Unsafe cyclists spark action in London

Campaigners hand out free LEDs to encourage use of lights

Campaigners in the London borough of Kingston upon Thames got so fed up with seeing cyclists riding at night without lights that they decided to hand some out for free. They hope to inspire other groups around the UK to do the same.

Members of the Kingston Cycling Campaign (KCC) came up with the idea three years ago. So far this year, they've given away free front and rear LEDs following the switch-on of the town centre's Christmas lights last month and will be in Kingston Market Place on Thursday doing the same.

Campaigner Jon Fray told BikeRadar: "Cyclists not having lights can be a safety problem but it also annoys motorists inordinately and a lot of cyclists, too. We read about police starting to fine people for not having lights and thought that, rather than giving out leaflets warning people, we'd give out lights. It's been very well received."

Mr Fray said the Richmond Cycling Campaign had expressed interest in doing the same thing, and the Kingston group hoped to inspire people in other areas of the country to take action.

The lights being given away are kidney-shaped LEDs sold under the name Sprint – although KCC say identical-looking lights are sold under the names Torch, Smart, Wilko and Oxford for as little as £7 – which were chosen after extensive testing of budget bike lights by the group.

In an hour-and-a-half after the lights switch-on last month, they handed out 19 front or rear lights, which were bought at a reduced cost from local bike shop Walden's Cycles using money raised via bike maintenance sessions. Mr Fray said: "We were pleased to find that the majority of cyclists – particularly people commuting by bike – already had lights and didn't need our help."

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