Warwickshire Police officers speak to 58 motorists and numerous cyclists during Operation Close Pass
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During National Bike Week 6-14 June Warwickshire Police officers have spoken to 58 motorists and numerous cyclists during a three day Operation ‘Close Pass’ aimed at improving the safety of the increasing numbers of cyclists using the county’s roads.
Close passes are intimidating and nationally account for around a third of all threatening incidents between drivers and cyclists. By educating road users and raising awareness of the safe passing distance we hope to help to safeguard cyclists.
During the operation in Tiddington, near Stratford-upon-Avon, the initiative used plain clothes officers on bikes equipped with front and rear facing cameras. The cyclist used in this operation rode over 75 miles on the bikes over the three days.
Any vehicle seen to not pass with the recommended distance of 1.5 metres is pulled over to a suitable location and offered the opportunity to have a short educational input using material provided by Cycling UK and RoSPA.
Thirty-five drivers were stopped and received the optional education around safe passing distances. A further 20 drivers were stopped and words of advice given due to the speed they were driving and three drivers received Traffic Offence Reports for no insurance.
Sergeant Leanne Mason said “We are seeing unprecedented numbers of cyclists on Warwickshire’s roads, and as part of our ongoing commitment to road safety, officers from OPU have been running Operation Close Pass to raise awareness and educate both drivers and cyclists about safe passing distances to help reduce the number of cyclists killed or injured on the region’s roads.”
In Warwickshire, four cyclists were killed and 24 were seriously injured on our roads in 2019. The age groups most affected are 11-15 year olds and 46-55 year olds, although all age groups are affected up to the 86-90 age group.
Sergeant Mason added “Operation Close Pass plays a part in helping to reduce these numbers, but we are also encouraging cyclists and drivers to refresh their knowledge of the Highway Code and to self-educate as there are some great materials available online.”
Warwickshire Police is also supporting Cycling UK’s #TooCloseForComfort campaign by asking drivers to #TakeExtraCare when overtaking cyclists and to leave plenty of space.
Cycling UK have produced a Too Close for Comfort video to show drivers what it’s like to be close passed so non cyclists can understand it from a cyclist’s perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kgPt-lNYGY
Tips and advice for both drivers and cyclists is also available from RoSPA https://www.rospa.com/rospaweb/docs/advice-services/road-safety/cyclists/sharing-the-road.pdf
Members of the public can also help improve road safety in Warwickshire by reporting and submitting digital footage showing potential traffic offences as part of Operation Snap. https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/operationsnap
Further operations are planned on popular cycle routes across the county.