Thumbs up to the police looking to catch 'close passers'

Thumbs up to the police looking to catch 'close passers'

West Midlands Police will be the first force in the land to prosecute drivers who fail to give cyclists enough room on the road.


The number of close passes was documented by a study in 2015, with such incidents found to occur every day. The controversial topic of road use by cars and cyclists bubbled over once again recently when the TV and radio presenter Jeremy Vine released footage of an altercation he had with a driver in London.

Now, police in the West Midlands have powers to punish drivers for coming too close to two-wheeled road users.

Officers will saddle up on some of the region’s busiest routes on the look-out for motorists who put cyclists at risk. Police pedallers will radio the details of close-pass drivers for in-car colleagues to intercept at a designated holding point.

Those who close the recommended 1.5m gap between themselves and cyclists to dangerous levels will be pulled over by the authorities and offered a road-side educational input on safe overtaking but repeat offenders − or anyone deemed to have driven dangerously close to a cyclist − can expect to be prosecuted and taken to court.

West Midlands Police traffic officer and cyclist, PC Mark Hodson, said: "As a police force we must do our upmost to protect vulnerable road users and show that anyone who puts them in danger through poor driving will be dealt with. 
 
"Cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces or obstacles like drain covers so it’s important to afford them plenty of room when overtaking.”

 

We say:

This is an excellent step forward in raising awareness among drivers about how much room they should give cyclists, and it should also serve to help keep the number of incidents down.

There seems to be nothing quite like conflict between cars and bikes on the road when it comes to issues that get people on both sides of the debate hot under the collar, as this recent debate on our Facebook page shows.

The fact is, cycling is a more environmentally and physically beneficial way to commute. It’s clear that policy in the UK supports that view when you look at the increased investment in cycle lanes and bike hire schemes, so there needs to be an acceptance among drivers that bikes on our roads are here to stay, and their rights and safety must be respected.

This cuts both ways, of course, and as cyclists we need to respect the rules of the road when it comes to obeying traffic signals and riding responsibly in heavy traffic.

Happy cycling!

What do you think can be done to make the roads safer for cyclists? Have your say on our forums.

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