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Cyclists point out the operation is about more than just preventing fatalities

South Wales Police has said it is not currently planning to carry out a version of the close pass initiative pioneered by West Midlands Police on the grounds that there isn’t a “major problem” with cyclists being involved in road traffic collisions.

Writing to local cyclists who had asked for the scheme to be introduced, Police and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said:

“The last fatal road traffic collision within the South Wales Police area took place on February 20, 2014, when a 48-year-old female was struck by a passing lorry on Ocean Way in Cardiff.

“There are no current plans to undertake the Close Pass initiative by South Wales Police because there is a multitude of work ongoing to promote the safety of cyclists, and to make drivers aware of driving appropriately alongside other road users.

“Areas of policy are, however, reviewed on a regular basis and I have therefore forwarded your suggestion to the Chief Officer with responsibility for road safety for their attention.”

According to road accident statistics released today by the Welsh Government, South Wales did however see 231 pedal cyclist casualties in 2015, the most recent year for which there are statistics.

Was South Yorkshire Police right not to follow West Midlands Police’s ‘close pass’ initiative? We look at the numbers

Cardiff cyclist Jonathan Wright expressed his disappointment in the decision, telling Wales Online that the initiative – in which a cycling officer radios ahead to colleagues when subjected to a close pass by a motorist – was about more than just preventing fatalities.

 “Something really needs to be done to stop intimidation which is a barrier to people taking up cycling.

“There’s an incredible amount of traffic coming into the city centre. It’s not that all motorists are inconsiderate but when you’re on the roads into and across Cardiff, even if you’re a fairly experienced cyclist like me, you do feel quite scared.”

In a blog in January, West Midlands Police said that its close pass operation had halved poor overtaking offences since it was introduced.

The force was last year presented with an award by the Road Danger Reduction Forum. Its chair, Bob Davis, commented: “We have supported it because it is a harm reduction scheme, because it’s looking at 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.”

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14 comments

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burtthebike [1119 posts] 6 months ago
12 likes

So if there are no cyclists because they've all be frightened off the roads and there are no fatalities, South Wales Police considers that a success?

As pointed out in the article, it's much more than just fatalities, it's also about feeling safe on the roads and not deterring every novice cyclist on their first ride so they give up and get back in the car.

I cycle in South Wales regularly, and the drivers there are just as bad as anywhere else.  Wake up South Wales Police, and if your first duty is to protect the public, this has to be a priority.

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STiG911 [278 posts] 6 months ago
7 likes

So basically - 'No one's dying, so we're just fine thanks, sitting on our arses playing Candy Crush, isn't it?'

(Can't do the accent)

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bendertherobot [1453 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes

There are two things here.

The first is that the Welsh forces didn't even bother to attend at the English force conference on this.

The second is that the SW Police Commissioner, cannot see it as a problem and seems quite hard to engage.

Without a champion, as West Midlands had, this won't take off

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grumpyoldcyclist [48 posts] 6 months ago
7 likes
bendertherobot wrote:

There are two things here.

The first is that the Welsh forces didn't even bother to attend at the English force conference on this.

The second is that the SW Police Commissioner, cannot see it as a problem and seems quite hard to engage.

Without a champion, as West Midlands had, this won't take off

In defence of North Wales police, they have a very effective system of reporting close passes, mobile use etc. Try googling (other search engines are available) operation snap. This is for everybody with video evidence cyclists, bikers or drivers. I've reported a few drivers in 2016 and 2017 and as far as I know they've all been progressed with points or the option of a £100 awareness course. One person is contesting theirs and it seems we will meet in court, so I know they do take them on. I understand that they also run their own version of WMP close pass operation with their own riders out on the roads.

Just giving credit where it's due. Don't get me started about Cheshire police though....

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Rich_cb [370 posts] 6 months ago
8 likes

As someone who lives and cycles regularly in the South Wales Police Force area I am pretty disappointed by this.

I experience numerous close passes weekly and see aggressive driving on a daily basis.

Without the Police enforcing the law on dangerous driving many people will be far too intimidated to ever consider cycling.

If people felt safer Cardiff could easily become an amazing city for cyclists, it's pretty flat with multiple parks and paths for commuters while being surrounded by some amazing routes for both road and mountain biking.

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bendertherobot [1453 posts] 6 months ago
3 likes
grumpyoldcyclist wrote:
bendertherobot wrote:

There are two things here.

The first is that the Welsh forces didn't even bother to attend at the English force conference on this.

The second is that the SW Police Commissioner, cannot see it as a problem and seems quite hard to engage.

