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Regular Staffordshire walkers Lisa Conn and Mark Harris, and cyclist Alison Matthews.

Cyclists and runners urged to be seen at night as clocks set to go back

As the UK’s households prepare to put their clocks back this weekend, cyclists and runners are being reminded to make sure they can be seen when they’re out during the darker evenings.

This Sunday the clocks will go back one hour which means sunset on Sunday will be at 4:38pm.

With the evenings drawing in and cyclists, runners and walkers continuing to take to the roads and footpaths, people are being urged to think about their safety and make sure they can always be seen clearly by motorists.

Staffordshire County Council’s Cycling Team is now asking people to follow some simple steps to be seen and be safe during these darker evenings:

  1. Be Bright, Be Seen – Fluorescent and high-visibility clothing will greatly improve a driver’s ability to see you. Sports gear is often designed to be high-vis and it is worth investing in this essential kit. Bright clothing is also effective – a white t-shirt will be better seen than a black one.
  2. Accessorise – High-visibility vests, stickers and ankle straps will make any runner or cyclist flashier on the go. This is an easy and affordable way to stand out on the road and help motorists see you earlier. Cyclists, too, should always wear a helmet while on their bikes, as these could help prevent a serious injury.
  3. Lights – Cyclists must use cycle lights by law when pedalling at night, so invest in a good set and be prepared in winter that it can be dull during the day as well where lights maybe needed.
  4. Keep in lane – walkers and runners should use pedestrian paths, and cyclists are encouraged to use cycle lanes whenever they can. When riding on the road cyclist should ride away from the gutter to see and be seen clearer. Drivers should also give cyclists plenty of room when overtaking and be aware at junctions to look out for both cyclists and motorbikes.
  5. Know the road – knowing the route you are taking can help you be aware of tricky turns and unlit roads. Stay aware of where might be a blind spot to motorists coming around bends or at turns. It is also unadvisable to run or cycle on roads with headphones on, as these affect your awareness.

Mark Deaville, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways at Staffordshire County Council said:

It’s that time of year when the clocks go back and it starts to get dark much earlier so we want to remind people of the importance of being seen.

“I would remind runners to stick to the footpaths and be aware of their surroundings while running.  Wearing high-visibility clothing or brightly coloured cloths also makes you more visible so definitely worth investing in.

“For cyclists it’s really important to check your bike before riding and to make sure everything is working, including lights and reflectors. Again, cyclists should also wear bright or high-vis clothing to ensure they can be seen; and always wear a helmet, which could help prevent a serious injury.

“Drivers should also be aware that the setting sun can make seeing cyclists difficult so be cautious when overtaking, giving them plenty of room and look out for each other when driving and cycling on the roads.”

In the UK the clocks go forward 1 hour at 1am on the last Sunday in March, and back 1 hour at 2am on the last Sunday in October. The period when the clocks are 1 hour ahead is called British Summer Time (BST) and when the clocks go back, the UK is on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

For more advice on cycling in Staffordshire and downloadable cycling maps for each district visit www.staffordshire.gov.uk/cycling