Nearly half of young cyclists in the Netherlands go out after dark without working lights, according to research by TNS Nipo.
The study was carried out as part of a safety campaign by organisations including the ANWB and the Dutch Cyclists’ Union (Fietersbond) in the run-up to winter.
Volunteers are visiting hundreds of schools and have enlisted the support of prominent vloggers to promote the safe cycling message.
Many cyclists interviewed by NOS in Utrecht said they had given up using lights on their bikes because they were too frequently stolen. ‘You get to the point where you think: forget it,’ said one. ‘And cycling without lights is accepted here. I’ve never been fined.’
The cyclists’ union has been trying initiatives to encourage people to use lights, such as handing out mini-lights in cafes so people can cycle home more safely after a night out.
Spokeswoman Saskia Kluit said more young people were using lights, but the number was still too low. ‘Teenagers and young adults often have less good quality bikes. They have to make do with cheaper lights or none at all,’ she said.
She added that better enforcement by police would help the situation, but public awareness was the real challenge. ‘If people realised that riding without lights is dangerous, 90 per cent of them would use lights on their bikes.’
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