An operation which aims to improve the safety of cyclists by educating drivers on how to overtake them safely has launched in Wales.
First devised by West Midlands Police in 2016, Operation Close Pass has since been adopted by police forces across England and Scotland.
The operation will now run in Wales for the first time – as a result of a collaboration between South Wales Police, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and Go Safe, the safety camera partnership.
South Wales Police says the initiative will help increase awareness of driving etiquette and how to drive courteously.
Operation Close Pass involves plain clothed police officers – fitted with cameras – saddling up to look for motorists who do not leave the required space when passing cyclists.
If an offence is detected, the officer contacts colleagues further down the road to direct the vehicle to a checkpoint where the driver will be offered roadside education from fire service colleagues using equipment which illustrates the safe passing distance.
The Highway Code recommends that road users should give vulnerable road users – such as motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders – the same amount of room as they would when overtaking a car, typically 1.5m.
Jennifer Gilmer, assistant chief constable for South Wales Police, said: “Protecting vulnerable road users is vitally important for police forces across the country.
“Operation Close Pass highlights the vulnerable position many cyclists are put in; it shows drivers what happens when they drive dangerously and don’t leave enough room when overtaking.”
Ken Skates, the Welsh Government’s economy and transport secretary, said: “I cannot praise this scheme highly enough. Contrary to common perception, the vast majority of pedal cyclist casualties occur not during complex manoeuvres, but when the cyclist is simply going along.
“We need to find a way of keeping safe those people who have made the decision to have healthier, more active and sustainable lives, and those who just enjoy riding their bikes.”