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South Yorkshire Police to trial close-pass operation following pressure from campaigners

Change of heart is a direct response to public feedback

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 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.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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cqexbesd | 6 years ago

Presumably PCSOs will be uniformed so it will be interesting to see how many people decide to close pass them.

Neezurt replied to cqexbesd | 6 years ago

cqexbesd wrote:

Presumably PCSOs will be uniformed so it will be interesting to see how many people decide to close pass them.


Yes... if they are in uniform, then they're unlikely to appreciate the scale of the problem encountered by us everyday cyclists.

I recall an article about a similar initiative in the horse-riding community. With "Polite Notice - Pass Slowly" on the back of a rider's gilet, motorists took little notice. However, changing just one letter - to "Police Notice - Pass Slowly" - had a huge impact, with far more motorists observing the written instruction.

wtjs replied to Neezurt | 3 years ago

 if they are in uniform, then they're unlikely to appreciate the scale of the problem encountered by us everyday cyclists

Many will recall the Police Superintendent, or whatever she was. in the Worcester force, or soewhere nearby, calling off a close pass operation because it was too dangerous for the officers.

Awavey replied to cqexbesd | 3 years ago

Well tbf every force does it differently so we cant say for sure,but in Suffolk/Norfolk when they often rope in colleagues from the fire service to be their target practice, sorry the cyclist with camera, they dont wear their fire service kit,they look just like average roadies out on bikes. (As opposed to wearing ridiculous oversized lumionous jackets).

But I often genuinely think they could wear a traffic cop hiviz jacket that said police operation in big capital letters, with a huge gatso camera sign on it and blue flashing lights and drivers still wouldnt pay the blindest bit of notice to it and still close pass them

liam92 | 6 years ago
1 like

well done for listening SYP!

CygnusX1 replied to liam92 | 6 years ago

liam92 wrote:

well done for listening SYP!

Listened, and ignored.

Rather than implementing the WMP model, they've gone for cycle mounted PCSOs going about their normal duties, but with a gopro (or other equivalent). Normal duties = uniformed, as normal (presumably).

The photo below shows a "proper" SYP officer and a PCSO with bikes - can y ou tell which is which?


As a driver who might otherwise pass close to a normal cyclist, would you pass equally close to someone looking like either of these two, or maybe give a bit more room?  

(PS the PCSO is the one on the right)

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