On Thursday night, over 30 cyclists were stopped in Cambridge in the first hour of an operation designed to crack down on people who ride without lights in the dark. Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Sir Graham Bright, says the annual Operation LIT is ‘not about giving cyclists a hard time’.
Running until November 22, Operation LIT – which stands for ‘Lights Instead of Tickets’ – is so-named because those stopped will be able to get out of paying the £50 fine by purchasing bike lights and then presenting the receipt and LIT form at Parkside police station within seven working days.
Speaking to Cambridge News Online, Sir Graham Bright commented:
"This campaign is not about giving cyclists a hard time. It is about keeping them, and other road users, safe.
"Many of the people stopped had lights in their bags but had not attached them. Once attached they were sent on their way with no charge. With the longer nights, now is the ideal time to remind people of the need to keep safe and make sure that other road users can see them."
PC Simon Railer, from Cambridgeshire police, said that as a minimum requirement, cyclists should have a good set of working lights fitted to their bike – a white light to the front and a red to the rear. He also recommended the use of a high visibility top and reflective-aids.
However, while few would argue with the importance of having lights on a bike, some locals have questioned police priorities. A Cambridge resident told road.cc:
“Police here really need to concentrate on the thing that actually harms cyclists, which is careless, reckless or impatient driving."
Earlier this week, a similar blitz in Oxford saw 267 cyclists given fixed penalty notices in three hours. Again, it is possible to avoid the fine by purchasing a set of lights.