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Cycle safety: Advice for cyclists

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Stay visible while cycling at night

When the days are shorter it is more important than ever to ensure your bicycle is not only road worthy but also kitted correctly for night use.

There are also several legal requirements you must adhere to when thinking about taking your bike out at night:

Cycling and the law

If you are on the roads when it’s dark your bicycle is legally required to have both lights and reflectors fitted.

  • Your front light must be white and have a 110 degree visibility
  • Your rear light must be red
  • Front and rear lights are allowed to flash
  • You must also have a red rear reflector and BS6102/2 amber reflectors on the front and rear of each pedal

Although the legal requirement is for the front light to have a 110 degree visibility, in practice not many cyclists are fully aware of this. Ensure that your front facing bike light meets this requirement to help ensure you are more visible from different angles. To give you extra visibility from the side also consider spoke reflectors.

What you need to know when sharing the road with motor vehicles and cycles

The document attached to this page is aimed at:

  • Instilling mutual understanding and respect between all road users, asking them to reconsider their attitudes on the road and remember that even the most experienced people make mistakes.
  • Make motorists, pedestrians and cyclists more aware of one another, and to counter the intolerance that can develop between them by changing their competitive mind-set to a more considerate one.
  • Make the first steps in establishing a climate of mutual courtesy and care.
  • Contribute ultimately to a reduction in road related accidents, an increase in cycling and walking and a reduction in road congestion

The Code gives positive advice equally applicable to all road users and, where necessary, specific positive advice which only applies to one group of users.

General cycle safety at night

It is good practice to use your rear light when cycling during the autumn and winter months as the weather can change quickly and being as visible as possible on the road should be a priority.

Hi-viz clothing is also an ideal way of staying visible during dusk and dark nights. Reflective clothing is a highly effective way of being seen on the busy roads, especially when it is worn on parts of the body that move.

What to consider

  • Hi-viz clothing is very effective at making you visible at night
  • Add reflective items to body parts that move, i.e. shoes with reflective strips, reflective wrist bands and gloves
  • If wearing a back pack or rucksack ensure it has reflective strips or areas for greater visibility
  • Wear a rear light on your back pack or your helmet for extra visibility. The additional height of the light will be at eye level for most motorists
  • Ensure the batteries in your lights are always in full working order and not running low

Staying visible on the roads during the winter months is important; it doesn’t cost the earth and can help you have many hours of safe cycling.