Wide berth for cyclists

Published Friday, 11 October 2019

A police operation to keep cyclists safe on Bromley roads has taken place.

Operation Close Pass supported by the council’s road safety team saw officers at Hayes Lane target careless motorists who were found to be driving dangerously close to cyclists.

The Met Police Cycle Safety Team is a dedicated unit which aims to improve the safety of cyclists. Operation Close Pass uses plain clothes police officers deployed on bicycles and equipped with body cameras.

Councillor William Huntington-Thresher, Executive Councillor for Environment and Community Services said, “We want to remove the barriers to our residents to choosing active modes of transport such as cycling and walking for more of their journeys around the borough. The close passing of cyclists puts them in danger and can be very intimidating, discouraging cycling. By educating all road users to give as much room as they would to a car when overtaking, we believe cyclists across the borough will feel safer when riding. We hope that this driver education will also improve the experience of pedestrians using our “country” lanes where pavements may not be present or may be narrow.”

Sergeant Steve Wilson from the Met Cycle Safety Team said “Close pass operations continue to form an integral part to the Vision Zero strategy - a plan devised in partnership with Transport for London and the Mayor’s Office aimed at reducing deaths on the capital’s roads by 2041.”

“This operation, which the Met’s Cycle Safety Team and the Stay Wider Campaign have been working on, is proving invaluable in ensuring we continue to plan our operations in the most appropriate locations. The work here with the Bromley Road Safety Team highlights that considerate road use is a vital step in road safety.’

This week’s operation was the fifth such operation in the borough in the last twelve months.  Offending motorists are shown an educational presentation about the dangers of close passing a cyclist. Whilst the primary objective of the operation is to educate motorists, the worst cases of close passing can result in prosecution.

This latest operation resulted in seven motorists stopped for close passing who all received roadside education. The actions of two motorists were deemed dangerous enough for prosecutions for careless driving to be issued. A further vehicle was stopped for failing to have a current MOT.

Operation Close Pass was first introduced by West Midlands Police in 2016 and in its’ first year of operation was responsible for a 20% reduction in cyclists killed or seriously injured on the roads.

If a cyclist experiences a close pass and have also been able to record details of the vehicle or have video footage, they can report the incident at https://www.met.police.uk/dashcam and also flag the incident on www.staywider.org/#map where the data is then used by the cycle safety team to help focus their operations on roads across London.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  • Operation Close Pass was held on September 26.