Unless you study the law on a regular basis you probably aren’t aware about the various fines that can be issued to cyclists and who can issue them. At the moment there are various Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) that can be issued to cyclists by a police officer including riding on the pavement, cycling with no lights, cycling up a one-way-street, or going through a red-light. Most are only £30 or £60 and the numbers issued are very low – the police normally have more pressing matters to deal with.
Changes are a-coming though as Police Community Support Officers (PCSO) are about to inherit the same powers. With PCSOs a much more common sight on the streets this could mean a crackdown on cycling offences, such as happened in London last month when over 750 cyclists were fined for various offences. It seems most likely that any activity will be concentrated on the most serious offences, rather than for non-fitment of reflectors.
The rules about lights and reflectors have changed a little in the past but you may be surprised to see what the Highway Code says on the matter:
At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.
Often one of the first things you do when buying a new bike is to take the reflectors off – if they have been fitted in the first place. It’s also very common for aftermarket pedals such as Shimano SPD to be used and these rarely come with reflectors. Sure, you can get versions with them but they tend to be bulkier and no roadie would be seen dead with them on their bike.
It would surely be a proper jobsworth PCSO to issue a FPN for no pedal reflectors if you were complying with all of the other regulations! Looks like we will have to wait and see when the new powers come into force in 2014.