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  1. ITV Report

Number of cyclists killed or badly hurt falls by 20% after police initiative

The force launched an operation a year ago protecting them from ‘close pass’ drivers. Credit: West Midlands Police

West Midlands Police says the number of cyclists killed or seriously hurt on the region’s roads has dropped by a fifth since it launched an operation a year ago protecting them from ‘close pass’ drivers.

Plain clothes officers have been cycling on busy roads in the West Midlands looking for motorists who pass too close for comfort.

Almost 200 offenders have been pulled over for driving too close. Most get on the spot education on safe overtaking and are then allowed to go, but 13 drivers were prosecuted. Around 350 others were fined and given licence points after officers reviewed helmet and dash-cam footage provided by members of the public.

92
cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands since last August

From August 2016 to July this year, 92 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands. That is down from 115 in the previous 12 months.

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. They are, on the whole, being more considerate and understand we will prosecute them if they endanger cyclists.

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.

We’ve seen reports of close-passes halve in the West Midlands since we started the project and it’s great that so many other regions are looking to adopt the approach.

– PC Mark Hodson, West Midlands Police

Olympic champion Chris Boardman, who backed the campaign has tweeted his thanks to West Midlands Police.

UK Cycling described #OpClosePass as the “best cyclist road safety initiative ever".

Cycling UK knew West Midlands Police were on to a winner when they rolled out their “Give Space, be Safe" campaign…that’s why we backed it from the start. It’s a cost effective initiative that has proved highly effective at changing dangerous driving behaviour.

– Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s Senior Road Safety officer