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Stand out at night. Be bright on your bike.

Stand out at night. Be bright on your bike.

Cyclists out on the roads this winter need to be bright. A new Greater Wellington campaign focuses on simple ways for cyclists to be visible to other road users.

Regional cycling co-ordinator Ian Kirkman says many cyclists ride in urban environments where they feel that they can see well enough to navigate, so they don’t use lights.

“This can be very dangerous, because cyclists without lights are often not seen by motorists, even under street lights. Reflectors can provide good visibility for overtaking traffic, but most dangers of car-bike collisions come from the front or side of the cyclist so visible front lights are especially important,” he says.

Terry McDavitt, chairman of the Regional Land Transport Committee, says cycling needs to be a viable transport mode choice.

“This campaign follows our “Don’t burst their bubble” message to help make cycling safe, accessible and pleasant.”

A Greater Wellington survey last year revealed that 75% of cyclists had front lights and 82% had rear lights. But outside of Wellington city, far fewer people use lights (in some places less than 60%). Overall, only 40% of cyclists used reflective gear and 29% wore high visibility (bright coloured) clothing.

Greater Wellington’s campaign using community and daily newspapers will compliment local council activities throughout the region.

Sue Johnson, Kapiti Coast District Council road safety access and design co-ordinator says she has arranged for the police to hand out lights to cyclists who aren’t visible at night.

“It’s more useful for them to be given something rather than a ticket,” she says.

Sue also encourages the use of high-visibility vests. “You don’t need expensive gear, you can get $10 vests from Placemakers. They’re not beautiful but they might save your life.”

Lights are essential for visibility when cycling at night. However, reflective clothing may help approaching drivers estimate cyclists size and distance more easily and accurately than can just a single lamp or reflector. Ankle or pedal reflectors move and attract attention. Cyclists must remember that reflective clothing supplements, but never replaces, good lights and bike-mounted reflectors.

All cyclists who ride at night should regularly check their lights to make sure they are visible and fit fresh batteries on a regular basis.

• For more information on cyclists and lights and riding on the road, see www.gw.govt.nz/cycling.


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