Be aware of the ‘dazzling sun’ this autumn

Cyclists riding with their lights on
Image: Cycling UK

Drivers in Essex are being encouraged to take care and be aware of risk caused by lower sun now that the clocks have gone back.

Casualty statistics for 2020 show 17 cyclists were killed in a collision with a motor vehicle where ‘dazzling sun’ was a contributory factor. This is more than double the amount of fatalities for the previous two years put together.

Similarly, fatalities for motorcyclists increased to 11 – up from six and four in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership is joining Cycling UK in appealing to drivers to slow down and take care – particularly during the early mornings and late afternoons.

Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “A four-fold increase in deaths with a contributory factor of ‘dazzling sun’ is alarming and could be avoided by driving more carefully. 

“Cycling UK would encourage anyone dazzled by the sun to drop your speed, and where appropriate and safe to do so, stop until they have clear visibility of the road again.

“The last thing anyone wants to do is to cause another person’s death due to being dazzled. Please take appropriate precautions, and keep you and others safe in doing so.”

Cycling UK is also asking drivers to consider:

  • Give as much room as practically possible when overtaking (at least a car’s width) due to need of cyclists to manoeuvre around drains, potholes and other road debris;
  • Give more in wet weather when surfaces will be more slippery; and
  • Use dipped headlights when approaching people cycling as they would for other road users

Meanwhile it says cyclists, like all road users, should behave responsibly and within the law and should ensure that they have reflectors and working lights while cycling at night.

The law states it is illegal to cycle on a public road between sunset and sunrise without lights and reflectors, as defined by the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations.

Cyclists must have white front and rear lights lit at night (flashing lights are now permitted). They must also have their cycle fitted with a red rear reflector, and amber pedal reflectors if it was manufactured after 1 October 1985.

01 November 2021

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