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Off-Duty Police Officers Plan to Monitor Passing Drivers While Cycling

By Monica Buck

The roads aren’t just for the drivers or riders to use. They are for everyone, and a respectful relationship among all road users is definitely something worth striving for. The police force in Avon and Somerset is aware of this and wants the officers to use cameras while out cycling in their leisure time. The footage could then be used as evidence for prosecuting dangerous drivers.

The head of the road safety department of the Avon and Somerset police, Kevin Rowlands, said he had no trouble getting volunteers for the task. It’s all part of the “close pass” initiative, targeting motorists who do not give cyclists enough room when passing. It was first introduced by the West Midlands Police in 2016 and the force called it a huge success. Since then, it’s been adopted by a number of other police departments all over the UK.

The original scheme was to put plainclothes police officers on bikes on the streets, who then radioed their colleagues about drivers who failed to give them enough space when overtaking. Now that a video is a sufficient evidence, the roads should become even safer.

“Drivers should give cyclists at least the same amount of space as vehicles when overtaking which is 1.5 metre, or approximately a door width. Anyone failing to leave enough space puts cyclists at risk and could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. I know cyclists behave badly too but that poor behaviour is less likely to result in death or serious injury than poor behaviour by the drivers of cars and other motor vehicles,” Rowland told Bristol Post.

What does your local police department do to protect cyclists on the roads?