Counts of bike lights in Denmark show that the number of cyclists with lights on has increased over the last five years. However, one in six still cycle without lights and is thus a danger to themselves and to others. The Danish Cyclists’ Federation is trying to rectify this tendency through the light and reflector campaign “LYS PÅ – med Ludvig” (LIGHTS ON – with Ludvig).
The Danish Cyclists’ Federation runs an annually recurring light and reflector campaign directed towards 4th grade students. Through play and learning, the campaign turns focus onto the importance of remembering your bike lights and being visible in traffic. The campaign educates a generation of cyclists who not only become accustomed to using bike lights, but who also place them correctly on the bicycle, change the batteries regularly, and know how to choose the right lights in the shop. This year more than 33,000 students participated, about half of the total number of students.
The campaign has two mascots, Ludvig and Poul; the children find them funny and can relate to them. The bicycle bunny, Ludvig, knows all about bike lights, reflectors, bicycle helmets, and traffic regulations. Poul the panda, on the other hand, does not have a good grip of things. He loves to cycle, but always forgets both lights and helmet. Luckily, Ludvig helps him become secure in traffic. Likewise, the campaign encourages the children to help each other to remember lights, reflectors, and helmet, so they can all become bicycle bunnies like Ludvig.
The parents’ part
The parents play an important part in the campaign, as it is their responsibility to buy proper bike lights for their children and have the lights mounted correctly. All students participating in the campaign receive a postcard to bring home to their parents. The postcard shows where on the bicycle the lights and reflectors should go, and gives good tips. In addition, the postcard refers to the campaign’s website where they can find more tips, a guide to bike lights, and other useful information.
The teachers also have an important part, as they are in charge of enrolling the class in the campaign and utilising the lights and reflectors in class. All participating classes receive a kit of assignments and games for various subjects. Through the assignments, the teachers can teach natural science and bike lights at the same time by using magnetic lights as a means to teach the children about magnetism. The kit also contains two different sets of bike lights for teaching purposes, reflector stickers for the pupils, posters to hang in the classroom, and the postcard for the parents.
The campaign also has a website where the children can take quizzes, the teachers can find inspiration for classes, and the parents can find good advice and facts on bike lights, the campaign, etc. The address is www.lyspaa.dk. The children can also win prizes in various competitions, and every year there is a drawing contest, which is very popular.
The Danish bike light manufacturer, Reelight, contributes to the campaign by sponsoring a set of bike lights in the teacher’s kit. A study from the City of Odense in cooperation with Aalborg University has shown that the number of accidents fall by 32% if the cyclist has permanent bike lights which come on day and night. The Reelight lights are battery free, and therefore you don’t have to worry about when the batteries grow weak. The Danish Cyclists’ Federation conducts bike light counts almost every year, and the numbers speak volumes: more and more cyclists are remembering the lights. This development is partially due to a lot of people having bought the new magnetic lights and hub dynamo lights, which are permanently mounted on the bicycle, and also due to campaigns, such as “LYS PÅ – med Ludvig”, that are working.