Details are relatively scant, but Essex Police have confirmed that they will be introducing a close pass operation later this year.
Gazette News reports that 46 people died in road traffic collisions in Essex in 2017, down from 64 deaths the year before, while 861 were left seriously injured, compared to 970 in 2016.
Adam Pipe, the force’s Casualty Reduction Manager, omitted cyclists when listing those most at risk: “Our most vulnerable road users are drivers and passengers aged between 17 and 25, motorcyclists, older drivers, and pedestrians and we will be focussing our engagement, enforcement and education work towards them."
However, he did say that 2018 would see the introduction of a close pass scheme, “to help protect cyclists and identify drivers putting cyclists in danger.”
The Extra Eyes initiative, from the Safer Essex Roads Partnership, also provides a simple method for all road users – including cyclists – to upload footage showing dangerous or illegal behaviour.
Most forces operating close pass operations have based their initiatives on the one pioneered by West Midlands Police.
The scheme involves plain clothes officers on bikes radioing ahead to uniformed colleagues to inform them of instances of poor driving.
When it was first announced, Cycling UK described it as “the best cyclist road safety initiative ever” and the charity has since crowdfunded a number of close pass mats for other forces with which officers can demonstrate safe passing distances to drivers.
The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on West Midlands Roads fell by a fifth in the year after Operation Close Pass was introduced.