POLICE have voiced alarm at the number of cyclists in Peterborough who have put lights on their bicycles the wrong way round.
Instead of putting a white light on the front of the cycle and a red one at the rear, many have got the red on the front – causing a danger for motorists
It is part of a larger problem caused by cyclists who fail to make themselves visible after dark, and officers will spend the next two weeks warning people about the need for lights.
After that, they will impose zero-tolerance, £30 on-the-spot fines beginning next month.
PC Steve Godfrey said: “It is definitely getting worse. The biggest problem is people not riding with any lights, but the issue of putting them on the wrong way round is one of our biggest concerns.
“If you are driving a car and see a white light in front of you, you think it is a cyclist coming towards you. That is particularly dangerous at junctions.
“The driver could misjudge the space and it could end up being very dangerous.
“Up until the end of the month we are giving advice to cyclists about what they should do, because a lot of it is that they just don’t know the law.
“A lot of people say ‘it’s all right, I’m just on the pavement’, but that is still illegal.
“After that we will be giving them £30 on-the-spot fines. Of course, if their lack of appropriate lighting causes an accident the punishment could be a lot worse.”
The police have set up a deal with a number of cycle shops that means anyone buying bike lights this month will get a 10 per cent discount if they mention Cambridgeshire Police.
The shops taking part are Bristows (Orton Longueville), Marstons (Whittlesey), Greenwheel Cycles (Fengate), Woodston Cycles (Oundle Road), On Yer Bike (Lincoln Rd) and Richardsons (Queensgate).
PC Godfrey added: “All the shops tell people how to properly fit the lights, and some even do it for them at no extra cost.”
PC Godfrey is a keen cyclist and takes an active role in ensuring bike safety.
He regularly updates his Twitter followers on bike-related issues in the city, and gives talks on safe cycling in Peterborough schools.
The council’s SaferPeterborough partnership is also promoting bike safety with its Think! campaign.
Clair George, road safety officer for the SaferPeterborough partnership, said: “All road users are at risk of not being seen as the dark nights draw in. People are often hurt in crashes simply because they are not easily visible.
“The problem is worse in winter, as heavy rain and fog and shorter daylight hours cause poor visibility.
Lighting laws for cyclists
PC Steve Godfrey regularly updates his @vikeonabike Twitter followers on safe bike lighting.
October 8: “Cyclists of Peterborough... get some lights on!”
October 17: “Note to self! Check you actually have more than one ticket in the book before going out to educate cyclists on lights. New very full ticket book ready for tomorrow!”
November 14: “Far too many cyclist out on the roads without lights again tonight!”
What do you think?