division of this department has an "enforcement policy" on the subject of under-glow kits. As long as the light source is not in direct eyesight and the light is not of a prohibited type and color (see §547.305(c) ... red, white, or blue beacon, flashing, or alternating light), then no enforcement action will be taken. An enforcement policy is not a determination of legality or illegality, and it is not binding on other law enforcement or judicial officers. 

To put it simply, while you may be able to drive the vehicle with these additional lights illuminated and not receive a citation, there may come a time when you are cited. If the judge agrees with the officer, your only recourse will be to appeal the decision until you reach a court that recognizes the loophole and you may still lose.

As stated before, often the department receives email inquiries because they are seeking a legal determination concerning vehicle equipment and/or operation and in most of these cases, the department can play no role. However, the department is committed to public service and I hope these comments have provided you with useful information.


Lisa Block
DPS Public Information Office

622 Posts
Dam! Just do it and see what happens 8)

4,805 Posts
I've read alot of places where people have neons, I have never seen anyone get cited for having just neons on their car or bikes.
Yes if you have a visible blue or red neon that blinks and flashes you will probably get busted.
Things underneath the the bike or car, I don't see why anyone would say anything.
I would just do it. I actually plan to stick a blue neon underneath my tail.
What's the worst that can happen? You get pulled over and they'll probably warn you to turn it off if anything
(unless you got caught doing something else like speeding).

17 Posts
WOW! Looks like a cut and paste for sure. She spruced it up a bit, but I'll bet my arse that she didn't write that response. Canned B*LLSH*T! Pretty much anything we do to bikes is illegal, even the cans we put on. Cops don't bother you about this stuff because it "looks" alright.

You can see from the responses you got that they don't know the rules on this so you are definently clear to do it. You're not going to get a ticket for something that's not known to be illegal. ;D

Premium Member
9,691 Posts
Well in Florida this is what's on the staute books inregard to colored lights on a vehicle.

316.2397 Certain lights prohibited; exceptions.--

(1) No person shall drive or move or cause to be moved any vehicle or equipment upon any highway within this state with any lamp or device thereon showing or displaying a red or blue light visible from directly in front there of except for certain vehicles herein after provided.

(2) It is expressly prohibited for any vehicle or equipment, except police vehicles, to show or display blue lights. However, vehicles owned, operated, or leased by the Department of Corrections may show or display blue lights when responding to emergencies.

(3) Vehicles of the fire department and fire patrol, including vehicles of volunteer firefighters as permitted under s. 316.2398, vehicles of medical staff physicians or technicians of medical facilities licensed by the state as authorized under s. 316.2398, ambulances as authorized under this chapter, and buses and taxicabs as authorized under s. 316.2399 are permitted to show or display red lights. Vehicles of the fire department, fire patrol, police vehicles, and such ambulances and emergency vehicles of municipal and county departments, public service corporations operated by private corporations, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as are designated or authorized by their respective department or the chief of police of an incorporated city or any sheriff of any county are hereby authorized to operate emergency lights and sirens in an emergency. Wreckers, mosquito control fog and spray vehicles, and emergency vehicles of governmental departments or public service corporations may show or display amber lights when in actual operation or when a hazard exists provided they are not used going to and from the scene of operation or hazard without specific authorization of a law enforcement officer or law enforcement agency. Wreckers must use amber rotating or flashing lights while performing recoveries and loading on the roadside day or night, and may use such lights while towing a vehicle on wheel lifts, slings, or under reach if the operator of the wrecker deems such lights necessary. A flatbed, car carrier, or rollback may not use amber rotating or flashing lights when hauling a vehicle on the bed unless it creates a hazard to other motorists because of protruding objects. Further, escort vehicles may show or display amber lights when in the actual process of escorting overdimensioned equipment, material, or buildings as authorized by law. Vehicles of private watch, guard, or patrol agencies licensed pursuant to chapter 493 may show or display amber lights while patrolling condominium, cooperative, and private residential and business communities by which employed and which traverse public streets or highways.

(4) Road or street maintenance equipment, road or street maintenance vehicles, road service vehicles, refuse collection vehicles, petroleum tankers, and mail carrier vehicles may show or display amber lights when in operation or a hazard exists.

(5) Road maintenance and construction equipment and vehicles may display flashing white lights or flashing white strobe lights when in operation and where a hazard exists. Additionally, school buses and vehicles that are used to transport farm workers may display flashing white strobe lights.

(6) All lighting equipment heretofore referred to shall meet all requirements as set forth in s. 316.241.

(7) Flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except as a means of indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway or except that the lamps authorized in subsections (1), (2), (3), (4), and (9) and s. 316.235(5) are permitted to flash.

(8) Subsections (1) and (7) do not apply to police, fire, or authorized emergency vehicles while in the performance of their necessary duties.

(9) Flashing red lights may be used by emergency response vehicles of the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Health when responding to an emergency in the line of duty.

(10) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable as a nonmoving violation as provided in chapter 318.

==> Florida State Uniform Traffic Code
If you can find the State Uniform Traffic Code for Texas online, do it, read it and know what you can anc can't be cited for cause the piggies do.
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