Steve Short, Director of Cheltenham Bikes is backing the police initiative in Bristol and hopes that Gloucester and Cheltenham constabulary also take part in the pilot scheme to stop cyclists riding without lights at night in order to reduce the number of casualties.
Steve said ‘I strongly believe that if Gloucestershire constabulary could follow suit then the number of cycling accidents that happen in the dark would be dramatically reduced. I have seen cyclists wearing dark clothing, riding a dark bike and with no lights during the evening rush hour. I think to myself that it’s just a matter of time before they are knocked off.’
After a recent crackdown in Bristol, the police have stopped 60 cyclists without lights in the space of two hours. Riding without lights is an offence and normally cyclists face a £50 fine if they are caught, however after seeing the scale of the problem in the city, officers have been piloting a new approach where the cyclists are given a week’s grace to get their bikes kitted out with properly fitted lights. Anyone who is issued a fine for riding without lights in Bristol city centre during the pilot scheme can go to the Bridewell police station and get their bikes checked to make sure that bike lights are working properly and if satisfied the fine will be cancelled.
According to the Fire Fighters Charity, 19,000 cyclists are killed or injured in reported road accidents each year, with around 3,000 being killed or seriously injured. The most dangerous times are between 8.00a.m to 9.00 a.m and 3.00p.m to 6.00 p.m on weekdays. However, cycling accidents in the dark are more likely to be fatal.
Cheltenham Bikes located at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station are able to service bicycles and supply and fit essential equipment such as lights. So no excuse to take the risk and cycle without lights, being able to see and be seen is essential and could help keep you safe, especially on these dark winter nights.
Steve Short, Director of Cheltenham Bikes says “Safety is a paramount and like a car, regular servicing can help keep you protected.”
Avoid cycling fatalities with these tips endorsed by Steve, Director of Cheltenham Bikes for both motorists and cyclists – taken from THINK! Cyclist campaign.
1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning -make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them.
2. Use your indicators – signal your intentions so that cyclists can react
3. Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width. If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to maneuver suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened
4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door
5. Avoid driving over advanced stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility
6. Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
1. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the curb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you
2. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like Lorries or buses, where you might not be seen
3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor.
4. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility
5. Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights
6. THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations
Steve Short is the Director of Compass Holidays and Cheltenham Bikes which are both based in Cheltenham. He has been in the sector for over 20 years and definitely knows his stuff! Cheltenham Bikes is the only Cheltenham-based bike hire centre and is open by appointment all year. At Cheltenham bikes, you can hire out bikes and E-bikes, purchase pre-owned, new and used bikes, purchase new and used E-bikes and offer a repair and service existing bikes.