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I recently got a ticket for having red and green lights on my motorcycle. Why can't I have different colored lights on my motorcycle or car?

(A Lake Oswego police officer or firefighter answers readers' questions each week in this space. To submit a question, call Editor Gary M. Stein at 503-636-1281 ext. 102 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

I recently got a ticket for having red and green lights on my motorcycle. Why can't I have different colored lights on my motorcycle or car?

DEMOSSWithout knowing the specifics of your situation, I can talk lighting issues in general.

Different colored lights mean different things in almost every state. Here in Oregon, green lights are only allowed on fire department vehicles that are acting as a command post in an emergency situation. Blue lights are only allowed on police and fire Department emergency-response vehicles. Red lights are prohibited from being visible from the front of any vehicle, and white lights are prohibited from being visible from the rear of a vehicle, unless it is in reverse.

As drivers, we associate red lights with the rear of vehicles and white lights with the front of vehicles, so prohibiting them from being on opposite ends saves a lot of confusion and potential crashes. Just imagine an oncoming vehicle displaying red lights as opposed to white lights. You would think you are approaching a vehicle from the rear, when in fact, it is approaching you head on. See the problem?

All required and prohibited lighting equipment regulations, as they relate to vehicles being operated in the State of Oregon, are spelled out in chapter 816 of the Oregon Motor Vehicle Code. Use of Prohibited Lighting is a Class C Traffic Violation that carriers a fine of $165.

Questions about whether your Lyft sign is permitted or about any other lighting on your vehicle? Call our non-emergency number at 503-635-0238.

— Sgt. Gary deMoss

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