Bike Lights Safety

County champion calls on cyclists to be a sight to be seen

Cllr Suzanne Bartington
“Cycling is a great way to get about all year round thanks to its health benefits and the fact that it creates no pollution and doesn’t add to congestion."
Cllr Suzanne Bartington

Cyclists in Oxfordshire are being urged to be safe by the county council’s ‘Cycling Champion’.

As the dark nights continue to draw in many people are undeterred and set out on two wheels – but some do so without any lights. Our video (above) shows the startling difference between using and not using lights.

Riding without the right lights and reflectors can result in a fine as well as putting others at risk. However in a recent initiative Thames Valley Police stopped more than 80 cyclists for not having working lights in one evening in Oxford.

Cllr Suzanne Bartington, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cycling Champion, supports Cyclox’s Rights and Responsibilities campaign which lists very simply what cyclists can expect and what they need to do while out and about and Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue’s own 365Alive campaign which provides road safety information and guidance for cyclists as well as pedestrians and all road users.

Health benefits

County Councillor Suzanne Bartington, the county council’s Cycling Champion, said: “Cycling is a great way to get about all year round thanks to its health benefits and the fact that it creates no pollution and doesn’t add to congestion.

“I want more people to start cycling and, for those who don’t, for cyclists to be safe and be highly regarded by other road users.

“The law states that you should have a red light at the back and a white one on the front, but you should also ask yourself whether you are as safe as you can be and visible to other road users.

“Having good working lights and considering other safety items such as reflective clothing and a helmet do not need to cost very much, but their value in terms of safety can be immeasurable.”

Read up before you ride off

The county council’s fire and rescue service’s 365alive website has quick and comprehensive advice you can follow to make sure that your next bike ride or commute is a safe one.

Wear the right gear

  • Ideally you need to set off in an outfit in which you feel a bit chilly for the first few minutes. You’ll soon warm up.
  • Remember to keep your head, hands and feet warm. These tend to feel colder the longer you ride.

Maintain your bike

  • Check your tyres and brakes before you ride

Be visible

  • Use front and rear lights and reflectors after sunset, before sunrise and in poor visibility. Check they are working correctly and keep them clean.
  • Wear high-visibility clothing or accessories, or something white or bright.

Protect yourself

  • Wear a cycle helmet and make sure it is the correct size and properly fitted.

Make sure you know what’s going on around you

  • Have a good look around before starting, stopping, turning left and right and also before overtaking parked vehicles.
  • Use your ears as well as your eyes. Don't use a mobile phone or MP3 / iPod’s as they will distract you; you need all your senses so you are aware of everything around you.

Passing vehicles

  • Never pass nearside between traffic and the pavement especially close to junctions. Particularly with large vehicles where the driver may not have noticed you in their wing mirrors.

When you can ride on a pavement

When it is a designated as cycle path. Where this is the case, moderate your speed and take care when passing pedestrians and at junctions.