Simon MacMichael May 7 2017
West Yorkshire Police are the latest force in the country to adopt the widely praised close pass initiative introduced last year by West Midlands Police and since taken up by roads policing units nationwide.
The scheme is being introduced on popular cycle commuting in Leeds, says the force, and besides targeting motorists who fail to give people on bikes sufficient space when overtaking will also focus on distracted drivers and those who do not give way at junctions.
As elsewhere, plain clothes police officers will identify offending motorists, who will be shown safe passing distances with the help of a specially designed mat. Drivers deemed as having failed to look will be subjected to an eyesight test at the roadside.
In some cases, including those where the driver has declined the offer of advice or where the offence is sufficiently serious to warrant further action, they may be referred for prosecution.
Implementation of the initiative comes after 2016 saw the highest death toll among cyclists on West Yorkshire’s roads for more than a quarter of a century, with seven riders losing their lives there in road traffic collisions last year.
In the period 2011-15, more than 6,000 cyclists were injured on the county’s roads, 1,210 of those seriously.
West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom commented: “On average, we record around three incidents every day where a cyclist and vehicle have been in a collision on the county’s roads.
“Frighteningly, seven people lost their lives on our roads in 2016, which is a number we urgently want to address and reduce.
“This initiative isn’t about picking on or penalising motorists, it is about making sure our roads are safer for everyone.