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Southport and  Mersey Reporter -  Your free online newspaper service covering the Merseyside region - (Greater Liverpool).
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Issue:- 12 December 2014

Cyclists told to stay safe and stay in the law

CYCLISTS on Merseyside are being urged to stay safe on the roads this Christmas. Also for those who get a new bike in their stocking are being encouraged to ask for good quality bike locks from Santa aswell! The advice comes after Police in Formby, Ainsdale and Birkdale and Southport, have received complaints from the public about some cyclists not being visible enough on the roads and others riding on the pavement. Officers are also highlighting to motorists in these areas the need to be aware other road users such as cyclists and motorbikers, especially during the dark mornings and afternoons and icy conditions. Police stress to motorists to apply the Highway Code to their driving; observing 'Stop' and 'Give Way' signs and traffic lights.

Neighbourhood Inspector Jim Atherton said:- "As Christmas is coming and many people are buying new bikes for Christmas I would ask that everyone takes a few moments to consider bike safety and security. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing and putting good quality lights on the front and back of your bike increases your visibility. I would also encourage people to put a bike helmet on their Christmas list as they could potentially save your life or prevent serious injury if you do come off. It is also the Law to have lights on your bike at night and in low light!"

Also on the Police's Christmas wish list for residents who like to pedal are bike locks. The theft of bikes from sheds, schools, streets and stations is a growing trend across the UK.

Inspector Atherton added:- "It only takes a second to steal an unlocked bike but if you invest in a strong, good quality lock from a recognised manufacturer it could be worth its weight in gold if it deters a thief."

This comes after the British Transport Police (BTP) released the shocking number of bike thefts reported to the in 2013, with 5318 bikes being reported stolen to them. That is an estimated value of over £1.5million were stolen from Britain's train stations alone! In response British Transport Police (BTP) arrested 1381 people over 2013, abut the is litle confert to those who lost their bikes! Correctly securing a bike using a good quality gold standard lock and ensuring your bike is marked and registered will deter a thief from stealing or attempting to steal a bike. Unsurprisingly the majority of the 5318 bikes stolen from the railway network last year were not secured correctly or had substandard locks.

BTP Superintendent Jason Bunyard, who headed up this years Operation Wiggins, on Merseyside, part of a national day of action to tackle the rise in this type of crime said:- "Over the past few years we have seen an increase in passengers using bikes to travel to and from railway stations. Following continued investments in cycling infrastructure, events such as the Tour de France, and with people being more conscious of the environment and their health, there has been a huge surge in their popularity. Unfortunately this has also provided increased opportunities for thieves due to them being relatively easy to steal and dispose of bikes sadly remain an attractive target for thieves. More bikes stolen will lead to in an increase in insurance claims resulting in higher insurance premiums for everyone. Thieves need to operate quickly to reduce their chances of being caught, having a heavy duty lock will make their job much more difficult and they are more likely to abandon any attempt to steal your bike. Its quite surprising that someone would spend over £1000 on a bike then use a £5 lock to secure it. We would always recommend spending at least 10% of the bike cost on an appropriate lock. Don't be tempted in purchasing a bargain bike online, from someone on the street or down the pub either with no questions asked. You could be prosecuted for handling stolen goods and will be landed with a criminal record. Always insist on a proof of ownership and check the bike frame number on:-"

And as a finally festive gift, Police are point new and existing bike owners to:-, a website linked to a Police database where valuables can be given a unique identity code so that the rightful owner can be traced if it is ever stolen and recovered.

If your bike is stolen on railway property, contact BTP on:- 0800 405 040. Having your Bike Register number, a photo and any other details to hand may help the Police investigate. Also if stolen in any other location call:- 101 and also having your Bike Register number, a photo and any other details to hand may help the Police investigate.

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