Bicycle Network: Behaviour
Light Up! 2010
On the blink! Riders urged to shine this winter.
Defying the elements
5 August 2010. It was dark, it was raining, the cars were all over the place, but still they rode, oblivious to it all: the riders without lights.
The third Light Up exercise of the winter was staged this week in Albert Park, where riders were intercepted by Police for a lights check and asked to participate in a research survey.
Despite atrocious weather conditions, many hardy commuters were making the trip home to various parts of the City of Port Phillip and beyond by bike.
The real surprise was that a proportion of riders were prepared to tempt fate by riding in those conditions without a front or rear light. Or even no lights.
Luckily for these riders Police directed them to the Bicycle Network Victoria volunteers where they were fitted with a free set of high quality lights in return for completing the research survey.
Other riders with lights agreed to also do the survey. Some of those were fortunate enough to win a new Crumpler messenger bag, courtesy of Victoria Police.
Thousands of riders have been assessed in this year's Light Up events in the cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip. Hundreds of sets of lights have been distributed.
The project has proved the benefit of councils, Police and Bicycle Network Victoria working together to engage riders and steer them towards better and less risky behaviour.
The research data will be analysed with a view to designing better Light Up results next year.
Napier shines bright tonight
30 June 2010. Bicycle Network Victoria, Victoria Police and the City of Melbourne ran the second stage of the Light Up campaign at the intersection of Napier and Johnston Street in Fitzroy. Bicycle Network Victoria staff and police officers stopped bike riders without (adequate) lights, told them about the implications of doing so and conducted a survey with these riders. Riders with good lights were also invited to participate. From this one evening, of all the riders we stopped and talked to approximately 30% were without lights.
Each rider without a light was given a new, high quality one for free and in most cases we even fitted it for them. Thus, every rider that went past rode the remaining distance with good and well-functioning lights. Riders will be contacted in a month time to determine whether they use lights regularly now and their attitude.
Blitz lights up Carlton!
20 May 2010. Almost 1000 riders were
checked for lights as they rode through North Carlton during the first Let there be light blitz, and most passed the test.
Less than ten per cent of riders failed to have legal lights, a lower number than expected.
Police, Bicycle Network Victoria and inner city council representatives were out in force on the corner of Princes and Canning Streets in Carlton as part of the annual campaign to make riders visible in the dim and dark.
More than 200 riders with lights volunteered to undertake a survey on lights use. A lucky five received a free Crumpler messenger bag courtesy of Victoria Police.
About 60 riders without lights were intercepted. They were cautioned, and required to take the survey. They were then given a set of high quality front and rear lights.
Two more similar exercises are planned this winter after which a full analysis of the surveys will be undertaken and published.
Some early feedback from riders on the night indicates that many without lights actually think that they are highly visible to other traffic and that the lights are not really necessary.
Theft of lights is quite common -- the design of mounts is not conducive to people taking them on and off easily so riders leave them on and they get stolen.
Rear baskets often did not have proper mounting locations -- a design fault. Peak hour commuters offended least -- they seem well aware of the value of lights. Those without lights tended to ride after the peak.
Let there be light!
11 May 2010. The first of this winter\'s special Police blitzes on bike lights will be launched next week in a joint venture with Bicycle Network Victoria, road safety authorities and inner city councils.
Routes in Carlton will be the focus as riders are intercepted by Police, issued warnings or fines if appropriate, and provided with information on how to ride both legally and visibly.
A major part of the exercise is a research survey which riders will be asked to undertake so as to discover how best to ensure that riders use lights. [See survey on right]
As an incentive hundreds of sets of high quality lightsâ€”those featured in the recent RideOn reviewâ€”will be awarded during this and future blitzes to cooperating participants. Even riders with legal lights will be asked to take the survey. Attractive prizes are on offer to those who take the time to help out.
Further blitzes will be carried out in the inner suburbs in the coming months.
The initiative is part of a joint campaign by Bicycle Network Victoria, Police, RoadSafe Inner Melbourne and the cities of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip.
Poor or non-existent lighting has been identified as a persistent problem in inner Melbourne, despite the $146 fine, the despair of other road users, and the risk to life and limb.
Friday 9 April 2010. With the dark creeping further forward each day the nation’s bike riders are starting to clip on the lights, charge up the batteries and go on the blink.
And with so many people riding to work these days, it’s never been more important for riders to make an exhibition of themselves when riding home each night.
“With the great LED light technology available today, there is no excuse for any bike rider to be hard to find at night”, said Harry Barber, launching the Bicycle Network’s national Light Up! campaign for 2010.
“Riders need to have a light that is visible from 200 metres so that motorists have plenty of warning when approaching. “Unfortunately surveys show that more than a third of bike riders on the road at night do not have regulation front and rear lights,” Harry Barber said.
The Light Up! campaign aims to get a light on every bike that is out and about after dark. “We want to reduce the number of collisions that occur after dark as these are often serious.”
“We also want to improve visual communication between road users because it is hard for drivers to make the right decisions if riders don’t have decent lights on their bike. We want to put an end to that frustrating and alarming feeling when you come upon an unlit rider in your headlights,” Mr Barber said.
Each year as part of Light Up! the Bicycle Network runs a test in conjunction with Choice magazine to find the best value lights that meet the road rules.
The test results can be seen at bikeslightup.com.au. This year the recommendation is:
• Front light: Basta Polaris BAC3 RRP $39.95
• Rear light: Tioga Big Eye RRP $30
Penalties for riding a bicycle a night without lights around Australia have risen in most states and riders caught without lights can be up for as much as $160. It costs $70 to buy the recommended lights so in most states it is cheaper to get the lights than pay the fine. But in Queensland and the Northern Territory it is ‘cheaper’ to risk the fine. These governments need to reconsider their penalties.