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Police target drivers who do not give bikes enough room

Watch ITV News Central reporter Chris Halpin's full report

Drivers face being prosecuted in the West Midlands if they do not give cyclists enough room on the road.

West Midlands Police is the first force in the country to target drivers who do not leave a safe passing distance when overtaking bikes.

Rules of the road stipulate motorists should give cyclists at least the same space as vehicles when overtaking.

Anyone encroaching inside that safe passing distance, widely considered to be a minimum of 1.5 metres, runs the risk of being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

Police targets cycle 'close pass' drivers Credit: ITV News Central

The operation will see police peddlers radio the details of close-pass drivers for in-car colleagues to intercept at a designated holding point.

Drivers will be offered a road-side lesson on safe overtaking but repeat offenders could be prosecuted and taken to court.

West Midlands Police traffic officer and cyclist, PC Mark Hodson, said:

Between 2010 and 2014 there were 530 KSI crashes (killed or seriously injured) in the West Midlands involving bicycles; the vast majority of those saw riders colliding with cars.

West Midlands Police ran four test days last month ahead of the close-pass clampdown launch during which 80 drivers were pulled over.

Over the summer, West Midlands Police prosecuted 38 motorists for driving without due care and attention.

530
Number of people killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands involving bicycles
Police targets cycle 'close pass' drivers Credit: ITV News Central

David Cox, Chair of Trustees at cycling charity UK Cycling, said:

Close passes by motorists are hazardous for cyclists and extremely intimidating; this may be due to ignorance of the Highway Code and carelessness but sometimes it is done deliberately and aggressively.

We are delighted that West Midlands Police is to actively target close pass drivers.

They are the first UK police force to do so and it is a priority if the West Midlands is going to achieve the health, congestion and sustainability benefits of more active travel.

– David Cox

The operation has been funded by Birmingham City Council's Birmingham Cycle Revolution.

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