A metre and half is the safe way to pass

Overtaking too closely endangers the lives of cyclists and horse riders – that’s the key message behind a major new campaign this October, backed by Somerset County Council’s Road Safety Team, Avon and Somerset Police, and Taunton Area Cycle Campaign.

Operation Close Pass involves taking action against motorists who endanger cyclists and horse riders by passing them too closely. Motorists should ensure there is a 1.5 metre distance when they are overtaking cyclists – it’s the law.

Avon and Somerset Police are using the campaign to highlight the importance of road users reporting incidents online of near misses and where camera footage of a road-related offence is available.

The force is highlighting the story of Duncan, who was cycling home from work when he was knocked down by a car. The driver was overtaking Duncan but there wasn’t enough space to get around him. To avoid a collision the driver pulled in sharply and knocked Duncan over, causing him serious injuries. You can read more here.

During the campaign 20 temporary ‘close pass’ signs will be going up at key sites in and around Taunton from 19 October. The signs were proposed by TACC which has also printed hi-visibility vests carrying the safe passing message. The signs and vests were funded by Avon and Somerset Police Road Safety Fund.
Part of the initiative will also involve sharing advice with vulnerable road users to help them ride safely, legally and responsibly.

“Operation Close Pass is about ensuring the safety of vulnerable road users,” said Cllr John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport.
“Motorists must give cyclists, motorcyclists and horse riders as much room as they would if they were passing a car – as we’ve seen, the results can be tragic if they don’t.”

Mike Ginger of Taunton Area Cycling Campaign said: “We have distributed safe pass vests to dozens of cyclists who have reported on their positive effects. We are pleased to be working with the County Council and police to re-force this safety message with signing on key routes.”

If you experience a near miss or have captured an incident on camera please report this online at: http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/roads

Extra information
• Somerset County Council has assessed locations and will be installing the signs and police officers will be riding the routes for compliance.
• Surveys carried out by TACC and reports on the Police’ Near Miss’ reporting website highlight how dangerous and intimating close overtaking is for cyclists.
• The Campaign anticipates one of the proposed changes to the Highway Code, which is currently out for consultation, by the Department for Transport.
• The highway Code consultation is here. Closing date for comment is 27 October.

Submitted by Communications