Hampshire Police has described its latest ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign as a ‘great success’, with more than 200 cyclists and motorists spoken to by officers.
The week-long campaign ran in Southampton, Portsmouth and the New Forest in partnership with local authority road safety teams, and targeted drivers who failed to follow Highway Code rules on passing distances when overtaking cyclists.
The campaign was backed by Cycling UK, who supplied the close pass mats used by police officers to show drivers the safe space when overtaking a cyclist.
Drivers found passing cyclists without giving adequate space were offered the chance to attend an on-the-spot educational briefing on the Highway Code and safe driving, as an alternative to prosecution. Drivers were also asked to complete a roadside eyesight test.
The operations, which took place during the morning and evening rush hours, also saw officers handing out free rucksack covers, neck tubes and temporary lights to encourage cyclists to be more visible. Cyclists without adequate lighting were also issued with fixed penalty notices.
Sgt Rob Heard, Hampshire Police, said: “The week’s activities were a great success. We have seen a marked improvement with drivers giving plenty of space and time when overtaking cyclists.
“We have not only been targeting poor driving behaviour, we have also been targeting cyclists and other road users whose behaviour may make them more at risk of being involved in a collision.
“Our focus has been about encouraging all road users to share the road together, abide by the law and give consideration.”
Sam Jones, Cycling UK’s campaigns coordinator, said: “Close passing of people cycling is a regular occurrence on our roads, but one which Cycling UK believes is rarely down to malicious driver behaviour, just a lack of understanding of the dangers of overtaking too closely.
“We’re absolutely behind Hampshire Constabulary’s campaign, as it is education first but backed up with enforcement where necessary, and ultimately is making our roads safer for everyone.”