27th Oct, 2021

Road in Coventry among those deemed 'dangerous' for cyclists as police continue their Close Pass operations

A ROAD in Coventry was among those highlighted by West Midlands Police as being one which was dangerous to cyclists.

The force is continuing its campaign to protect riders after stopping almost 200 motorists who were potentially risking the safety of other road users.

Officers carried out regular Operation Close Pass action in recent weeks to reinforce the dangers of driving too close to riders and causing a collision.

A total of 185 motorists were pulled over between July 29 and August 11 in a series of days of action where routes of concern were highlighted in partnership with West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) and Transport for West Midlands (TfWM).

Almost 30 people were reported for driving offences, ranging from driving without due care and attention to driving without insurance.

Others were educated around the dangers of not keeping at a safe distance – a minimum of 1.5 metres – when travelling past cyclists, by Road Casualty Reduction Officers from WMFS.

The operations took place at locations that were highlighted by TfWM including Foleshill Road, Coventry and others in Birmingham, Sandwell and Wolverhampton.

West Midlands Police was the pioneers of Close Pass in 2016 and since then road casualties amongst cyclists have dropped dramatically. They fell from 124 in 2017 to 88 in 2020, while cycle journeys actually increased particularly during the lockdown.

Sgt Jon Butler, from the Road Harm Prevention team, said: “We want all of our road users to be safe and feel safe when travelling across our region.

“Operation Close Pass enables us to speak to road users individually and educate them on the dangers of overtaking too close. This includes an interactive input from our fire service colleagues.

“While in the most serious cases, we won’t hesitate to prosecute those who recklessly put lives at risk.

“It is important everyone feels a sense of responsibility in keeping each other safe and preventing collisions. I would encourage all road users who see anyone falling below acceptable driving standards to report this, with camera footage, via our online portal.”

Deborah Fox, Head of Demand Management at TfWM said: “Across the West Midlands, we have an ambition to increase cycling journeys to five per cent of all journeys by 2023.

“To do this, we are working hard to create safe spaces for people to cycle, increase their confidence and access to bikes and help them feel safer on the roads.

“Having more people out of cars and cycling their journeys benefits us all, by reducing congestion and cleaning up our air, so we’re really proud of our partnership with West Midlands Fire Service and West Midlands Police and the work being done to educate all road users in protecting and respecting each other.”

Watch Commander Adrian Spencer, of WMFS’s Road Casualty Reduction Team, added: “In helping to deliver the West Midland’s Regional Road Safety Strategy, we’re working to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured on our roads.

“By joining forces with our police colleagues on behalf of TfWM Active Travel Fund, we’ve been spreading the ‘share space’ message among drivers and other road users to help everyone enjoy safer journeys.

“The majority of drivers we’ve spoken to have welcomed our approach, which involves showing them videos, scenario-based demonstrations and simply talking through the issues.

“It’s a great example of how our partnership work is making the West Midlands safer, stronger and healthier.”

We can take online reports of close pass drivers. You can visit our online report portal here: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/close-pass-cycling

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