South Yorkshire Police (SYP) is to launch a safe pass initiative to protect cyclists. The force had initially rejected such a move citing a low number of cyclist fatalities in the region, but has had a change of heart following pressure from campaigners.
In December, SYP answered a question about close pass policing from campaign group Cycle Sheffield by saying that resources were “carefully deployed to target specific activity” pointing to low numbers of cycling fatalities in the region.
Dozens of organisations, including cycling clubs and campaign groups, joined forces to urge the force to reconsider and implement something similar to the close pass initiative pioneered by West Midlands Police.
Analysis of official road casualty statistics by road.cc showed that compared to the West Midlands, and adjusting for the relative size of the populations, more cyclists are killed or seriously injured in South Yorkshire each year.
On Sunday July 16, SYP officers supported the Sheffield City Centre Cycle Ride event with Cycle Sheffield, where a ‘safe pass’ mat was used to raise awareness with motorists about safe passing distances.
The Yorkshire Post reports that a scheme will now be launched where PCSOs on bicycle patrol will record footage. Officers will then review this and any motorist found to have passed too closely will be subject to follow-up investigation.
Inspector Craig Clifton said: “Following concerns raised by several of our county’s cycling groups and feedback from cyclists in South Yorkshire, we will now roll out a safe pass initiative.
“This is as a direct result of the public’s feedback and we hope this demonstrates that we do listen to your concerns and will act to address the issues you raise.
“The scheme will initially be implemented in Sheffield and Doncaster based on some early feedback and if successful, will be rolled out forcewide.
“We are in the early stages of introducing this scheme in our force area, so it will be subject to review. We will also continue to investigate allegations of careless driving locally which are brought to our attention.
“We hope this scheme makes a positive difference to the experience of cyclists on our roads, with the ultimate aim of raising awareness and improving road safety for cyclists on the roads of South Yorkshire.”