Police in the north of England have joined a group ride to catch close-pass drivers, uploading their effort to Strava to raise awareness of the operation.
Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Police team uploaded a 20-mile ride from the Fox Valley Festival of Cycling on Saturday (September 11), in which they carried out a close-pass operation aimed at catching unsafe drivers.
One police cyclist joined in with a group of riders to record the offences, while a motorcyclist stayed ahead of the group further up the road to intercept any close-passers. Offending drivers were then handed on to officers at predetermined stop sites for document and vehicle checks.
A motorbike rider stayed ahead of the group to intercept any drivers, while the officer riding in the group used cameras to record offences.
In total, ten drivers were stopped for offences in four hours, including close-passers and careless drivers. Two of the offences also related to motorists shouting comments out of their windows when driving past. Two more vehicles weren't stopped, but will be issued with Notices of Prosecution and requirements to provide their driver details.
The Strava post also makes it clear why the police are focusing on improving safety among drivers when passing cyclists:
"We are now able to improve road safety for a diverse group of people. Commuters on their way to work, people out with a mate for a leisure ride or to get fit, and also cycling clubs or enthusiasts.
"All have the right to use the road safely and we now have trialled an operation to protect them by educating all road users on how to share the roads safely and with consideration to others."
This is the first time that the Sheffield North West Neighbourhood Police team have attempted a close-pass operation with a large group, and they're happy with the outcome.
Cycling volunteers joined the group ride, which started and ended in Stocksbridge, to aid the police's operation, which ultimately helped catch dangerous drivers who didn't leave enough space when overtaking the group.
While the Highway Code doesn't specify a minimum distance, it is generally accepted that anything closer than 1.5 metres is considered a close-pass, and therefore could see the motorist facing prosecution. The police officers stopped the ten cars during the operation because a close-pass is deemed careless driving.
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