Police in Ipswich hold close pass operation

Drivers were given the opportunity to be educated on safe passing distances and the hazards cyclists face

Police in Ipswich have this week held a close pass operation targeting motorists who fail to give cyclists enough room when overtaking them or who put them in danger through issues such as tailgating or left hooks.

The operation, held in the centre of the Suffolk county town yesterday, saw plain clothes officers riding bicycles equipped with action cameras to capture evidence of poor driving, reports the Ipswich Star.

When an incident occurred, they would report them to uniformed colleagues on motorbikes, who would then flag down the motorist concerned.

Except in cases of drug-driving or dangerous driving, motorists were given the opportunity to be escorted to a location where they would undergo voluntary education on how to pass cyclists safely.

Advice given included showing them the recommended 1.5-metre safe passing distance with the help of a mat, crowdfunded by the charity Cycling UK and distributed to police forces around the UK, as well as being informed of hazards cyclists face.

Motorists declining the offer risked being reported for careless driving.

The award-winning close pass initiative was originally developed by traffic officers at West Midlands Police in 2016, and has since been taken up by forces across the country.

Such operations are regularly highlighted to written and broadcast media, meaning that they gain wider exposure beyond just the drivers who were stopped.

According to West Midlands Police, in the first year its initiative was in operation, the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the region’s roads fell by a fifth.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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