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Reckless drivers warned “the next cyclist you overtake could be a police officer”

Following a successful trial, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has announced that it is to run a version of the close-pass initiative pioneered by West Midlands Police in which plain clothed officers on bikes are employed to target drivers who overtake dangerously close.

The GMP Traffic Unit launched the initiative yesterday. Following trials in Bolton, Tameside and Manchester, the initiative will now be rolled out gradually across all of Greater Manchester.

Once identified by a cycling police officer, a nearby patrol vehicle intercepts drivers and offers them on the spot education on how to safely overtake cyclists.

Drivers who refuse the education will be charged with driving without due care and attention, which could result in their receiving a fine and points on their licence.

Inspector Paul Rowe from GMP’s Collision Investigation unit said “The close pass initiative aims to educate drivers on how to safely share the roads with cyclists. Our warning to reckless drivers is that the next cyclist you overtake could be a police officer.

“The close pass initiative, as part of Operation Considerate, highlights the need for all road users to be respectful of each other’s space. It is vital that motorists understand that cyclists are given the same rights and protection as any other road user.”

Graham Jones, Chair of the Greater Manchester Casualty Reduction Partnership, said:

“Cycling is a great way to travel – it’s cheap, good for your health and benefits the environment. There’s a lot of work going on in Greater Manchester to make cycling a convenient and viable travel choice for as many people as possible by providing improved facilities and infrastructure, and training for both cyclists and drivers.

“Alongside this, road safety campaigns such as GMP’s close pass initiative have a proven record of successfully changing driver behaviour and improving the mutual respect between all road users. We’re happy to support the close pass scheme as part of a drive by partner organisations across Greater Manchester to make roads as safe as possible for everyone.”

Officers from West Midlands Police’s will be giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Committee today regarding their efforts to protect vulnerable road users.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

18 comments

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atgni [429 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

Good.

Why's the number plate obscured on the offender's car but not the parked cars?

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Grumpy17 [75 posts] 7 months ago
5 likes

A positive move BUT... which drivers realistically are going to refuse some 'on the spot education' as an alternative to prosecution? Err,none. They are going to stand there listening to a boring lecture for a few minutes then be on their way ..only to carry on doing exactly what they just did over and over again.

Perhaps the police need to realise that a lot of these cases of close passes are not a consequence of a lack of driver awareness at all- it is more the case that a fair number of these  drivers  know full well what they are doing.  And all their close passes ,left hooks , must overtake at all costs type manoeuvres are merely their way of demonstrating that they  don't  G.A.F. about and in fact actively dislike cyclists .

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CygnusX1 [503 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

Hurrah!

@Grumpy17  -- some drivers are positively agrressive, but most of the close passes I have I would class as ignorance and a fear of crossing the white dashed line (YMMV).

Education is appropriate here, and the anecdata from WMP suggests the combination of publicity around the initiative and educating those drivers pulled over seems to be working.

I'm sure prosecution is an option for GMP (like their WMP colleagues) especially if the pass was particularly bad or some other offence (using a mobile etc) was committed.

WMP also had prosecution only days - get pulled up on one of them and getting away with just roadside training is not an option.

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Grumpy17 [75 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

Sadly you just can't educate some drivers at all. A quick read of a few of the Twitter and Facebook comments will tell you it's a lost cause. Someone has posted a comment that says the cyclist in the above picture (this is the A5103 near to Cavendish Rd) is too far out and 'should be riding between the two yellow lines'.

No hope of educating twerps like that I'm afraid.

 

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cjwebb [40 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Maybe we should report their Twitter account to the grammar police?

...drivers educated in leiu of prosecution for driving to close...

...drivers educated in *lieu* of prosecution for driving *too* close...

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ChrisB200SX [496 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

I hope they also use a more dangerous real-world scenario like pulling away after having filtered to the front or behind the front vehicle in a queue of traffic at traffic lights, etc.

I notice a pattern with the 4 vehicles in the twitter picture.

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Jharrison5 [133 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Grumpy17 wrote:

Sadly you just can't educate some drivers at all... Someone has posted a comment that says the cyclist in the above picture (this is the A5103 near to Cavendish Rd) is too far out and 'should be riding between the two yellow lines'.

No hope of educating twerps like that I'm afraid.

 

There was me, just thinking he should move into the lane to use some space and force motorists to actively, rather than passively, overtake. There might be less risk of striking a pedestrian with his handlebar that way too.

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davel [1608 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes
Grumpy17 wrote:

Sadly you just can't educate some drivers at all. A quick read of a few of the Twitter and Facebook comments will tell you it's a lost cause. Someone has posted a comment that says the cyclist in the above picture (this is the A5103 near to Cavendish Rd) is too far out and 'should be riding between the two yellow lines'.

No hope of educating twerps like that I'm afraid.

 

I'd be surprised if a really significant proportion of drivers can do better but just choose not to care, though I do think complacency is a factor.

But if that is the case, then the threat of plain-clothed plod cycling around, snooping on their driving, should have some effect, no?

