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Northants Police Launch Operation Close Pass

Author: Northants Police Published: 21st September 2018 08:30

Northamptonshire Police is launching a road safety initiative to promote mutual respect and safer behaviour by all road users.Northamptonshire Police is launching a road safety initiative to promote mutual respect and safer behaviour by all road users.

Northamptonshire Police is launching a road safety initiative to promote mutual respect and safer behaviour by all road users.

Promoting the message that roads are shared space for all who use them, Operation Close Pass will target drivers who endanger cyclists and horse riders by passing them too closely, and will also be advising vulnerable road users about how riding proactively can enhance their safety.

Education and enforcement activity will see police officers on bicycles carry out patrols looking for motorists who fail to pass cyclists at a safe distance – a minimum of 1.5 metres at 30mph. 

Drivers who ‘close pass’ the officer will be stopped and offered roadside education, but anyone deemed to have driven too close to a cyclist can be given penalty points and a fine, or even prosecuted and taken to court. Cyclists failing to ride safely and legally will also be given advice, and if appropriate, penalty notices.

PC Maureen Allsopp-Clarke, of the Safer Roads Team, said: “Operation Close Pass is about educating everyone that roads are shared spaces, where all users have a right to respect and a responsibility to help keep themselves and others safe.

“By reminding people how to safely pass cyclists and horse riders, and helping vulnerable road users understand how to protect themselves through measures such as safe road positioning, we hope to make Northamptonshire’s roads safer for everyone.”

The Highway Code states motorists should give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car.

Making the roads safer for all

Operation Close Pass is part of a range of road safety work being undertaken by the force and partners Northamptonshire Highways and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

Neil Holland, cycling access officer at Northamptonshire Highways, said: “Cycling has proven health benefits, and also benefits the wider community by reducing traffic and improving air quality. It’s also generally a very safe activity that is a lot of fun.

“Many people state road safety concerns as the main reason they don’t cycle, so Operation Close Pass is a very positive step in addressing these concerns and encouraging more people to cycle.”

Stephen Mold, Police and Crime Commissioner, added: “As a keen distance cyclist myself and a driver who puts in many miles travelling around Northamptonshire as part of my role, I fully appreciate that every road user has a part to play in safety.  

"As a cyclist, I feel vulnerable when drivers pass too close and this campaign will help other drivers better understand that.  We have a shared responsibility to do what we can to prevent people being killed or seriously injured on Northamptonshire’s roads - this campaign is a step on the way.”  

Other road safety work being carried out by the partnership includes educational work with cyclists, the distribution of free bike lights, and patrols to educate drivers about how to safely pass horses and riders, using members of the force’s Volunteers on Horseback (VoH).

Jean Mears, VoH project officer, said: “We’re really pleased to support Operation Close Pass, as road safety is a real concern for horse riders. Our patrols so far have shown many drivers don’t understand the risks of passing a horse too quickly or too closely – they can be easily startled and a collision with a vehicle could be fatal for all involved.

“Most riders aren’t on the roads by choice, but have every right to use them. If you come across a horse and rider when driving, please always leave at least the width of a car when passing, and do so at 15mph or less.”

Find out more about Operation Close Pass at www.northants.police.uk/ClosePass  and read more about cycling in Northamptonshire at www.cyclenorthants.co.uk 

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