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Undercover bike police to target close-pass drivers across the country

Joseph Delves
31 Jan 2017

Move could signal increasing willingness to prosecute dangerous drivers

A scheme which saw undercover police decked out in lycra to catch close-pass drivers is due to be rolled out across the UK.

As part of the ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ initiative, undercover officers have been patrolling the streets by bicycle looking to identify drivers who pass without leaving adequate space, along with those committing other offences like texting while driving.

In most instances motorists caught passing too close are pulled over and offered the choice between facing prosecution, or attending a 15-minute lesson about safe overtaking held at the roadside.

PC Mark Hodson, a West Midlands Police traffic officer and cyclist involved with the scheme said: ‘As a police force we must do our utmost to protect vulnerable road users and show that anyone who puts them in danger through poor driving will be dealt with.

'We know that close passing is the single biggest deterrent stopping more people from taking to their bikes.’ 

The original scheme undertaken by West Midlands Police was widely judged a huge success with a total of 130 motorists pulled over and eight prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

One driver also had their licence revoked after they failed a road-side eye test.

Its favourable results have now seen the scheme expand, with Hampshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police and Avon & Somerset Police all planning to implement matching initiatives.

Meanwhile police in London have also been experimenting with similar tactics.

The scheme comes at a time when The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group has just launched an inquiry, Cycling and the Justice System.

It will seek to examine ‘whether the current judicial system is serving all cyclists’ along with whether the police should give greater priority to traffic law enforcement and road crime as a matter of course. 

Featured image: West Midlands Police 

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