Cyclists: Lighten Up!

I’m sure it’s not particularly a Nottingham thing but has anyone noticed the amount of cyclists these days who ride around in the dark almost completely invisible with no lights on on their bikes?

Sometimes it’s youngsters but by no means always, do they actually realise the danger they are placing themselves in? How many of you have been shocked at just how indistinct these riders are when you’re out and about driving the roads? It’s just frightening. What’s more they don’t appear to care.

A lack of visibility?

It’s not just motorists who have to beware as the current vogue appears to be riding bikes on the pavements these days. Living just off an extremely busy arterial road into Nottingham, I can have plenty of sympathy with this but it’s also a danger to pedestrians, especially when the bikes are nipping along smartly with no lights. Why has this custom of not having lights grown the way it has? It’s hardly the most difficult thing to do to fit a couple of lights on your bike.

The main point I would make here is that of the lack of lighting on cycles on public roads. The issue of riding on pavements is a secondary one and as I mentioned I have some sympathy with that situation. Indeed I ride a bike myself occasionally so I’m well aware of the dangers.

There is no need not to have lighting whilst riding on a public road. No reasonable excuse that I can think of. I think the cyclists should worry about their own situation and safety. For me personally it’s not an issue, I have around a ton of Japanese motor car surrounding me when I’m out on the roads. It’s the cyclist’s call to attend to this simple matter that just might prevent them from getting seriously injured or sad to say, killed.

Pictured left is the proposed penalty for cycling without lights:

7 thoughts on “Cyclists: Lighten Up!”

  1. as i cyclist its all to easy to forget the little things like lights, not that its an excuse. Its a gripe which as a road user you will prob have to put up with im sorry to say. Cyclists have a very real gripe about road users as well, why dont they recognise cyclists as road users for example, why do they think cyclists are just in the way..

    goes to ways matey

  2. Cheers for the comments, Craig.

    I completely take your point about gripes against motorists too. I cycle at times and so have been on the wrong end of that too. What I wouldn’t do though is to cycle around in the dark with no lights on. That would be putting myself in danger which as a motorist also I realise all too well. Sometimes it’s absolutely frightening when a cyclist pulls out in front of you from ‘nowhere’ as they are not lit up.

    In spite of everything I’d still maintain there is no excuse not to have lights. I reckon you’d agree with that.

  3. Around here it’s usually old men on grey bikes, wearing grey clothes on a grey day.
    I make sure Josh has his non-very-cool reflective stuff on and his lights work before he goes out on his bike; even then I worry someone will run him over (it’s a mum thing; we worry-it’s in the job description).
    Frankly those who go out without lights etc are plain daft-and selfish-What happens to the poor driver who splats them because they have made themselves invisible?

  4. If I had kids I’d do exactly the same, Shell. It’s easy to see the danger that the young ones don’t recognise.

    I have a bike but it tends to come out in the summer only for leisure. If I rode at nights I’d wear every little item I could to make myself more visible. I’ve been knocked off a bike by a four-wheel drive (in daylight) a few years ago. It hurts.

  5. we at Cyril Seaton’s Cycle Roots take safety and responsibility seriously. A lot of the hooded youths who cycle their BMX bikes around late at night, without the benefits of lights or reflective garments, are the same ‘devil-may-care’ anti- socials who avoid all responsibilities, including responsibility for their own health and well being. The causes for this are systemic and can be traced back, I feel, to the undermining of working class culture that was initiated by PM Margaret Thatcher, from 1979 (though I do recognise that she was symptomatic of a wider/global trend), coupled with the misguided ‘respect’ agenda of the Left, which assumed inculcating school pupils with a sense of morality to be misguided because it would represent a conservative, white, middle class, patriarchal Euro-centric (i.e. ideologically unsound) morality and would, therefore, fail to respect the culture/s of the marginalised working class/ethnic minority pupil/s. Respect needs to be earned, not demanded! The consequences of the confluence of these two ideologies have been disastrous for our communities. It might seem far fetched to drag this broad communitarian agenda into a discussion on bikes, lights and road safety, but it’s all linked. Why do we (as a culture) drop so much litter? Why are so many babies born to single parents? Why are we so rude? Why, as Cols says, do we (the English) ‘know who we were, but not who we are’? The answers to these questions must lie beyond the realms of the old left/right dichotomy. I’m not saying I know what they are, but I do know that the solution lies in active engagement with community politics on the street…building communitarian values that recognise and reinforce the link between rights and responsibilities.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to offer some interesting theories there, Rex.

    I can buy much of that with regard to the youngsters who might be a direct of indirect product of the way society changed in the ‘eighties. It explains less a lot of the older riders a product of an earlier generation I see with no lighting on their cycles.

    I suppose the sight s that prompted me to write that piece were seeing lots of people of all ages who perhaps look like they’re using their bicycles to commute to work etc. Kids with hoods I wouldn’t be particulary surprised at really.

    In addition there many (usually immigrant) workers who pour down from the farm local to me along the pavements and main roads with no lights. Absolutely no problem with those folks who do a good job on the fields but what happened in this country in the 1980s’ wouldn’t explain their disdain for safety either.

    Thanks again for your comments.


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