A POLICE campaign to teach cyclists the risks of breaking road rules is to become a regular event in Oxford.
Operation Bike was launched in June for the first time to teach cyclists about the law and how to prevent their bikes being stolen.
Sgt Matt Sulley, the officer behind the safety drive, said: “The idea is to keep people safe. We are here for their benefit.
“Ultimately we want to reduce casualties. Only by education can we do that.”
The campaign has seen police stop cyclists in Broad Street and point out the importance of sticking to road rules, wearing a helmet and using lights.
Sgt Sulley said cyclists had also been given tickets for ignoring red lights, zebra crossings, and no entry road signs.
He said: “We do find some cyclists just do not know what road signs mean. Some cyclists consciously break the laws, but some just don’t know what is going on.”
Police have also been running four-hour operations in Broad Street every Wednesday and have this year registered more than 1,400 bicycles on a national database.
There were 1,041 cycle thefts between April and September this year – a fall of 13 per cent on the 1,202 stolen in the same period last year.
Police were in Broad Street Thursday and yesterday.
Sgt Sulley, of the city centre neighbourhood police team, said the operation would start up again in the spring.
He said: “We are going to keep it running indefinitely now. It has been working really well. There has been a massive interest from the public.”
An Oxford Mail survey in February found one in five cyclists ignored red lights, three out of five were not using lights properly and about half were not wearing a helmet.
Figures on how many tickets had been given out to cyclists across the summer were last night unavailable.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service also took part in the operation this week and demonstrated the benefits of wearing a helmet to cyclists.
Firefighter Mick Clarke, the service’s road safety manager, said the campaign carried potential lifesaving messages for cyclists.
He said: “There are a range of practical steps cyclists can take to be safe on the road.
“They are simple and can be lifesavers.
“It’s essential that cyclists pay attention to what is going on around them so they are aware of potential dangers.
“It’s also important for them to be visible by wearing appropriate clothing and by using lights.
“Cyclists should also wear a properly-fitted cycle helmet to protect their head in case of a fall.
“Cyclists should also obey signs and traffic lights.
“The Highway Code applies to all road users – not just motorists.”