Undercover police officers deployed to help drivers give cyclists more room

PUBLISHED: 16:57 05 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:57 05 March 2018

Police Commissioner Jason Ablewhite supporting a new safety operation to reduce cycle casualties on Cambridgeshires roads with Inspector Chris Huggins.  Inspector Ian Manleyis on the bike and PC Keith Emerson on the motor bike. Picture: Keith Heppell

Police Commissioner Jason Ablewhite supporting a new safety operation to reduce cycle casualties on Cambridgeshires roads with Inspector Chris Huggins. Inspector Ian Manleyis on the bike and PC Keith Emerson on the motor bike. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

New safety campaign aimed at educating motorists

Undercover police officers will be cycling across Cambridge in a bid to identify motorists who do not provide riders with adequate road space when overtaking.

The move is part of a new safety campaign which was launched in Cambridge last Thursday (February 22), by Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite.

Codenamed ‘Operation Velo’, it is aimed at reducing the number of collisions involving cyclists on the county’s roads. The initiative focuses on the education of 
drivers and the promotion of behavioural change.

Plain-clothed officers will be identifying drivers of vehicles who do not adopt a ‘safe pass’ approach.

The officer will then escort the vehicle to a checkpoint where education will be given about the optimum distance to allow when passing a cycle – 1.5 metres (5ft) – with consideration given to the appropriateness of the road environment and vehicle speed. In some cases drivers could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving and face a £100 fine and three points on their licence.

Mr Ablewhite told the Cambridge Independent: “Too many lives have been affected by inconsiderate and dangerous road use.

“Over the past year, I have listened to the concerns of road users and introduced a number of measures to make sure everyone, whether drivers, cyclists or pedestrians can be kept as safe as possible. This includes the introduction of county-wide police casualty reduction officer and the rolling out of Drive-iQ – an online driving experience to help young people learn how to drive safely.”

Checks on those motorists stopped will also include insurance, vehicle defects and illegal parts.

In 2016 there were 489 collisions across the county involving cyclists that resulted in injury, ranging from slight to serious. Over the past four years (2012-2016) nine cyclists have died on the roads.

Inspector Chris Huggins, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire road policing unit, said: “We aim to educate drivers as to safe passing around cyclists and deal with driving offenders who jeopardise rider safety.

“We will also be taking action with cyclists who take risks, by disobeying traffic signs and signs and riding without lights.”

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