With the clocks having gone back and the evening rush-hour commute now taking place in the dark, CTC, the national cycling charity, has appealed to drivers to be aware of cyclists.
Darker nights bring an obvious challenge at this time of year, but CTC points to fallen leaves and damp road conditions as being additional hazards for cyclists.
Cherry Allan, CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Information Co-ordinator, said:
“We would please ask that vehicle drivers are always aware of cyclists, but especially now that the evening commute for the vast majority of people is in darkness. Cycling is a wonderfully healthy pastime all year round and we want people to be able to cycle safely, easily and enjoyably, whatever the season.”
The organisation is also reminding cyclists that it is illegal to cycle on a public road between sunset and sunrise without lights and reflectors. Indeed a number of police forces take the week after the clocks have gone back as their cue to crack down on those cycling without lights. Already this week, Thames Valley Police has issued 167 fines in Oxford – although in most cases the penalty can be avoided if the person purchases lights and then presents them at the police station.
Cyclists must have white front and red rear lights lit at night and flashing lights are now permitted. The law also states that a bike must be fitted with a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors if it was manufactured after October 1, 1985.
CTC is also taking the opportunity to point drivers towards AA advice about sharing the road with cyclists, emphasising that they have the same rights while being more vulnerable than car users.
In particular, the AA advises drivers to give cyclists extra room in wet weather when surfaces are wet and slippery. This video featuring Chris Boardman demonstrates how to safely overtake cyclists.
The AA also advises drivers to consider riding a bike for some of their own journeys to get a better understanding of the risks cyclists face.