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.

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.