Cycling UK asks drivers to be aware in autumn

The evening commute is in darkness now the clocks have gone back. Picture: Sam Webster from Flickr Creative Commons

Cycling UK asks drivers to be aware in autumn

Cycling UK has appealed to drivers to be aware of cyclists now the clocks have gone back and the evening rush-hour commute is in darkness.

British Summer Time will end at 2am on Sunday 30 October, meaning lighter mornings but darker evenings for the school run or commute, whether you are on two or four wheels.

Fallen leaves and damp road conditions can add to the potential autumn hazards for cyclists.

Cherry Allan, Cycling UK’s Campaigns and Policy Information Co-ordinator, said: “We would please ask that vehicle drivers are always aware of cyclists, but especially now that the evening commute for the vast majority of people is in darkness.

“Cycling is a wonderfully healthy pastime all year round and we want people to be able to cycle safely, easily and enjoyably, whatever the season.”

The law states it is illegal to cycle on a public road between sunset and sunrise without lights and reflectors, as defined by the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations – the current version of which was published in 1989 and most recently amended in 2009.

Cycling UK says cyclists, like all road users, should behave responsibly and within the law and should ensure that they and their cycles are visible at night.

Cyclists have the same rights on the road and as a driver you should remember that you are sharing the road with cyclists. Cyclists are more vulnerable than car users – take particular care near cyclists and give them plenty of room at all times."

The AA's advice to drivers

Cyclists must have white front and rear lights lit at night – flashing lights are now permitted. They must have their cycle fitted with a red rear reflector, and amber pedal reflectors if it was manufactured after 1 October 1985.

There is also the issue of ‘twilight dazzle’ potentially affecting all road users at this time of year before the sun actually sets.

The AA has a list of general tips for drivers regarding cyclists, several of which are particularly relevant now the clocks have gone back one hour.

The AA advises: "Cyclists have the same rights on the road and as a driver you should remember that you are sharing the road with cyclists. Cyclists are more vulnerable than car users – take particular care near cyclists and give them plenty of room at all times.

"Drivers should give as much room as practically possible when overtaking a cycle – Highway Code Rule 163 illustrates one car’s width – they may have to move out to avoid hazards like drains, potholes, or other debris on the road that you may not be able to see.

"At night, drivers should use dipped headlights when approaching cyclists as they would when approaching any other road user.

“And they should allow cyclists extra room in wet weather as surfaces will be wet and slippery.”

The AA also advises drivers to consider riding a bike for some of their own journeys to get a better understanding of the risks cyclists face.

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