Street lights being turned off leaves female cyclists like me in the dark when it comes to our safety

‘I’m aware of my own mortality everytime I leave the house’ writes journalist Emmie Harrison-West following the news that cash-strapped councils are switching off street lights.

Emmie Harrison-West smiles wearing a helmet in front of a beautiful view
(Image credit: Emmie Harrison-West)

I would love, more than anything, to exist in a state of blissful ignorance when it comes to cycling after dark. 

Men in their head torches seem to have it, and I am truly happy for them - but it is a privilege that too often goes unnoticed.

  • Did you only just learn that women like me are too scared to go cycling at night? Tell someone else about it. Spread the word, share this story, and spark a conversation.
  • Call out bad behaviour. Whether in public (and it’s safe enough for you to do so), at work or even between friends, call it out - it could be leering, catcalls, or inappropriate language. If you see or hear it, call it out - it’s that simple. Change starts with disrupting the norm, and bad behaviour isn’t normal.
  • Take time to educate yourself on what matters. Inform yourself of initiatives and campaigns from This Girl Can, British Cycling, Sustrans and more - getting involved, if you can.
  • Talk to, and listen to women. Ask your female friends, colleagues and relatives questions about what they want to see change, and how you can help them personally.
  • Email your MP - ask them what they’re doing to help women today. Email councils that are turning off streetlights and ask how they’re channeling money saved from doing so into women’s safety. And if not - why.

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Emmie Harrison-West
Freelance journalist

Emmie Harrison-West is a freelance journalist, editor and award-winning beer writer. You can find her cursing Edinburgh's cycle lanes on the way to the pub, or as @emmieehw on X.