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In its latest blog, the police force assesses the impact of Give Space, be Safe and says it will continue running it

Officers in the West Midlands have reported a 50 per cent drop in poor overtaking since they launched a close pass operation last year.

Operation Close Pass was launched by West Midlands Police in September 2016 by officers concerned traditional cycle safety operations weren’t tackling a major fear among cyclists, of close overtaking by drivers. A plain clothed police officer cycling radios close passes to a colleague who pulls the driver over and educates him or her, as well as deciding whether further action is required, such as referring the case to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The scheme was called the “best cyclist road safety initiative ever” by Cycling UK, and the Road Danger Reduction Forum presented officers with an award last year.

West Midlands Police: If poor driving makes people too scared to cycle, it's a police matter

In a blog published yesterday, West Midlands Police wrote: “The numbers of close pass due care offences we receive have dropped by about 50% since the #GiveSpaceBeSafe initiative took effect on our regions roads”.

“Within a week cyclists were contacting us to tell us things had had not only improved, but improved considerably,” the blog notes, adding though there will always be close passes, “they have become a rarity rather than commonplace”.

“Admittedly the huge press attention helped, but if our future efforts to protect vulnerable road users have half the impact that this operation has had we will be guaranteed success each time.”

WMP say the operation is a good use of limited police resources, and is cost neutral – officers used their own bikes, and Cycliq gave the officers Fly cameras to test.

Officers say in 99 per cent of cases feedback from offenders was good, with around one per cent facing prosecution for poor driving judgement and skills.

However, it adds, “we still get the same amount of red light, mobile phone and other offences via third party footage though, no change there yet!” 

The blog also identified what Bob Davis, RDRF Chair, describes as “risk compensation” by drivers, whose vehicles can protect them from even high speed crashes.

Davies, who presented West Midlands Police with an award in Parliament last year for the operation, told road.cc: “We have supported it because it is a harm reduction scheme, because it’s looking the question of intimidation and seeing it as a problem, which historically the police haven’t done.”

“It’s addressing the issue of people feeling intimidated by close passing. It’s associated with people being hit from behind or getting doored because they feel they have to ride in the door zone, so it’s associated with injuries for cyclists, but we also like it because it goes beyond casualty causation.”

The blog describes how driving standards are worsened thanks to improved safety features in motor vehicles, or risk compensation.

“What is apparent from Op Close Pass is how little attention drivers actually pay to what is going on around them. This is because of a number of factors but primarily because drivers have little to fear when it comes to their own personal safety on the road. The modern motor vehicle is a fine feat of engineering, it can be driven into a brick wall at 50mph and the occupants can walk away relatively injury free.

"This 'security' has, however, endangered vulnerable road users where it protects the driver. Drivers with their subliminal feeling of safety relax, pay less attention, start practicing poor driving, they speed, don’t pay attention, all to the detriment of vulnerable road users.”

WMP also attribute a fall in policing levels to a decline in driving standards. In the West Midlands the operation is now a part of the everyday duties of police, but this year police will use fire service staff to free up officers for other issues the operation has highlighted.

Helmet camera footage is also being accepted as evidence by WMP, something the force feels is essential to tackling close passes, making the threat of detection possible at any time. The force is launching a digital reporting portal for submission of third party camera footage. The blog notes its success will be judged by KSI (killed and seriously injured) statistics for the region.

West Midlands Police is running a close pass operation training session tomorrow, to which 18 police forces from across England and Wales are invited. Road safety campaigners, and many cyclists, hope more police forces will replicate WMP's work.

 

 

17 comments

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CygnusX1 [620 posts] 11 months ago
4 likes

Excellent that its having such a remarkable impact on anecdata already, keep the pressure on - otherwise I suspect the situation will backslide quickly  

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CygnusX1 [620 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

PS Cycliq - I'll happily test your Fly 6 / Fly 12 cameras for free yes

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1961BikiE [392 posts] 11 months ago
8 likes

Can someone from the West Midlands Police Force, preferably the highest ranking officer, have a chat with our "Secretary for Transport"? He looks to need all the informed advise he can get.

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Simon E [3154 posts] 11 months ago
3 likes

There doesn't appear to be a link to yesterday's blog post by WMP:

https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/climbing-mountains/

It's long but it's bloody brilliant!

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me [94 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

It's a long time since I've read something this positive.  Not just because they're doing something (as opposed to talking about doing something) but there's common sense and joined up thinking all at the same time too.  Marvellous

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jollygoodvelo [1680 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

There doesn't appear to be a link to yesterday's blog post by WMP:

https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2017/01/11/climbing-mountains/

It's long but it's bloody brilliant!

Should be mandatory reading.  Perfect.

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bendertherobot [1476 posts] 11 months ago
2 likes

Christ, there's even a bit on reflectives in there. Black kit with reflective better than high vis with none. They get it, every detail.

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Dropped [122 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

I couldn't fault the January of September blog posts in any way. If all road enforcement officials were so clued up we would have a lot less to moan about!

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Dropped [122 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

OK Python lets break your rather contorted arguments down: -

'Isn't it actually the case as per Roadcraft that being 'right' is not only more likely to save your life but allows you to travel unimpeded also'. No where have I ever seen advice stating that being right will save your life. That is abject nonsense. Being right is a point of view, not an action.

