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Publication date:- 2017-09-12

user-generated Headlines and reports on this page = 3 news items.    Page - 6.

Cyclists take note!

IF you are buying a bike for your children / yourself or anyone else this Christmas, please remember to get lights. It is illegal to cycle on a public road after dark without lights and reflectors in the UK, yet sadly too many accidents happen due to riders not having lights on bikes. You might think it is ok, but you not only put yourself in danger but pedestrians and other road users too. But it is also worth noting that when you have seriously reduced visibility, after rain or in fog, even in summer, having lights on your bike will keep you more visible to predestines and other road users.

Other complaints we have been getting are about the increasing numbers of people, of all ages, riding on the pavements. This too is a prosecutable offence, plus, should you have an accident that seriously hurts or kills someone, you are looking at the prospect of facing a jail sentence, not just a fine!

This Highway Code applies to England, Scotland and Wales. The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone and not only keeps you safe, but also it keeps others safe.

The Code clearly says:- "At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp. Law RVLR regs 13, 18 & 24."

It also clearly says:- "You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement. Laws HA 1835 sect 72 & R(S)A 1984, sect 129."

How many times do you see cyclists, or in some cases don't see cyclists, at night or in low light and /or in poor weather conditions, dressed in dark clothing? Oddly unlike other vehicles, pedal cycles are not legally required to light up when conditions of seriously reduced visibility occur in daytime, within the UK… But, the Highway Code does recommend you should wear fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in dimmed daylight plus light reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark. It goes on to add that you should wear a cycle helmet, which conforms to current regulations, that it is the correct size and wear securely fastened appropriate clothes for cycling. It also suggests you should avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights and reflectors.

If you do not know the UK's Highway Code visit:- HighwayCodeUK.Co.UK. If you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence!

Other things readers have contacted us about over 2017 has been the rise of people of all ages riding dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner… So it's worth noting that the code clearly says:- "You MUST NOT carry a passenger unless your cycle has been built or adapted to carry one, hold onto a moving vehicle or trailer, ride in a dangerous, careless or inconsiderate manner, ride when under the influence of drink or drugs, including medicine. Law RTA 1988 sects 24, 26, 28, 29 & 30 as amended by RTA 1991 69."

Plus the report about cyclists riding through red lights, again it is clearly stated:- "You MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals". Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD reg 10(1)." But some Toucan Crossings allow cyclists and pedestrians to share crossing space and cross at the same time. In those case cyclists are permitted to ride across.

Your front light, must be a white light, emitting at least 4 candelas, positioned centrally or offside (the right hand side of the bike), up to 1500mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the front. If capable of emitting a steady light, it must be marked as conforming to BS6102/3 or an equivalent EC standard. It might be a fashion for helmet lights to be used, but it doesn't conform and is therefore not legal. It is also worth noting that 1 candela is approximate to 12 lumens. It is also worth noting that in 2005 for the Regulations to be amended to allow the use of flashing bicycle lights, as long as it flashes between 60 and 240 times per minute (1Hz to 4Hz). It must also be positioned centrally.

Your back light must be a red light, or sited centrally offside (the right hand side of the bike), between 350mm and 1500mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind. This light must conform to BS3648, or BS6102/3, or an equivalent EC standard.

Your bike must have 1 rear reflector, coloured red, marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), positioned centrally or offside (on the right hand side of the bike), between 250mm and 900mm, from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind.

If you're going to ride your bicycle in the dark, you should also have 4 pedal reflectors; coloured amber, marked BS6102/2 (or equivalent), and positioned so that 1 is plainly visible to the front and another to the rear of each of your pedals. Reflective ankle bands etc which are not fixed to the bike, and the like, are not seen as replacements.

Oddly, pedal reflectors are not required if you have a pre-1985 steel framed bike as the law is not retroactive, so you can ride it in the dark without fear of prosecution; only fear a very nasty accident.

If you are 1 of the growing numbers of cyclists using Cycle Trailers, you must also have a rear lamp and a triangular rear reflector with an ECE mark III or IIIA.

Please do share this information on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Merseyside Police have informed us that they are making notes of riders who they spot breaking the law and will soon be taking action very soon. So this Christmas, please stay safe. Just because you are not in a car, does not make you exempt from the UK's Highway Code.  So cyclists, if you are not yet properly equipped, please ask Santa for lights this Christmas…!

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