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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.”

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson 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 CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com 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 TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined road.cc in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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