Safety drive tells cyclists in Portsmouth to ‘brighten up and stay alive’

Portsmouth City Council's Road Safety Team :  Senior road safety officer, Oliver Willcocks, Cycling Development Officer Alex Cuppleditch, RSAT manager James Luckman and road safety officer, Liz Burchett at London Road, Portsmouth
Portsmouth City Council's Road Safety Team : Senior road safety officer, Oliver Willcocks, Cycling Development Officer Alex Cuppleditch, RSAT manager James Luckman and road safety officer, Liz Burchett at London Road, Portsmouth
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‘BE BRIGHT and stay alive’. That is the message that has been given out to scores of cyclists as part of a new citywide safety campaign.

Last night about 100 riders were stopped in one of Portsmouth’s busiest roads during rush hour as part of the ‘Be Bright’ cycle initiative.

James Luckman putiting a light on Sergio Teixeira's bicycle in London Road, Portsmouth

James Luckman putiting a light on Sergio Teixeira's bicycle in London Road, Portsmouth

Led by Portsmouth City Council’s road safety team and backed by the police, the scheme aims to raise awareness of the risks of not having lights fixed to bikes at night.

A team spoke to about 100 people in London Road, North End, as part of an intense week-long drive, which has seen almost 700 people given key safety tips.

PCSO Heidi Johnston, of Portsmouth Central police station, was part of the night.

She said: ‘Having a light can make a huge difference to a cyclist’s safety.

Road safety officer, Liz Burchett giving away free cycle lights to Agnieszka Tomza

Road safety officer, Liz Burchett giving away free cycle lights to Agnieszka Tomza

‘We 100 per cent want to avoid serious injury. Not having a light could cause a death and that is something we want to deter.’

As well as being told about the safety effort, riders were also given free hi-viz jackets, lights and bells.

Angus Gueterbock, 17, of Southsea, was riding with friends Michael Azulay-Canares, Benjamin Dawson and Ryan Azulay-Canares.

They all had lights on their bikes. Angus said: ‘This is a great idea. Having lights can really save lives.’

Benjamin Dawson, Ryan Azulay-Canares, Angus Gueterbock, Michael Azulay-Canares and Agnieszka Tomza with their bikes all lit up

Benjamin Dawson, Ryan Azulay-Canares, Angus Gueterbock, Michael Azulay-Canares and Agnieszka Tomza with their bikes all lit up

Over the past three years, Portsmouth City Council has spent £2m on cycle routes in the city. This includes improving road junctions on busy streets and cycle lanes.

It comes after the city was named as the worst place, outside London, for cycle safety in a recent study,

Ollie Willcock, senior safety officer at the council, said: ‘We don’t hide from the fact that we have high casualty figures for cyclists in the city,’ he said. ‘We have been reducing them. Since 2011 we have seen a significant reduction.

‘There’s work still to do but we’re heading in the right direction.’

The operation will continue until the New Year.