Without a champion, as West Midlands had, this won't take off

In defence of North Wales police, they have a very effective system of reporting close passes, mobile use etc. Try googling (other search engines are available) operation snap. This is for everybody with video evidence cyclists, bikers or drivers. I've reported a few drivers in 2016 and 2017 and as far as I know they've all been progressed with points or the option of a £100 awareness course. One person is contesting theirs and it seems we will meet in court, so I know they do take them on. I understand that they also run their own version of WMP close pass operation with their own riders out on the roads.

Just giving credit where it's due. Don't get me started about Cheshire police though....

Sorry, I should have excluded them, my reference is to the others who, as I recall, chose not to attend. 

Us South Wales lot are very centric mind...

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FluffyKittenofT... [1793 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
burtthebike wrote:

So if there are no cyclists because they've all be frightened off the roads and there are no fatalities, South Wales Police considers that a success?

As pointed out in the article, it's much more than just fatalities, it's also about feeling safe on the roads and not deterring every novice cyclist on their first ride so they give up and get back in the car.

I cycle in South Wales regularly, and the drivers there are just as bad as anywhere else.  Wake up South Wales Police, and if your first duty is to protect the public, this has to be a priority.

Clearly it's time for unconfident, nervous, would-be-cyclists, to get out there and take one for the team.

Apparently, its only once those currently too scared to cycle make the ultimate sacrifice that the cops will actually do something.

Avatar
Grahamd [670 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
FluffyKittenofTindalos wrote:
burtthebike wrote:

So if there are no cyclists because they've all be frightened off the roads and there are no fatalities, South Wales Police considers that a success?

As pointed out in the article, it's much more than just fatalities, it's also about feeling safe on the roads and not deterring every novice cyclist on their first ride so they give up and get back in the car.

I cycle in South Wales regularly, and the drivers there are just as bad as anywhere else.  Wake up South Wales Police, and if your first duty is to protect the public, this has to be a priority.

Clearly it's time for unconfident, nervous, would-be-cyclists, to get out there and take one for the team. Apparently, its only once those currently too scared to cycle make the ultimate sacrifice that the cops will actually do something.

Even that wouldn't work. The death of a police sergeant cycling in neighbouring Gwent in 2011 hardly drew much attention.

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DaSy [759 posts] 6 months ago
2 likes

 I live in South Wales, where intimidation on the road for me comes in the form of  sheep on the Tumble. They wait for me to get to terminal velocity before deciding to nibble grass right at the edge of the road as I approach. They used to do it on the Devil's Elbow descent too, I'm sure they weren't the same ones, so it must be a Principality-wide project on their part.

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Grahamd [670 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
DaSy wrote:

 I live in South Wales, where intimidation on the road for me comes in the form of  sheep on the Tumble. They wait for me to get to terminal velocity before deciding to nibble grass right at the edge of the road as I approach. They used to do it on the Devil's Elbow descent too, I'm sure they weren't the same ones, so it must be a Principality-wide project on their part.

Have ridden the Tumble enough times to know what you mean, Hay Bluff descent is even worse for this.

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bendertherobot [1453 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

Ditto Maerdy/Aberdate mountain. Mate's dad picked us up from school once, driving down the Maerdy side, sheep came careering down the mountain above us, straight across the bonnet, down the other side, unscathed.

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kitsunegari [291 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes

I wonder how many cyclists need to die before the SWP start to take it seriously.

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Dork Knight [1 post] 6 months ago
2 likes
kitsunegari wrote:

I wonder how many cyclists need to die before the SWP start to take it seriously.

 

I was taken out in Cardiff during December 2015 by a White Van Man doing a U-Turn just after a set of traffic lights without warning, even with video footage the van driver got a verbal warning as they said I didn't have life changing injuries.

I ended up with a fractured collar bone and three upper ribs broken on my left side, broken sternum, broken top right rib a punctured lung and five broken vertebrae in my back and neck.

They just didn’t really want to know.

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Grahamd [670 posts] 6 months ago
0 likes
Dork Knight wrote:
kitsunegari wrote:

I wonder how many cyclists need to die before the SWP start to take it seriously.

 

I was taken out in Cardiff during December 2015 by a White Van Man doing a U-Turn just after a set of traffic lights without warning, even with video footage the van driver got a verbal warning as they said I didn't have life changing injuries.

I ended up with a fractured collar bone and three upper ribs broken on my left side, broken sternum, broken top right rib a punctured lung and five broken vertebrae in my back and neck.

They just didn’t really want to know.

The van driver got a warning, result. Gwent police wouldn't even register an incident for me despite video evidence.