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Grumpy17 [75 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
davel wrote:
Grumpy17 wrote:

Sadly you just can't educate some drivers at all. A quick read of a few of the Twitter and Facebook comments will tell you it's a lost cause. Someone has posted a comment that says the cyclist in the above picture (this is the A5103 near to Cavendish Rd) is too far out and 'should be riding between the two yellow lines'.

No hope of educating twerps like that I'm afraid.

 

I'd be surprised if a really significant proportion of drivers can do better but just choose not to care, though I do think complacency is a factor.

But if that is the case, then the threat of plain-clothed plod cycling around, snooping on their driving, should have some effect, no?

 

The threat will be illusory. A bit like the cardboard cut-out police officers they spent thousands on to deter shoplifters.

Seriously, after the intial publicity phase has ended it is highly unlikely they will want to allocate resources to this initiative.

There are simply too many crimes and serious incidents already and not enough police officers to deal with them  to expect they could ever commit to this long term.

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Legs_Eleven_Wor... [24 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes

The reason why 'education' is used is money.  It is cheaper to pay a copper to stand on the roadside and lecture - whilst the driver stands there, nods his head and says, 'Yes officer, no officer, three bags full, officer, I swear I won't do it again, officer...' - than it is to engage the CPS, or to issue an automatic FPN.    And if even half of the drivers were to challenge their FPN, that would cost money.  And this government has one obsession that overrides everything: money.

A better idea to stop close passes would for cyclists to carry a D-lock in their belt. Every close pass gets that D-lock thrown through the side window of a car.   Should the cunthair behind the wheel be foolish enough to stop and get out of his car, it's the last thing he ever does on this earth.

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davel [1608 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Grumpy17 wrote:
davel wrote:
Grumpy17 wrote:

Sadly you just can't educate some drivers at all. A quick read of a few of the Twitter and Facebook comments will tell you it's a lost cause. Someone has posted a comment that says the cyclist in the above picture (this is the A5103 near to Cavendish Rd) is too far out and 'should be riding between the two yellow lines'.

No hope of educating twerps like that I'm afraid.

 

I'd be surprised if a really significant proportion of drivers can do better but just choose not to care, though I do think complacency is a factor.

But if that is the case, then the threat of plain-clothed plod cycling around, snooping on their driving, should have some effect, no?

 

The threat will be illusory. A bit like the cardboard cut-out police officers they spent thousands on to deter shoplifters.

Seriously, after the intial publicity phase has ended it is highly unlikely they will want to allocate resources to this initiative.

There are simply too many crimes and serious incidents already and not enough police officers to deal with them  to expect they could ever commit to this long term.

Twitter and facebook gobshites are only representative of twitter and facebook gobshites. If the efficacy of solutions like this was measured by the nonsense spouted in response, nothing would ever get done. 

There isn't the money or resource to throw at this as it is - but it's gaining momentum. That's one of its major strengths: it's very cheap. It's not a panacea, but it could have a positive impact. Well worth a go... unless things are fine as they are. And they're not.

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Gasman Jim [205 posts] 7 months ago
2 likes

I'm lucky enough to be riding in Gran Canaria this week. I've never encountered such a courteous bunch of drivers elsewhere on earth (and I've ridden in a lot of different countries)! Not one single close pass so far, and that's despite their mountain roads being very twisty and there being quite a few cyclists.

 

How come these guys are so careful around cyclists, while the UK has so many arseholes behind the wheel?

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aegisdesign [18 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
James115115 wrote:

Bloody hell, one thing at a time Grumpy! I believe from pushing these schemes out across the country you aren't just made aware of the 1.5m rule when you get stopped from the old bill but also from the media coverage it's getting. Surely can't be a bad thing can it?

 

The 1.5m rule? No such thing.

IMHO it's dangerous to suggest as in the picture used by WMP and seemingly taken up by other forces that cyclists should cycle 0.75m from the kerb and cars should pass at 1.5m.

I usually cycle further out than 0.75m from the kerb - often much further. And equally, most cars pass with more than 1.5m space. Yes, those are minimum standards but they're surely enforcing the perception in the less courteous drivers that that is all they should give.

 

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beezus fufoon [763 posts] 7 months ago
0 likes
Gasman Jim wrote:

I'm lucky enough to be riding in Gran Canaria this week. I've never encountered such a courteous bunch of drivers elsewhere on earth (and I've ridden in a lot of different countries)! Not one single close pass so far, and that's despite their mountain roads being very twisty and there being quite a few cyclists.

 

How come these guys are so careful around cyclists, while the UK has so many arseholes behind the wheel?

probably the same drivers, but on holiday!

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KevM [43 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

The funny thing is, around here I'd count 3 of those 4 photos in the tweet as good passes.

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Argos74 [441 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

Hang on, that's me! Don't remember it being a particularly close pass though.

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brooksby [2507 posts] 7 months ago
1 like
Argos74 wrote:

Hang on, that's me! Don't remember it being a particularly close pass though.

Are you riding the bike or driving the white van?

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Argos74 [441 posts] 7 months ago
1 like

The bike. Not sure how I feel about a GMP picture of my my backside getting 169 retweets and 256 likes. Impressed that they managed it without a wideangle lens though.