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Greater Manchester Police roll out close-pass initiative following successful trial (+ video)

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.

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