UPDATE: Dozens of Portsmouth cyclists given penalty fines for not have lights on their bikes

Picture via Twitter by Hampshire Police
Picture via Twitter by Hampshire Police

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Police have issued penalty fine tickets to 25 cyclists found riding without lights in Portsmouth.

Officers have spoken to about 250 riders across the city as part of their winter cycle safety drive.

As well as giving cyclists top tips on how to stay safe on roads during the winter, police also clamped down on those not riding with lights on their bikes at night.

On Wednesday evening 25 cyclists were issued with penalty tickets for not having bike lights.

And officers have warned they will target more riders who continue to flout the rules.

The move has been welcomed by former city council leader, councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.

The Lib Dem boss said there was ‘no excuse’ for people not to have lights on their bikes.

‘New bike lights are incredible cheap now and are very small,’ he said. ‘And people really need to have them. They save lives.

‘Riding on a road at night, without a light, is incredibly dangerous.

‘As a motorist I get really, really worried because people can weave in and out of the roads and it can be incredibly difficult to see them.’

Road Safety Sergeant Rob Heard said: ‘The penalty for cyclists found riding without lights on their bikes at night is a £50 fine.

‘However, we run a rectification scheme in Hampshire whereby if a person goes to one of our approved cycle shops, buys a brand new set of lights, gets their penalty ticket stamped on the back and sends it back to police within 28 days then they will not be prosecuted.’

“This is about keeping people safe on the road and not about persecuting cyclists.”

Jon Spencer, chairman of Portsmouth Cycle Forum added: ‘People need to be lit up in the dark. As soon as it’s twilight you should use your lights.

‘You need a white light on the front and red light on the back as a minimum. That’s the law.

‘It makes it easier for people to see you. It really is a no-brainer.’

The safety campaign comes just days after the city council launched its the city’s first Pedal Portsmouth Glow Ride.

More than 1,000 people took to Southsea seafront to ride along Clarence Esplanade in high-visibility clothing and with lights.

The event was all part of the council’s effort to raise awareness of the need for cyclist to be seen during the darker winter months.