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More than 50 drivers stopped in north-east Scotland close pass operation

Police Scotland say they also saw many examples of good overtaking

Police Scotland say that a close pass operation mounted in the north east of the country has been a success, with more than 50 drivers stopped and told how to overtake cyclists safely.

Based on the award-winning initiative pioneered by West Midlands Police, the operation took place in several locations, reports the Evening Express.

Those were the Aberdeen suburb of Bridge of Don, Elgin in Moray, Laurencekirk in Kincardinshire, and Banchory and Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

The operation involved a police officer with an action camera mounted to his bike recording close passes he experienced while cycling and radioing ahead to uniformed colleagues who pulled over the motorists involved.

Some of the drivers were shown footage of the close passes they had made on the rider and given advice on safe overtaking.

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Motorists whose driving could have been better were pulled over and educated using an illustrative mat to demonstrate the desired positioning of their vehicle.

“On some occasions the footage captured by the cameras was played on a laptop computer so drivers could fully understand why they were stopped.

“A total of 58 motorists were stopped and educated regarding their driving.”

Police Scotland Sergeant Peter Henderson commented: “Operation Close Pass is intended to promote the safe overtaking of pedal cyclists who are just one group of vulnerable road users.

“The same level of care and consideration should also be applied to situations where motor vehicles come into conflict with horse riders and pedestrians.

“What we want to achieve is a position where all road users show appropriate consideration for each other so everyone can complete their journeys safely.

“While not everyone overtook our cyclist in an ideal manner, it is encouraging that over the course of this campaign, none of the driving was of a level which required drivers to be charged with careless driving.”

He added that the operation also highlighted many drivers who overtook cyclists safely.

“We actually saw a lot of good examples in all the locations we visited where drivers sat well back from our cyclist and waited for a suitable gap in the oncoming traffic before moving over on to the other side of the road, leaving plenty clearance before completing the overtake,” he explained.

Earlier this month, Police Constable Mark Hodson of West Midlands Police, who helped set up its close pass initiative, featured in the Channel 5 documentary, Cyclists: Scourge Of The Streets?

> Review: Channel 5's Cyclists: Scourge Of The Streets?

His participation in the programme was, from a cyclist’s point of view, perhaps the one positive note in what was otherwise an extremely hostile piece of television towards bike riders, and afterwards he spoke to Laura Laker in this piece for to explain his decision to take part.

> “They wanted us to take them somewhere people would say they didn’t like cyclists…” Cyclists: Scourge Of The Streets production crew accused of inflaming ‘war on the roads’ mentality

In 2017, Cycling UK held a successful crowdfunding campaign to pay for close pass mats to be distributed to police forces throughout the country, and earlier this year launched a virtual reality film to enable motorists to gain some insight into how it feels for a cyclist to experience a dangerous overtake.

> Cycling UK produces close pass VR film for police forces across UK

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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