A MAJOR campaign has been launched to encourage cyclists to fix lights to their bikes during the winter.
Most bike shops across the city have agreed to offer a ten per cent discount on lights from tomorrow for the remainder of October.
Thousands of e-mails will be sent alerting students and employees at some of Edinburgh's largest firms, while posters will be put up across the city.
The campaign is being organised by TryCycling in Edinburgh (TCIE), which promotes cycling in the Capital.
Police today urged riders to take extra precautions during the winter months and said it was a legal responsibility to use lights.
TCIE co-ordinator Maggie Wynn said: "TryCycling encourages people to cycle and use their bikes more often. Some people give up when the evenings get dark and others keep cycling without lights.
"The clocks go back at the end of October every year but some people always seem unprepared. This year we decided to encourage people to use lights.
"It's obviously safer for all road users, as well as being a legal requirement to have lights on bikes at night.
"We hoped that a few bike shops would be willing to offer a discount and were really pleased when almost every shop agreed."
Some of the shops which are taking part in the safety initiative are also extending the ten per cent discount to cover reflective items and helmets.
A range of more powerful bike lights have emerged on the market in recent years, which can be small enough to fit in a pocket.
Colin MacDonald, owner of MacDonald Cycles on Morrison Street, said: "I've cycled all my life and it's a pet hate to see people riding without lights.
"This campaign is an excellent idea, because it needs to become the norm for cyclists to use lights. Sometimes, people ride through the Meadows or down cyclepaths without lights because they think they won't get caught.
"But in the same way that motorists are pulled over when their lights aren't working, the same should happen to cyclists.
"There's no excuse for not having lights - and it's very important from a safety point of view because there's no contest if a car hits a bike."
Police officers have recently started regularly using bikes in the city centre, to help them move around faster.
A spokeswoman for the Lothian and Borders force today said: "We would encourage those who enjoy cycling to continue doing so but to take extra precautions during the dark winter months.
"Cyclists should be aware that it is a legal requirement to use lights when it is dark, both on the front and the rear of bicycles. This not only ensures that you can see the way ahead, but helps to make cyclists more visible to other road users.
"We would also recommend cyclists wear reflective clothing, and a protective helmet."
Bike shops participating in the campaign are:
MacDonald Cycles - 26-28 Morrison Street
Freewheelin' - 91 Slateford Road
Bicycle Repair Man - 111 Newington Road
Blackhall Cycle Repairs - 15 Marischal Place
Biketrax - 11 Lochrin Place
The Bike Chain - 30 Rodney Street
BG Cycles & Blades - 48 Portobello High Street
The Bike Station - 250 Causewayside
Velo Ecosse - 25-27 Bruntsfield Place
Great Bikes No Bull - 276 Leith Walk
The Triathlon Centre - 57-59 South Clerk Street
Alpine Bikes - 48 Hamilton Place
Sandy Gilchrist - 1 Cadzow Place
EdinburghBicycleCooperative - 5-8 Alvaney Terrace