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Operation Close Pass sees a reduction in cyclist casualties

Posted on in Cycles News

The Close Pass operation has been hailed as a success after a 20 per cent reduction in incidents in the first year, reports West Midlands Police.

A year since launching Operation Close Pass, West Midlands Police have announced a 20 per cent reduction in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.

Specialist cycle insurance from CycleguardIn 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 further fined through third party reporting.

In the 12 months from August 2016, 92 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in the West Midlands, down from 115 in the preceding year. PC Mark Hudson of the West Midland's traffic unit spoke of the link between the close pass patrols and reduction in incidents.

"It has been a tremendous success. When we launched we said that if our Killed and Seriously Injured [KSI] numbers dropped a little bit, or if other forces looked at us and said maybe they should do that, we would call it a success.

"Twelve months ago the protection of vulnerable road users didn't make the agenda at all, now it's the top of the agenda, it's a bigger thing and that's what we are most pleased about."

"Between us we have 25 years traffic experience and we're both massively interested in driver behaviour, and once we had done it a couple of times we knew it could really make difference.

"It's about changing driver behaviour, it is not about prosecutions, it's not about new laws, it's about changing people's attitudes."

Last week 28 other police forces from throughout the UK attended a seminar to discuss the operation and it is hoped the scheme will spread nationwide, with the College of Policing devising best practice.

"I believe there are 22 forces out there doing it to some extent," Hudson continued. "With a lot of them it is driven by individual officers, but for me when the College of Policing says it is good that is when all Chief Constables and PCCs [Police and Crime Commissioners] will say they have to do it too.

"Even if everybody had a third party reporting scheme as effective as ours I seriously think you could replicate our KSI reduction across the country," Hudson concluded.

Echoing the words of PC Hudson, Cycling UK chief executive Paul Tuohy said '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.

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

'If [other police forces] want to see similar casualty reductions, and safer roads, we would urge them to follow West Midlands' lead.'


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