Make cycling safe and enjoyable

I THINK it is prudent at this time of year, with the daylight hours shortening and British Summer Time soon to end with clocks going back one hour, to highlight the importance of cyclists having working lights on their bicycles, and to wear some kind of reflective or light coloured clothing to help with visibility.

In addition, I would like to appeal to old and young alike the importance of wearing a cycle helmet, especially if undertaking a road journey or any kind of stunt cycling.

In the area where I reside in Newbiggin I think I must be about the only cyclist who routinely wears a helmet and uses cycle lights.

Also note that flashing cycle lights, when attached to the bike frame are not legal and must only be used when attached to, for example, a cycle cape.

I am both a car driver and cyclist and also make the appeal to parents to start their children off correctly with the appropriate protective cycling gear and to get them enrolled on cycle proficiency courses.

Far too many children now just ride around streets and roads without any highway code knowledge or cycle sense, and it is an accident just waiting to happen, in my opinion.

The argument that safety equipment is too expensive does not make sense either.

Lights can be purchased for as little as £5 and a suitable cycle helmet for about £10, which is small per cent of the overall cost of a bike, especially when a child’s safety is at stake.

The alternative, and especially when children are left unsupervised on bikes, is to run the risk of them not only being in an accident, but also potentially being the cause, simply because they could not be seen in the dark.

I personally have had to treat head injuries when bikers have had accidents and helmets do make a significant difference, especially as young children’s skulls are not fully developed and more likely to fracture under impact.

Cycle helmets are more than adequate for protection at speeds appropriate to bicycling.

More and more people have turned to cycling for transport, especially to save money in these times of austerity, but my appeal is not to scrimp on safety equipment.

Educate children about road sense and to keep cycling a safe, enjoyable as well as healthy, lifestyle choice.