With it being longer in the mornings until day breaks and the nights starting to draw in it will not be too long before the police and road safety agencies, through various media, issue their yearly warning to cyclist about having lights on their bikes and wearing high visibility & reflective clothing. The clocks go back by one hour at 2.00 am on Sunday 30 October. In winter it becomes ever more important for cyclists not to ride unlit in the dark. Aside from the fact that cycling in the dark without lights is illegal, if you've never driven you may not realise how invisible unlit cyclists can be at night.
Bike lights must be used when riding on a public road, cycle path or public place between sunset and sunrise or in conditions of seriously reduced visibility during the day. There are however many cyclists who, for some reason, chose not to have lights on the bikes.
Being a regular cyclist traveling a daily nine mile round trip to work and back on various shift I get to see cyclists in the early morning and the late evening blatantly flouting the law and cycling without lights. Countless times I have also witnessed the police drive passed them in their cars and take no action, what message does this send out? Some cyclists even chose to use the footpath as in some way trying to mitigate the fact they have no lights.
Cycling along Ashby Road and down Cottage Beck Road upwards of eight to 10 cyclists I witness without lights and that’s in the 10 minute time scale of that part of my journey, if I were to stop outside the TA Centre for an hour there must be scores of cyclists heading to either the steelworks or the Midland Road Industrial Estate without lights and sadly, from what I’ve witnessed, the police seem less that willing to take any action.
Two Cyclists on Cottage Beck Road
Cycle lights these day are cheap and easy to maintain, the LED type also use little energy so constantly having to fork out for batteries is no longer a problem.
Some people are concerned that if they use LED lights or flashing lights on their bike they are breaking the law. In the UK, a change in the law from 21st October 2005, permits a bike to be fitted with flashing lights, rear and/or front At the same time, some loopholes have been closed which previously made LEDs a 'grey area'. All steady lights (LED or filament, or HID) must be BS-approved to be legal in the UK.
One is required, showing a white light, positioned centrally or offside, up to 1500mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the front. If capable of emitting a steady light it must be marked as conforming to BS6102/3 or an equivalent EC standard. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least 4 candela.
One is required, to show a red light, positioned centrally or offside, between 350mm and 1500mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind. If capable of emitting a steady light it must be marked as conforming to BS3648, or BS6102/3, or an equivalent EC standard. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least 4 candela.
One is required, coloured red, marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), positioned centrally or offside, between 250mm and 900mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind.
Four are required, coloured amber and marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), positioned so that one is plainly visible to the front and another to the rear of each pedal.
I would hope that when the police and road safety agencies issue this years warning to cyclist to light up and be seen that (a) cyclist do indeed light up and be seen & (b) the police take pro-active action against those cyclist who break the law.
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