Merseyside saddles up to launch 'close
pass' operation to better protect cyclists
MERSEYSIDE'S Police Commissioner has applauded the launch
of a 'close pass' operation which aims to better protect the
The Merseyside Road Safety Partnership Safer Roads Team have introduced:-
'Operation Safe Pass' with the aim of educating drivers about the
minimum space needed when overtaking cyclists in order to ensure they can use
the roads safely.
The Highway Code stipulate that motorists should give cyclists at least the same
distance as vehicles when overtaking and anyone encroaching within the safe
passing distance; widely considered to be a minimum of 1.5m; runs the risk of
being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.
The operation, which launched in Sefton, saw drivers who failed
to give cyclists the minimum safe space pulled over by the Police and given
advice about the potential dangers of their driving. During the 3 hour
operation, which took place on:- Derby Road, Crosby Road South and Lord Street,
in Southport, a total of 21 motorists were pulled over into nearby Fire Stations
where an educational cycle mat was used to demonstrate the actual distance they
should leave when overtaking a cyclist. Leaflets explaining the importance of
safe pass were also handed out and information was provided to passing members
of the public and bike users.
The 'close pass operation' was 1st developed by West Midlands
Police, in September 2016 and has since been adopted by a number of other Police
forces and road safety partnerships.
The initiative has been welcomed by the region's Police Commissioner, Jane
Kennedy, who in May 2017 made improving road safety one of her 5 policing
priorities. Earlier this month, she also united with new Metro Mayor Steve
Rotheram and the Road Safety Partnership to launch a new road safety strategy
for the region.
Jane said:- "Since 2010 Merseyside has witnessed an
increase in the number of people killed or seriously injured on its roads.
Cyclists are particularly vulnerable and that is why more needs to be done to
better protect them and ensure other road users are considerate of their needs.
This operation is designed to better educate drivers so they are aware of the
space they need to allocate when passing cyclists, but it also carries with it a
deterrent; those who continue to flout the law will be prosecuted. Our priority
must be making the roads a safer place for all who use them and I hope we can
reduce the need for enforcement action by increasing awareness and understanding
among drivers through initiatives such as this."
Sergeant Ian McPhail who leads Merseyside Road Safety Partnership's Safer Roads
problem solving team said:- "We are committed to protecting all road users
and that means putting in place measures to better protect those who use the
road who are particularly vulnerable, including cyclists. I want to get the
message out 'pass safer, not closer.' We know that the failure by some drivers
to give cyclists sufficient space when overtaking is a significant factor in why
people are put off from using bikes. Drivers need to be aware that by passing a
cyclist too closely they are putting an individual in danger. It is not good
enough for motorists to simply concentrate on getting from A to B; they need to
be aware of those around them and ensure they are driving in a safe manner which
does not put endanger anyone else around them. Drivers who fail to do this face
being prosecuted for driving carelessly or even dangerously."