CYCLING safety campaigners have renewed their calls for people to use lights on their bikes, after an Oxford Mail survey showed almost one in five were still breaking the law.

Officers from Thames Valley Police carried out checks on October 27 and fined 276 cyclists who did not have a front white light and rear red light.

It came four days after Mail reporters outside the Mini plant on Cowley Road and Oxford Rail Station found 280 out of 485 cyclists spotted had no lights.

But on Wednesday, another survey found an improvement in the figures – with 128 of 700 cyclists travelling out of the city across Magdalen Bridge running the risk of fines.

Oxford City Council board member for transport John Tanner said a tougher approach was needed to make sure all cyclists obeyed the law.

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He said: “Well done to the Oxford Mail for highlighting this and well done the police for working on it.

“But the cyclists who do not use lights or wear reflective clothing are a danger to themselves and others on the roads.

“I think the police are being very reasonable with their scheme allowing people to prove they have bought lights rather than being fined.

“But that seems to be too reasonable and we should perhaps be tougher on cyclists who do not have lights.”

Cyclists face a £50 fine if they are caught without lights, but they can avoid it if they buy lights and take the receipt to a police station.

Cyclist group Cyclox’s chairman Simon Hunt welcomed the rise in the number of cyclists using lights, based on our latest survey.

He said: “I am delighted to see that enforcement seems to be having such a dramatic effect.

“Perhaps we will have another police blitz and everybody will end up having lights.

“Some people like to think they are untouchable or immortal but we know that is not always true.

“It also gives cyclists a bad name if we are not seen to be obeying the law.”

But Sam Chappell, of cycling workshop Broken Spoke Bike Co, in Pembroke Street, said it may be a problem that never goes away.

He said: “The police checks happen almost annually and you see a new influx of people every year as the evenings start getting longer.

“I would say the enforcement by the police does make a difference but there is a huge quantity of cyclists in Oxford.

“It does not solve the problem but it does improve things.”

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