Cyclists in Portsmouth have been reminded to 'Be bright, be seen' in a joint operation between Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire Police.
Over 100 cyclists were stopped at three events between November 2019 and February 2020 where they reminded riders about the importance of being visible when cycling after dark.
The council's safer travel team issued 77 sets of temporary lights and 44 high vis rucksacks to encourage cyclists to stay visible during the darkest winter hours, when cycling casualties increase.
The events were held on Fratton Bridge, Albert Road and Cosham High Street between 4pm and 7pm to give cyclists travelling an opportunity to speak to officers. Cyclists were stopped if they weren't properly and safely equipped for cycling at night time.
Of the 109 cyclists spoken to, 19 were issued with tickets by the police for cycling without lights after dark, which is illegal and subject to a fixed penalty notice. Cyclists purchasing lights within 28 days from one of the council's recommended suppliers will have the £50 fine waived. The shop will fit the lights for free.
Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said "It's great that so many people are choosing to cycle rather than relying on their cars, as this helps to make our air cleaner. However, cyclists have to be aware of their responsibility, to themselves and to other road users, and to stay within the law.
Between October and March, when the evenings are darker earlier, we see a 50% increase in cycling-related casualties. That's why these events with the police are so important to remind cyclists to be bright, be seen and stay safe after dark."
Hampshire Constabulary road safety officers, Sergeant Scott Kerr and PC Dave Hazlett, said, “Together with our partners we can make a difference by promoting, educating and where required enforcing the safety of cyclists across the city. This is a positive initiative that we are happy to support, knowing injuries will be reduced and lives will be saved as a result.”
It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights. Cyclists can buy low-cost, good-quality lights and other cycling products from the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square. Simply ask at reception for details.
The council is committed to making the city's roads safer for cyclists. Recent improvement works have been carried out in a number of areas, including the A2047, which runs through Fratton and North End. The road now features clearly marked and widened cycle lanes to increase visibility of riders along this busy route.