Alex Bowden June 2 2017
Avon and Somerset Police has announced that off duty police officers will carry cameras while out cycling and the footage could be used to prosecute. The force is also carrying out a close-pass crackdown today on two ‘hotspot roads’ which often see near-misses.
Operation Close Pass was developed by West Midlands Police as a means of reducing near misses and improving safety on the roads.
Tri-Force Roads Policing (Avon and Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire) has now joined a number of other forces in adopting the tactic, which sees a plain-clothed police cyclist radio ahead to colleagues whenever they suffer a close pass.
The Bristol Post reports that police will today be out looking for motorists who drive too close to cyclists on Filton Road in Bristol and Lower Bristol Road in Bath. Drivers will be offered road-side education on how to pass cyclists safely – including an indication as to how much space should be given when overtaking – as an alternative to prosecution.
Chief Inspector Kevan Rowlands, Head of Road Safety Avon and Somerset police said: “Since the beginning of 2017 we’ve received more than 240 reports of near misses, which suggests that people aren’t aware of how much space they should leave when overtaking, or perhaps choose to ignore this advice.
“Drivers should give cyclists at least the same amount of space as vehicles when overtaking, which is 1.5 metres or approximately a car door width. Anyone failing to leave enough space puts cyclists at risk and could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.”
Rowlands also said that some officers would be recording footage of cycle journeys, even when not on duty.