A CYCLIST was caught riding through Oxford city centre without lights every two minutes during an evening police spot check.

Police carried out an operation in High Street between 6.30pm and 9pm on Tuesday.

Eighty-four cyclists were handed £30 penalty fines for not having bike lights, which was the equivalent of one every two minutes.

But all the fines will be scrubbed if a valid receipt for new bike lights is shown at St Aldate’s or Cowley police stations within seven days.

The crackdown was timed to coincide with the clocks going back one hour last weekend, which marked the start of British winter time.

Police stopped 83 people without bike lights on the first day of last year’s campaign and 55 in 2007.

Zulfi Khan, 18, of Cowley, and his three friends were the first to be stopped and fined.

He said: “It’s fair enough. I just forgot to bring my lights out with me.”

Meanwhile, Andy Riley, 22, of Risinghurst, said: “I’m not a fan of all these fines, I got a parking ticket earlier, so it’s been a bad week.

“I feel safe cycling around without lights and know what is around me. But to be honest I should have lights on my bike.”

Police are warning cyclists they will continue to carry out random checks across the city throughout October and November.

Pc Mark Pilling said: “Clearly, a large number of cyclists in Oxford are not using lights.

“This campaign is aimed at educating cyclists about how important it is that they are fully visible to all other road users.

“Just because a cyclist can see where they are going on a well-lit street, does not necessarily mean that they are fully visible to motorists approaching with their headlights on.”

Hertford College student Sam Wilkins, 19, was also fined.

He said: “I feel safe without lights. They said students had been warned but I had not heard anything about fines like this.”

Amelia Sampson, 20, said: “It is a bit annoying. They are standing in the High Street like this. It feels a bit sneaky.

“My lights were stolen this morning and I haven’t had time to buy new ones.”

Matt Berry, 20, a student at Oxford Brookes University, said: “I didn’t realise it was against the law. Most of the streets I cycle down are lit with street lamps anyway.”

Andreas Walker, 28, a student at Merton College, thanked police for handing him a fine and ordering him to buy new lights.

He said: “I have needed lights for six months, but haven’t been bothered. At least now I have to go buy some new ones.

“I’m happy I’ve been forced to buy some because cycling in Oxford we definitely need decent lights.”

Three cyclists have died and 126 seriously injured in Oxford in the past five years.

A total of 747 cyclists have suffered minor injuries since 2004 in the city centre alone.

Pc Pilling said: “Cyclists should have a light on both the front and back of their bike and they should wear either some fluorescent or high visibility clothing. They should remove the lights when they lock up their bikes to prevent them from being stolen.”