Burnham-On-Sea’s former Mayor has this week urged local newsagents to ensure their paper boy and girl deliverers properly light their bicycles.

Cllr Michael Clarke, has spoken out amid concern that many young people are putting themselves at risk by cycling without lights.

Cllr Clarke, who is a keen cyclist, said: “I am surprised to see whilst driving to work through Burnham & Highbridge early in the morning, the amount of paper boys and girls that I see cycling along the roads & pavements with no lights on their bikes.”

“I am aware that they carry a large yellow bag containing the papers, but dark clothing, and no lights is surely a recipe for disaster. I acknowledge there are those who do comply, and am glad to see they are looking after the safety of those they employ, but it’s those that don’t that concern me.”

“I would have thought that the owners of these businesses that employ young children to deliver their papers, should at the very least make sure they are obeying the law, and that clearly requires cyclist to have lights front and back when its dark.”

“I am also aware there has been no mention now for several years of ‘Operation Glitter’, an Avon & Somerset police initiative that was implemented to heighten awareness of the need for having adequate lights on you bike.”

“Indeed the idea was for police to be able to stop an offender and give them a set period of time to have the correct lights fitted or risk a fine. I very much doubt that 1 in 10 of the bicycles ridden (primarily by young people) in Burnham & Highbridge during darkness have any lights fitted, and once again most of these riders wear dark clothing which exacerbates the problem.”

“Private individuals are one thing, if they were to have an accident as a result of their own actions, then that would be their responsibility, but for business owners to knowingly allow children to deliver papers on their behalf without ensuring that they are within the law is unacceptable.”

He adds: “I would urge all newsagents to make sure that anybody delivering papers on a bicycle on their behalf insist that their bikes are adequately lit, and they are aware of the relevant laws.”

“On a final note, I am sure that some business owners already adhere to the points I have raised, and I’d like to thank those who do, but to those who send these children out without lights, please act now as it’s only a matter of time before one of them has an accident.”