One in four cyclists dangerously under-lit
17 June 2008
One in four Wellington cyclists dangerously under-lit
The winter months are well and truly here, and many cyclists are commuting to and from work in the dark. Unfortunately not all cyclists are using adequate lighting and reflective gear – placing themselves and other road users in danger.
Over the past three weeks, Council road safety officers and Police have been stopping cyclists throughout the city to discuss visibility issues and enforce Road Code requirements. They stopped more than 400 cyclists and found one in four were riding dangerously under-lit bicycles.
The Council’s Urban Development and Transport Portfolio Leader, Councillor Andy Foster, says the results of the exercise are worrying.
“In spite of the obvious risks, cyclists are still putting themselves in danger by riding without lights. Cyclists should value their own safety and that of others. One in four of those stopped by Police were riding poorly lit bicycles, making it very difficult for them to be seen by drivers.”
“It’s just plain common sense for every cyclist to ‘light up and be seen’ during the gloomy days and dark nights of our Wellington winter. Clearly not all cyclists have got the message and our road safety officers and Police will be continuing with their enforcement efforts over the coming weeks. To help people be safe and seen we are offering vouchers with a 20 percent discount on cycle lights and reflective gear.”
Police Senior Sergeant Richard Hocken says that ensuring the safety of all road users is a primary concern.
“Cyclists riding without adequate lighting are putting themselves and other road users in danger. Over 25% of cycle accidents in Wellington occur after dark – the figure for the rest of New Zealand is 17%.” He said 310 cyclists had been injured in accidents in Wellington city over the past 5 years.
“The Road Code is clear about the legal requirements. All bicycles must have a steady or flashing rear-facing red light that can be seen from a distance of 100 metres and a steady white or yellow headlight that can be seen from a distance of 100 metres. Bicycles must also have a rear red or yellow reflector at least 35 square centimetres in size. Pedal reflectors or reflective clothing must also be used.”
“Even during the day, cyclists should wear lights and reflective gear if it is gloomy – and make sure they can be seen from front, back and sides. They should also remember to check their batteries regularly. Cyclists found to be cycling unlit or under-lit bicycles can expect to be stopped by Police and fined $55 for each breach of the Road Code.”
If you need a bike light and would like a voucher offering a 20 percent discount on lights and reflective gear, please call the Council on 499 4444.