‘Close pass’ initiative launched in Cambridge

15.02 | 22 February | | 4 comments

Police in Cambridge have launched a new ‘safe pass’ operation to reduce the number of collisions involving cyclists in the city.

Operation Velo will see plain clothed police officers saddle up in Cambridge city centre looking out for motorists who do not leave the required space when passing cyclists.

Officers will then escort the driver to a check point where they will be educated on the optimum distance to pass a cyclist – 1.5m.

In some cases, the driver could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving and face a fine of £100 and three points on their licence.

Operation Velo – organised by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire (BCH) Road Policing Unit with support from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service – follows in the footsteps of similar schemes across the UK.

First conceived by West Midlands Police in 2016, ‘close pass’ initiatives operate in areas including Merseyside, the North East, Avon and Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire and North Yorkshire.

The Cambridge campaign will also see officers monitoring the behaviour of cyclists, addressing those who put themselves at risk by disobeying traffic signs and red lights and cycling recklessly.

Chris Huggins, BCH road policing inspector, said: “One of the most vulnerable road user groups are cyclists, and with the launch of Op Velo, we aim to educate drivers as to safe passing around cyclists and deal with driving offenders who jeopardise rider safety.

“We must respect each other when driving and riding on the roads, and we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others.”

While Operation Velo is initially being launched in Cambridge city centre, there are plans to roll it out across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in the future.



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    Can I ask is it safe for the Police and CPS to take up a prosecution based on an arbitrary figure of distance that has not at all be approved in law or indeed contained within the Highway Code and can a prosecution succeed if that is the case. Further can such a distance if not approved or accepted in law be used to stop and talk to presumed offenders.

    Just wondered.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (11) | Disagree (4)

    Bob I think you misunderstood what Charles had to say which I believe was alluding to the possibility that cyclists sometimes ‘break the law’ because it is safer for them to do so. Also if you go to the link you will see that the Police are looking at cyclist behaviour as well.

    “We will also be taking action with cyclists who take risks, by disobeying traffic signs and signs and riding without lights. We must respect each other when driving and riding on the roads, and we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others.”

    The picture slightly concerns me as it seems to imply that there is a distance from the kerb that cyclists should cycle at. And drivers might use this as an excuse to have a go at any cyclist that ‘takes the lane’ for good reason.

    Jonathan, Bristol
    Agree (4) | Disagree (1)

    I agree with Charles. I was in Cambridge a couple of years ago and saw cyclists overtaking and undertaking buses, HGVs and cars and with as little as a few inches between themselves and going under a bus or other vehicle. It was like watching attempted suicide taking place. They rode with little or no regards to the danger that they put themselves into or that of other road users. So perhaps the Police could open up their interest and involve themselves in the antics of such dangerous cycling also.

    Bob Craven, Lancs
    Agree (8) | Disagree (7)

    It would be interesting to know what lengths the police are prepared to go to establish whether individual cyclists disobeying traffic signs and red lights are cycling recklessly and putting themselves at risk, or just doing the best thing in the circumstances to actually *keep* themselves safe.

    Charles, England
    Agree (11) | Disagree (7)