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.