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Dozens of groups urge South Yorkshire Police to adopt close pass initiative

Force attended workshop hosted by West Midlands Police in January, but is yet to implement operation

Dozens of organisations including cycling clubs and campaign groups have joined forces to urge South Yorkshire Police to implement a close pass operation similar to that introduced to widespread acclaim by West Midlands Police last year.

The initiative seeks to educate motorists about how to pass cyclists safely, and involves both plain clothes police officers on bikes and their uniformed colleagues, and has been adopted by a number of police forces nationwide – including, earlier this month, West Yorkshire Police.

> West Yorkshire Police latest to adopt close pass initiative

Besides pulling over drivers who fail to give cyclists enough room to show them the safe passing distance with the help of a specially designed mat, officers can also take further action, including prosecution, against repeat offenders or who have put other road users at unacceptable risk.

South Yorkshire Police was among the forces represented at a workshop hosted by West Midlands Police in January, but is yet to confirm whether it will introduce the initiative on the county’s roads.

Now, organisations including Cycle Sheffield, Cycling UK, British Cycling and RoadPeace, clubs including Rotherham Wheelers and Yorkshire Rose Cycle Club and many other organisations have urged South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings to ensure it is brought in.

Last December, South Yorkshire Police said that it had decided not to follow the lead of officers in the West Midlands because not enough cyclists were being killed on the roads of the areas it polices to warrant it.

But subsequent analysis of official road casualty statistics by showed that compared to the West Midlands, and adjusting for the relative size of the populations, more cyclists are killed or seriously injured in South Yorkshire each year.

> Was South Yorkshire Police right not to follow West Midlands Police’s ‘close pass’ initiative? We look at the numbers

Cycle Sheffield’s Dexter Johnstone said: "South Yorkshire has a worse per capita KSI rate for cyclists than the West Midlands and the adoption of such a scheme would help improve both the safety and perception of safety of cycling in our region."

"We appreciate that police resources are under intense pressure due to central government’s ongoing austerity programme, however, WMP have stated that their close pass initiative is ‘cost neutral’. 

“Cycling UK are crowdfunding the mats used to educate drivers over safe passing distances which they are making available to every police force."

He added: "We believe that people who drive poorly/dangerously around cyclists are likely to do the same around other road users and therefore this initiative will benefit all road users, not just cyclists."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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Tedbaker132 | 6 years ago

and thats why Zwift indoor riding and racing is the best thing ever for Cyclists...

reliablemeatloaf replied to Tedbaker132 | 6 years ago
Tedbaker132 wrote:

and thats why Zwift indoor riding and racing is the best thing ever for Cyclists...


You're ready to give up the streets, to let the bastards get us down, to force us indoors as if we are doing something forbidden that needs to be hidden away?

Let's not do that.

RobD | 6 years ago

Is it not also likely that the people they pull over as a part of the initiative are likely to modify some of their other driving behaviour as a result of this, even if only slightly, which might actually help some of their other statistics. And the chances are, some of those who are likely to drive badly are also more likely to be uninsured or not have an MOT etc, it just seems foolish not to adopt something like this which only really has positives.

Morgoth985 | 6 years ago
1 like

You do wonder whether plod even considered checking the figures before rushing out with the conclusion that it wasn't a problem so no need to do anything.

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