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Cyclists killed or seriously hurt down by one-fifth thanks to West Midlands 'close pass' operation

Joe Robinson
25 Sep 2017

A year since its launch, West Midlands see incidents drop by one-fifth thanks to #OpClosePass

A year since its launch, West Midlands Police has announced that the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt has dropped by a fifth thanks to #OpClosePass.

In this time, the police force has pulled over almost 200 offenders, with most being given on-the-spot educational input with 13 drivers prosecuted and around 350 fined. 

This innovative operation sees police officers in plain clothes riding busy roads, looking for motorists who pass too closely. 

Thanks to this work, West Midlands Police can confirm that the overall number of serious incidents involving cyclists has dropped by 20 per cent. 

Talking to West Midlands Police Online, PC Mark Hudson of the county's traffic unit spoke of the link between the close pass patrols and reduction in incidents. 

'I am in no doubt the operation has played a big part in that reduction: we regularly speak to cycling groups and their members are telling us that the message is getting through to drivers.

'To see a fall of 20 per cent in the number of serious collisions involving cyclists is incredible especially against a backdrop of increasing numbers of people cycling on our roads,' he said.

Echoing the words of PC Hudson, Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy told Cyclist how these figures are proof that this cycling safety initiative is working. 

'When West Midlands Police launched their close pass operation last year, Cycling UK described it as quite simply the best cycling safety initiative by any police force ever,' Tuohy said.

'A 20% reduction in cycling casualties in one year proves they, and we, we're right,' he added.

Tuohy then went on to suggest that other police forces around the UK could learn from West Midlands' success by utilising Cycling UK's Too Close for Comfort campaign. 

'Through Cycling UK's Too Close for Comfort campaign we've managed to provide close pass mats to police forces across the country.

'If they want to see similar casualty reductions, and safer roads, we would urge them to follow West Midlands' lead.'

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