Close Pass campaign to be rolled out by police in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Leicestershire

Roads policing units covering four more counties pledge to follow lead of colleagues in West Midlands

Leicestershire Police and Devon & Cornwall Police, which runs its roads policing unit in partnership with Dorset Police, are the latest forces to adopt the campaign targeting motorists who pass cyclists too closely that was launched by West Midlands Police last year.

The award-winning campaign has been widely praised by cycling campaigners and road safety experts since it was unveiled in September.

Devon & Cornwall Police was one of three forces represented in Birmingham yesterday to see the initiative in work first-hand, the others being Dorset Police and Wiltshire Police.

An earlier briefing day in January saw 18 police forces participate, including Leicestershire Police, with a number confirming afterwards to road.cc that they would be adopting the approach taken by West Midlands Police.

> Close pass policing could be rolled out to 16 forces: is yours one?

In response to a tweet from the office of the Devon & Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner about the visit to the West Midlands, Caspar Hughes, co-founder of Rollapaluza and a campaigner with the group Stop Killing Cyclists, asked: “Will be we seeing the Close Pass Initiative being policed in Devon & Cornwall soon?”

He received a reply from the Chief Inspector Adrian Leisk, head of roads policing for Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, confirming that it would be rolled out to the three counties.

Meanwhile, the Leicester Mercury reports that Leicestershire Police will begin close pass operations, which see plain clothes officers on bikes alert colleagues about motorists giving them insufficient room, during the summer.

Eric Ludlow of Leicester Cycling Campaign told the newspaper: "Every cyclist will have experienced the sensations of a car flying past them at a very close distance.

"Even for experienced cyclists it can be extremely frightening.

"We have been in discussions with the police in Leicestershire about this since their colleagues in the West Midlands tried it.

"We were hoping for a few crumbs but the police have served up a full meal.

"We are very grateful to the police for taking on board our request.

"I am sure it will make a real difference to the safety of anyone riding a bike in the city and county."

Earlier this month, the charity Cycling UK took less than 48 hours to exceed its £12,000 target on Kickstarter that would enable it to provide ‘close pass mats’ to all police forces across the UK.

> Cycling UK hits £12,000 Kickstarter ‘close pass’ target

With nine days left, the Too Close For Comfort campaign has now raised nearly £14,500 with almost 1,000 people pledging money to it.

Duncan Dollimore, the charity’s senior road safety officer told road.cc in January: “Cycling UK knew West Midlands Police were on to a winner when they rolled out their ‘Give Space, be Safe’ campaign last year, which is why we backed it from the start.

“It’s a cheap, cost effective initiative that has proved highly effective at changing dangerous driving behaviour.

“It’s great to see so much interest in following West Midlands’ example, but Cycling UK is aware that a number of forces are still not getting their very simple message.

“We want to see more consistency across all police forces in tackling near misses, as these are not isolated incidents happening only in certain pockets of the country, but everywhere, every day."

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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