CYCLISTS are being told to stay safe when using Gosport and Fareham’s busway as the nights become darker.
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, which runs from Fareham to Gosport, has become a popular route for cyclists.
But Hampshire County Council is warning them to be alert now that bus drivers will be driving in the dark more.
The county councillor in charge of transport, Councillor Mel Kendal, is also reminding people of the dangers of walking along the bus route at any time.
Cllr Kendal said: ‘With darker evenings at this time of year and poorer visibility, now is a good time to remind people about staying safe when using the BRT busway.
‘Cyclists are welcome to use the route during the day but not overnight when the busway is closed.
‘Cyclists should always use lights and wear bright, reflective clothing to ensure they can be seen.
‘I would also remind pedestrians they are not permitted to use the busway as a footpath as, potentially, this could be very dangerous.
‘Similarly, private vehicles are not allowed on the busway at any time, day or night.
‘The police, county council and the local safer neighbourhoods team patrol the busway in the interests of safety.’
Thousands of passengers, and hundreds of cyclists, use the route to avoid congestion on the busy A32.
In April this year, just days after the BRT busway officially began carrying passengers, a cyclist was hit by a bus on the route and left with serious injuries.
As reported in The News, Rob West, 27, from Gosport, was cycling to work when he was hit by one of the Eclipse buses which use the purpose-built route.
He later urged fellow cyclists to always indicate after admitting his failure to signal contributed to the accident.
Cyclists are permitted to use the busway when it is operational, between 5.45am and 11.15pm.
After that nobody is allowed on the route.
There are few street lights along the busway in an attempt to prevent light pollution for those who live nearby.
The BRT scheme attracted controversy after neighbours objected to the plans.
But work finally started last year after the county council won the case at the Supreme Court.
It was mainly funded by the government’s Homes and Communities Agency.
Transport bosses hope the busway will persuade people to leave their cars at home and switch to public transport.
The county council says 16 per cent more people use the new Eclipse buses than used the older services it has replaced.