About 110 cyclists rode on the streets of Halifax and Dartmouth on Friday as part of an annual ride to raise awareness of cycling safely at night.
The ride, called I Light HFX, included a police-escorted ride across the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge.
“Lights are so important. If you’ve ever seen somebody riding a bicycle in the night without them, they’re almost impossible to see, so we know it’s a really important safety issue,” Kelsey Lane, executive director of the Halifax Cycling Coalition (HCC), said.
She also said that with fewer daylight hours and the relatively few bike lanes in the municipality (resulting in cyclists having to share roads), lights are especially important.
Many cyclists who participated decorated their bikes with illuminated props and Christmas lights.
The inaugural bike ride held last year attracted 50 cyclists, Lane said.
HCC, along with MEC Halifax, gave out 400 bicycle lights for free as part of the campaign.
Lane said there are a number of people who can’t afford lights.
The portion (174, 6) regarding bicycle lights (PDF) in the province’s Motor Vehicle Act says:
“Every bicycle and personal transporter shall be equipped with a lighted lamp on the front thereof visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least 100 metres in front of the bicycle or personal transporter and shall also be equipped with a reflex mirror or lamp on the rear exhibiting a red light visible under like conditions from a distance of at least 60 metres to the rear of such bicycle or personal transporter.”
According to the province’s summary offence tickets booklet (PDF), “operating bicycle or personal transporter without required front and rear lighting” is a classified as a ‘B’ offence, which may result in fines of $180, $237.50, and $352.50 on the first, second, and third offences, respectively.
Lane said that she is helping work on a road safety plan in the municipality.
“If we lead with enforcement, then there are certain populations that are disproportionately affected, and so we have to be more innovative, we have to be inventive with how we’re making the streets safer, and this is one of the ways to do that,” she said.