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Police in Exeter target intimidating drivers on school run with close pass operation

Initiative was in response to "local intelligence from cyclists" ...

Police in Exeter this week undertook a close pass operation on a road where parents accompanying their children to school by bike had spoken earlier this week of encountering aggressive behaviour from drivers.

The operation took place on Cowley Bridge Road and according to the Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police Alliance roads policing team was in response to "local intelligence from cyclists," reports Devon Live.

Earlier this week, parents of children at the nearby Steiner Academy had spoken of being subjected to abuse, often physical, as well as intimidating driving from motorists, leaving some too frightened to undertake the journey by bike.

> Exeter school run parents talk of the abuse they receive from motorists while cycling

Caspar Hughes, who is on the organising groups of the Exeter Cycling Campaign and Stop Killing Cyclists, was present at the operation, which resulted in two drivers being fined for mobile phone use and two others educated by officers about safe passing distances.

“I cycle to school with my 11-year-old daughter, our commute is mainly off road but we do spend 30 metres on a busy road.

“I ride two abreast to protect her and we are regularly close passed by drivers that are too impatient to wait behind us.

“They overtake us and join the stationary queue of traffic 40 metres further down the road.”

He added: “The Exeter Cycling Campaign welcome this initiative.”

Alison Hernandez, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner, told Devon Live: “I receive regular contact from cyclists about the behaviour of other road users towards them.

“Our partners work incredibly hard to provide safe, cycle only thoroughfares but cyclists have just as much right to be on the roads as all other users and, due to their vulnerability, it is vital that drivers give them enough space to stay safe.

“After the launch of the initiative in Plymouth in July I am pleased to see similar deployment of the operation in Exeter.”

The Devon & Cornwall and Dorset Police Alliance launched its close pass operation in July this year.

Earlier this week, West Midlands Police, the first force to launch such an initiative, said that the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads it polices had fallen by a fifth in the 12 months since it was introduced.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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