Having observed a similar operation run in Hampshire last week, Sussex Police has said it is “evaluating Close Pass to see how well it would work on the county’s roads.”
Hampshire police officers last week stopped both motorists and cyclists as part of the force’s Give Space, Be Safe campaign.
Similar to West Midlands Police’s original initiative, drivers who passed a plain clothes police cyclist when overtaking were given roadside education using Cycling UK’s close pass mat.
Sussex police officers were in attendance and a spokeswoman said: “Sussex Police are currently evaluating Close Pass to see how well it would work on the county’s roads.
“We along with SSRP (Sussex Safer Roads Partnership), recently observed the Hampshire event as part of that evaluation. This is on-going and we will use this information, along with that from other forces, to see how the scheme would work in Sussex.”
Becky Reynolds, campaigns officer for cycling campaign group Bricycles, told The Argus: “We would welcome Sussex Police conducting a close pass initiative – we think this is a fantastic initiative which will improve cyclists’ safety and other road users’ safety as well, because if people are overtaking cyclists too close they’re likely to be doing other dodgy things as well.”
Not all forces have seen fit to run close pass operations, however. Last month Cambridge Police made the perplexing argument that such an initiative was ‘not practical’ due to lack of road space.
Campaigners reacted furiously, suggesting that the implicit message was that it was acceptable for drivers to pass vulnerable road users closely because maintaining the speed and flow of motor traffic was more important than safety.
A subsequent statement from the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough completely failed to address concerns.