'Yet people riding bikes are having freedoms taken away, being forced off the road into segregated lanes/paths that are next to useless far too often AND being partly blamed for their injuries. if you can't see that that has already impinged upon people on bikes and caused countless deaths/situations....'. This point was not being made by the author of the article, the blog or any btl commentators.

'...if people like your nan and plenty others hadn't being doffing caps in subservience all the time, it's no wonder we are in the quagmire that we are today that requires 'special' operations to keep us safe!!' This is just a childish ad hominem attack that brings nothing to the discussion.

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Stumps [3496 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

Being more visible to other road users is basic commonsense, i thought even you would admit to that, however saying its a cop who's brought it up i'm not surprised you've tried to poo poo it.

 

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davel [1956 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Stumps wrote:

Being more visible to other road users is basic commonsense, i thought even you would admit to that, however saying its a cop who's brought it up i'm not surprised you've tried to poo poo it.

 

People's definitions of common sense vary.

Common sense, intuition, whatever, rarely solves - I mean properly solve - complex problems. I worked in process improvement - common sense often makes things worse.

It's an opinion that putting the onus on the cyclist to keep themselves from getting hit fosters a culture in which the real causes of the collisions are not addressed.

But it's also only an opinion (ie, no evidence?) that additional lights reduce your chances of being hit.

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wycombewheeler [1237 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:
Stumps wrote:

Being more visible to other road users is basic commonsense, i thought even you would admit to that, however saying its a cop who's brought it up i'm not surprised you've tried to poo poo it.

 

People's definitions of common sense vary.

Common sense, intuition, whatever, rarely solves - I mean properly solve - complex problems. I worked in process improvement - common sense often makes things worse.

It's an opinion that putting the onus on the cyclist to keep themselves from getting hit fosters a culture in which the real causes of the collisions are not addressed.

But it's also only an opinion (ie, no evidence?) that additional lights reduce your chances of being hit.

Well if nothing else they reduce your chances of arriving home with no functioning lights due to the battery in one running out.

but I don't believe two working lights makes any significant difference over one, except where the second light is mounted high on the cyclist and not on the bike.

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skippy [416 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes

Seems that the " Rt Hon. " should be moved to the " Ministry of Health "!

With that he can declare that " Obesity & Diabetes " are NO LONGER HEALTH ISSUES !

What part of the back of the Moon , is he planning on retiring to ?

As to the " visibility " nonsense mentioned in comments , SINCE WHEN , were people allowed to Pass the  UK Driving Test , IF , they could not SEE the vehicle in front of them ?

ANY in the Judiciary , that continue to accept " SMIDSY " as a defence , should look for another Vocation , since the LAW REQUIRES that people be able to SEE !  

Too often " Policing " is about an " Officer of the Law " doing " WRONG " in their OWN time , so whilst on DUTY  seeing " Others " of the same mindset , regards the " Perp " as being worthy of " Sympathy "?  Shame that , they may well be in a Traffic Violence Incident that may well have been PREVENTED , had they been pulled over ?

 

 

 

 

 

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

So in the absence of definitive research, lack of agreement of what constitutes common sense and without pandering to individual psychosis about helmets and other issues. We have no option to refer to the official Highway Code rules 59 to 82 for cyclists. 

 

Rule 59

Clothing. You should wear

a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights
light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light
reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.

 

Rule 60

At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.

Law RVLR regs 13, 18 & 24

 

And no, these offer you no guarantee of not becoming a victim and neither does not adhering to them make you a legitimate target. The larger set of rules in the full highway code are however the set of guidance for all road users that should be the accepted standard and enforced by those responsible for policing our public roads.

 

 

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racingcondor [238 posts] 11 months ago
1 like

I'm not going to get into a debate in a thread like this but I can offer a couple of good reasons to run 2 lights front and rear -
1) You can have one flashing and one on constant (constant is better for others judging your speed, flashing attracting attention),
2) Bike lights run on batteries. If you only have one and it runs out you're unlit and if it's the rear you won't even know it.

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Mungecrundle [866 posts] 11 months ago
1 like
racingcondor wrote:

I'm not going to get into a debate in a thread like this but I can offer a couple of good reasons to run 2 lights front and rear -
1) You can have one flashing and one on constant (constant is better for others judging your speed, flashing attracting attention),
2) Bike lights run on batteries. If you only have one and it runs out you're unlit and if it's the rear you won't even know it.

That sounds far too much like common sense.

Also I can find no peer reviewed research that the battery running out is a cause of your lights not working.

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davel [1956 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
Mungecrundle wrote:
racingcondor wrote:

I'm not going to get into a debate in a thread like this but I can offer a couple of good reasons to run 2 lights front and rear -
1) You can have one flashing and one on constant (constant is better for others judging your speed, flashing attracting attention),
2) Bike lights run on batteries. If you only have one and it runs out you're unlit and if it's the rear you won't even know it.

That sounds far too much like common sense.

Also I can find no peer reviewed research that the battery running out is a cause of your lights not working.

As a problem to solve, your light not working is a bimble in the park compared to cyclist KSIs.