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Latest Oxford crackdown on unlit riders sees 97 FPNs issued

Fines can be avoided by buying lights, say police

Thames Valley Police's latest cycle lights operation in Oxford saw Special Constables issue fixed penalty notices (FPN) to 97 riders after stopping 110.

They can avoid the £50 fine by buying a set of front and rear lights and then presenting the receipt, along with the FPN, at any Thames Valley Police station within seven days of receiving the fine. The receipt must prove they bought the lights after the offence.

In the most recent previous police operation, on October 27, officers issued fined to 276 cyclists who did not have lights.

The objective is not to levy fines, according to Special Inspector Oscar Hayward. He said: "The operation is aimed at educating cyclists about how important it is that they are fully visible to all other road users.

“It is vital for cyclists to understand that just because they can see where they are going on a well lit street; it does not necessarily mean that they are fully visible to motorists approaching with their headlights on."

He said that cyclists must have front and rear lights and were advised to wear either some fluorescent or high visibility clothing.

He added: “The operation was a success and we will be carrying out further checks during the coming months."

Oxfordshire cycling campaign group Cyclox said it welcomed the operation.

Vice-chairman Dr Alison Hills told Matt Oliver of the Oxford Times: “We strongly support this initiative and applaud the police for undertaking it.

“We do not have our own education programme for this, but we are very supportive of anything that promotes greater visibility.

“Another key part of visibility at night comes from wearing high-visibility clothing, it is important and does have an impact with drivers.

“As a group we also feel that it is also important for car drivers to be aware of cyclists however.

“Driver behaviour plays a large role in safety, it must be a two-sided process.”

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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don simon fbpe | 3234 posts | 8 years ago

I agree with the light initiative, but disagree with the introduction of hi-vis jackets. I understand that it's a recommendation at this stage, but it'll soon become another point of compulsion as the helmet is now. This will put off the casual cyclists and cut journey numbers down. It also give the driver an opportunity to be less vigilant and put more blame onto the cyclist in a smidsy kind of way.
Now, if pedestrians are advised to wear hi-vis, well that's another story.  16

Initialised | 334 posts | 8 years ago

So when are we going to see pavement cyclists and RLJers getting sent on Bikeability courses to avoid fines?

Pete B replied to Initialised | 23 posts | 8 years ago
Initialised wrote:

So when are we going to see pavement cyclists and RLJers getting sent on Bikeability courses to avoid fines?

Humberside Police earlier in the year did say that is what they were going to do in Hull and I think the town of Beverly.

Though I assume it is not a full Bikeability Course as delivered in schools, rather one of the courses that Hull City Council are funding and taught by their Bikeability provider under the title “Rusty Riders”. The courses cost £5 which is refunded on completion, they last about 3 hours with a “Bikeability instructor” and they have two levels; one for people new to cycling (level 2 stuff ~ basic on road) and a more advance one for people that cycle regularly and are already fairly confident on the roads (level 3 stuff ~ multi-lane junctions, large roundabouts ect).

eddie11 | 119 posts | 8 years ago

Nothing to add but that's a great photo

giff77 | 2126 posts | 8 years ago

Flagged down a two wheeled peeler the other night to politely advise him that his rear light was fecked. He thanked me and said he would get the garage to sort it out for him later. I immediately offered him some batteries joking that it may stop his colleagues in traffic booking him for his trouble. He looked at me blankly and asked why would they want to do that. Cause your breaking the law says I. I'm not says he. You're in control of a vehicle without lights during the hours of darkness. It's in the Highway Code and covered by the RTA says I.

You'll never guess what he told me. That it was advisory and you weren't breaking any law to not have lights. That he'd been doing this policing job for years and had never heard of this 'law'. I suggested that he take a look at the HC and brush up on the Highways Act and he would discover otherwise. I couldn't believe it. So there you have it. It's official that lights on bikes are advisory here in Scotland at Keats in K division and that's straight from the mouth of Mr Polis

Pub bike replied to giff77 | 321 posts | 8 years ago
giff77 wrote:

It's official that lights on bikes are advisory here in Scotland at Keats in K division and that's straight from the mouth of Mr Polis

The whole highway code is advisory if you can afford a good enough lawyer  2

jasecd | 640 posts | 8 years ago

I don't think anyone can have a problem with cyclists being forced to use lights - it's genuinely really dangerous.

I'm sure we would all like to see this level of enforcement with all areas of the highway code - dangerous and inattentive driving, using mobiles, speeding etc. Until then this does seem to be an easy uneven approach to road safety.

Pub bike | 321 posts | 8 years ago

The police should be enforcing the MUST parts of the highway code before the should parts.

Rule 60, - a MUST rule - also mentions reflectors which are not mentioned in this article.

Rule 59, - a should rule - talks about clothing…

but as we heard earlier this week, doing all this and more can still result in being knocked off your bike.

oozaveared | 934 posts | 8 years ago

Much better policing. No fine and you make sure the no lighters buy lights.

On the A25 the other day at just before 6pm guy on a bike no lights and nothing reflective. I was behind and catching him up on my bike but at times with lights coming the other way even I couldn't see him and I knew he was there.

I had a polite word and got told to F*** Off.

Oolon Colluphid | 43 posts | 8 years ago

That's a great idea. Well done to them for not simply raking in the fines - giving the option to buy lights instead is excellent. Only comment I'd make is that the distinction should be made wherever possible between hi-viz and reflective. Hi-viz does nothing in the dark...

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