The Bike List

Streets are left in darkness as councils make cuts

Victoria Pendleton and her fellow Olympic champions have inspired a new generation of cyclists. As the nights draw in, Halfords is urging cyclists, new and old, to gear up and make sure they are seen on the roads this autumn.

A comprehensive report on "Blackout Britain" by Halfords, just as the clocks are about to go back, reveals a huge increase in the number of roads across the UK where lighting is now either switched off completely, or dimmed for hours at night. All of England's 27 County Councils, bar one, have taken action by either turning off or dimming up to a million street lamps, starting as early as 8pm in some areas, and lasting until 5 to 5.30am. Of the shire counties just one remains committed to keeping lights burning during the hours of darkness. The majority of the country's large Metropolitan County Councils and 125 unitary councils, have also looked at dimming and night light switch-offs, with many currently trialling or implementing the measures.

The road authorities claim they are cutting energy bills and meeting climate change targets. However, safety organisations and energy experts are increasingly questioning the claims made by councils and warned that the widespread street lamp switch off could have a big impact on road accidents as well as failing to save money.

Halfords, which checked the policy of every local authority urged motorists, cyclists and pedestrians that it was essential to take sensible precautions to stay visible to other road users. With local councils reported to be cutting costs by switching off streetlights this season, cyclists are advised to take extra care when cycling in the dark. Be prepared from dusk till dawn.

For reviews of bike lights for this coming winter click here.