Free lights for the lightless in Kingston, Surrey

Local cycling campaign engages with unlit BMX riders and others

by Mark Appleton   November 24, 2010  

Kingston Cycling Campaign's John Dunn and Derek Underwood.jpg

Readers of road.cc will know that we’re big on promoting safe cycling at night through the use of lights, reflectors and appropriate clothing.

We have also urged the government to do more to remind drivers that they need to be especially vigilant when it comes to vulnerable road users during the hours of darkness.

Cyclists who don’t use lights don’t help the cause and in Surrey, the Kingston Cycling Campaign (KCC) has recently attempted to tackle this issue and engage with lightless cyclists by stopping them and offering to fit their bikes with lights for free.

Jon Fray, a campaigner with the KCC explained: “We are well aware that there are some people who don’t use bike lights and we know this is a cause of friction between riders and drivers. People we gave lights to said that their lights had broken or they hadn’t got around to getting lights. We hope that by providing lights we can help to make cycling safer.”

The Campaign was especially pleased to help youngsters who were riding without lights on their BMX bikes. Jon Fray said: “We thought that it might be difficult to get lads who ride BMX bikes to have lights on their bikes, but we were pleased that they could see that we weren’t telling them off and wanted to help. We were pleased to find that the majority of cyclists – particularly people commuting by bike - already had bike lights and didn't need our help."

The KCC had raised money to buy the lights by running classroom sessions teaching people how to maintain their bikes. The Campaign was helped by Waldens Cycles of London Road, Kingston who supplied the lights at a reduced cost.
 

3 user comments

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Great idea.

Be good if old lights could also be donated.

posted by gazzaputt [176 posts]
24th November 2010 - 16:12

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Thanks Gazzaputt.
The lights we gave out were branded 'Sprint CPA'* and they are the kidney-shaped lights. The same product seems to be available branded as Smart, Torch, Oxford, Wilkinson and Centurion (from hardware shops). We chose these lights because:

1) They are good and bright (no nasty green LEDS in the front!)
2) They have the advantage of using AAA batteries in both the front and rear lamps (helpful when you go buying new batteries)
3) They are small and go in your pocket easily
4) They don't easily switch on if they're in your pocket or bag (unlike some more expensive brands I could mention)
5) They're cheap - Wilkinson has a set for just £6.97 including batteries. We managed to get pairs of lights for just £5 thanks to our helpful local bike shop.
6) They've proved to be durable - I've been using a rear light of this design for 2 years and it's still working fine (yes, I have changed the batteries though! Smile )

I hope this info is helpful for any other club or group that is considering doing something similar.

There's more info here: www.kingstoncycling.org.uk

*I've read that Sprint has been bought up by Oxford Products.

posted by Jon Fray [8 posts]
26th November 2010 - 13:10

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Wilko have those lights on their website (here).

A year or so ago my local Tesco were selling the kidney rear light so cheaply (£3?) I bought one. Running on 2xAAA, it's surprisingly bright and has a simple bracket (better IMHO than Cateye's silly Flex-Tight affair).

Cycle Shrewsbury

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posted by Simon E [1772 posts]
26th November 2010 - 17:16

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