10th May, 2021

Police crack down on 'close pass' drivers endangering cyclists

Solihull Editorial 20th Apr, 2021

OFFICERS from West Midlands Police have been getting on their bikes as part of Operation Close Pass, which aims to reduce the number of collisions involving cyclists in the region.

The pedal powered Bobbies were on two wheels to ensure motorists leave enough room when passing cyclists.

In an operation last week drivers who failed to pass cyclists at a safe distance – a minimum of 1.5 metres at 30mph or less – were flagged down and guided to a designated holding spot, where they were told of the dangers of overtaking too close, while more reckless drivers were prosecuted.

In total 36 vehicles were stopped, including 17 which were dealt with as Op Close Pass offences – 15 of these were offered roadside education while the other two offenders received penalty tickets.

West Midlands Police launched Op Close Pass in 2016, the brainchild of PC Mark Hodson and PC Steve Hudson, who has been fighting a long term illness.

Since its launch, road casualties amongst cyclists have dropped dramatically – from 124 in 2017 to 88 in 2020.

Following the success, police forces across the country embraced the operation which now features a national day of action for Op Close Pass, which saw 39 of the 43 forces in England and Wales and Police Service Northern Ireland participating.

Sgt Jon Butler, from the Road Harm Prevention team, said: “Our primary aim is to maintain the safety of vulnerable road users, while promoting sustainable travel and shared space road use. Operation Close Pass is a vital approach in helping us to do that.

“We were the first force in the country to proactively target road user behaviour in this way, and we’re proud to see others are now following the example set by PC’s Mark Hodson and Steve Hudson, who launched the operation.”

For a video on the operation visit https://youtu.be/MBsDzLmuO8U

To make an online report of a close pass incident, visit: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/close-pass-cycling

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