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.
They will also be on stage in the arena with @WeAreCyclingUK at 15:45hrs. They are also available to taste any cake or coffee if required
— CMPG - Road Policing (@Trafficwmp) September 20, 2017
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.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.