Readers’ letters - December 30

A reader writes in saying cyclists need bright lights to keep them safe. See letter
A reader writes in saying cyclists need bright lights to keep them safe. See letter

Cyclists need bright lights

On a dark, damp December morning recently, I was cycling to work early, when an approaching car stopped, and the driver shouted out “Get that **** light out!”

I returned the compliment and carried on my way.

What I should have said was: n He was being somewhat hypocritical, with both HID headlamps and high-intensity foglamps lit on a clear morning (should have gone to Specsavers!), with more than 10 times the luminosity of my bicycle dynamo light.

n Having a bright front light (as well as back lights) is essential for safe cycling on dark, unrestricted, country roads to avoid potholes and debris in the road, and to illuminate the verge in order to warn fast-approaching cars of your presence, before they come hurtling around the next bend.

n If he got out of his gas-guzzling 4x4 now and again, and saved road congestion and the environment by walking or cycling, he may appreciate how dazzling many car headlamps appear to cyclists (or pedestrians), and how much light you really need to cycle safely on a dark country lane.

As a CTC member and a former Cycling Proficiency trainer, I try to be a responsible and considerate road user – avoiding obstructing other vehicles, giving ample signals before manoeuvring, and angling my front light down onto the road to avoid dazzling other road users.

I am aware that there is controversy in the cycling press about the intensity of some of the newer LED front lights, which generally cannot be dipped for on-coming traffic. Some have suggested adopting restrictive German road regulations with regards bicycle lights.

However, cyclists are very vulnerable road users (who have as much right to use the Queen’s Highway as any other taxpayer), and some allowance should be afforded them in adopting extra safety measures.

Perhaps we should first consider banning the import of (ironically, mainly German) cars with stupidly intense HID headlamps.

Name and address supplied

Give blood in new year

Many people in the Wigan area will be considering giving things up for the New Year, like unhealthy food or alcohol.

But you can change your life by choosing to give.

Giving blood is amazing – you can save or improve the lives of up to three people each time you donate.

We always need new donors to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups among our donors to meet patient needs in future and to replace those people who can no longer donate. We need more than 6,000 people to donate blood every day to meet the needs of desperately ill hospital patients.

Blood and platelets are not just used after accidents.

They are used for patients with cancer, anaemia, childbirth complications, and in a wide variety of life-saving procedures.

Less than three per cent of people aged 17 to 70 donated blood last year.

Thank you to everybody who donated and helped save lives – we look forward to seeing you again in 2016.

If you’ve never given blood before, register to donate blood and book an appointment to donate in Lancashire at Donating only takes an hour of your time.

So please start this year by changing not just your life, but someone else’s life too, by giving blood.

Jon Latham,

Assistant director,

Marketing and Donor Contact Service

NHS Blood and Transplant