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West Midland’s Police’s close pass operation sees number of cyclists killed or seriously injured fall by a fifth

Officers behind initiative will join Cycling UK at the Cycle Show in Birmingham this weekend

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads for which West Midlands Police is responsible has fallen by a fifth in year since it introduced its Operation Close Pass.

The initiative, launched 12 months ago this week, has been adopted by police forces throughout the UK thanks to a crowdfunding drive by Cycling UK to pay for ‘close pass mats’ to demonstrate safe passing distances to drivers.

When West Midlands Police unveiled its campaign, which sees plain clothes officers riding bikes radioing ahead to uniformed colleagues to inform them of instances of poor driving, the charity described it as “the best cyclist road safety initiative ever.”

Drivers pulled over are given advice on how to pass cyclists safely and, in some cases, face prosecution. The force also invites members of the public to submit videos of examples of poor driving, which according to a report on ITV.com has resulted in more than 350 prosecutions.

The officers who have run the operation, Mark Hodson and Steve Hudson, will be at the Cycle Show at the NEC in Birmingham this weekend and will be on the Cycling UK stand from 1pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

They will also join Cycling UK on stage in the venue’s Wattbike Stage on both days, where Cycling UK will be talking about its Too Close For Comfort campaign from 3.30-4.15pm.

> North Yorkshire Police becomes first force to get one of Cycling UK’s close pass mats

Tickets for the Cycle Show are still available and cost £13.95 – although you can get a 10 per cent discount using the code ROADCC.

Speaking of the West Midlands Police campaign, PC Hodson said: “We've seen a significant change in driver behaviour across the region as a result of the operation and the campaign.”

He added: “Hopefully that's going to have a profound impact on the amount of people we have killed or seriously injured on our roads in the coming years.”

> West Midlands Police say close pass operation has halved poor overtaking offences

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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