Following the tragic death of a young boy in Leeds whilst cycling at night, the Student LSCP were inspired to take action to prevent any similar accidents from occurring.
The group spent asignificant amount of time researching the issues of night-time cycling and the problems that low visibility can cause. They looked at the variety of information that was available on websites and Youtube, and showed them the different ways that a cyclist could make ensure that they are seen by other road users.
As a result the group collated a list of top tips for parents and carers to help keep their child seen when cycling at night:
Its important to have a good set of lights that work and to check them regularly. Its also illegal not to have lights on your bike when cycling in the dark. White lights for the front of the bike and red for the rear. We recommend at least 800 lumens. Ask your child to keep spare batteries in the back pack too, just in case.
Most bikes come with reflectors fitted to the front and back of the bike, and on both wheels, however these aren’t sufficient on their own. You should check that they are big enough, aren’t obscured by clothing whilst you are riding, and are not cracked or covered with mud, as this will prevent them from reflecting headlights effectively, which could be dangerous. As with lights, reflectors should be red at the rear and white at the front so people know which direction you are travelling in. Wheel reflectors should be white.
Hi vis jackets or vests are ideal, but your child might be against wearing them as they’re not the most fashionable. Therefore a hi vis reflective back pack for their school bag might be an option. If you buy a cycling jacket it is likely to already have reflective areas on it. Hi vis gloves are also another way to add some extra safety.
It’s important for your child to always wear a helmet when cycling. Reflective strips can be added to the helmet if it doesn’t have them already. Help your child get excited about their own safety by suggesting that they decorate their helmet and bike with reflective stickers.
Following these tips can help your child be seen by other road users.
A social media campaign was launched to target all parents and carers in Leeds over the Christmas period with the intention that the campaign encouraged the purchase of high visibility items for all young cyclists.
The timing of this campaign worked to its advantage as engagement with the campaign increased during Christmas shopping periods and January sales.
The campaign was seen on over 49,500 profile pages with over 480 clicks on the campaign advert. The Student LSCP are satisfied that the campaign and its message was received by a large number of adults and that this hopefully would help parents and carers make informed choices when buying cycling equipment for children, resulting in more children and young people being visible when cycling at night.
The campaign was relaunched again the following year, as a result of a discussion with the new members of the Student LSCP, as the group felt that the campaign was still relevant in its message. Especially because more children were cycling as a result of the pandemic.
The group decided that it would be important to relaunch a social media campaign, which highlights the necessity of bicycle safety for children. This ran during the festive period when a significant number of children can get bikes as presents.
This time the advert ran for 1 month and achieved 763 clicks, which directed parents and family members to the web page for further information. The group were delighted with the results, as it meant that more children would be visible and therefore cycling safely.