A CYCLIST was caught riding without lights in Oxford city centre every one-and-a-half minutes at a police checkpoint.

Police launched the Lights on Bikes campaign on Monday to coincide with the clocks changing and dark nights drawing in.

During the three-hour operation in High Street, 106 cyclists were issued with £30 fines for riding without lights.

But they were offered the chance to avoid the fine if they showed police a receipt for new lights within seven days.

Most cyclists caught were impressed with the operation, but it did not go down well with one cyclist.

He was arrested and fined £80 for threatening behaviour after he had to be forcibly stopped and restrained by three police officers.

He must also pay the £30 fine for not having any lights.

Oxfordshire road safety officer Pc Mark Pilling said: “We’ve had a lot of people who don’t like getting tickets, but never anyone who got physical.”

Another cyclist was spotted riding through a red light and was fined £30.

This year, officers decided the operation was so important they would run it all year round across the force.

Pc Pilling said: “The problem in cities is that there are a lot of vehicles with their lights on and a pedal cycle with no lights is often lost in the headlights.

“Just because there are street lights does not mean they are going to be visible. People do not realise that by not making themselves visible to other road users they are causing a danger not only to themselves, but also to pedestrians and motorists.

“Although we were issuing more than one ticket every two minutes it could easily have been more and that illustrates why the lights on bikes initiative is so important.”

Last year, 159 people were killed or injured while riding bikes in Oxford.

Police said this represented 30 per cent of all casualties on the city’s roads.

Canadian Amanda Clarke, 26, a student at Oxford University, said: “It’s the nicest fine I have ever received. I think it’s a pretty good service. We can all play our part in making the roads safer. I’m thoroughly impressed with the police.”

Liam Wain, 17, of Long Close, Headington, said: “I think this operation is a necessity, there are a lot of cycle accidents in this area.”

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old Oxford student, who refused to give his name, said: “It’s a waste of public resources. What’s the point in having lights when it’s a completely lit road and the lights get stolen anyway?

“They should put more money into stopping people stealing bikes and lights.”

Oxford student John James, 19, of North Oxford, who had forgotten to put lights on his bike, said: “I think it’s bizarre I’ve to buy more lights and take a receipt to the police station when I already have lights. But in itself I don’t think what they are doing is a bad thing.”