Greater Manchester Police officers are to go undercover in March as plain clothed cyclists in order to spot vehicles that overtake dangerously close.
On Monday 20th March the GMP Traffic Unit will launch the close pass initiative. Following on from the success of a similar strategy employed by West Midlands Police, officers from the Traffic Unit will cycle the roads of Greater Manchester in a bid to identify those drivers who overtake them within the Highway Code’s recommended safe passing distance of 1.5 meters.
Once identified, a nearby police patrol vehicle will be called-in to intercept the driver and offer them on the spot education on how to safely overtake cyclists. Drivers who refuse the education will be charged with driving without due care and attention, which could result in the driver receiving a fine and points off their licence.
The cycling officers will use body worn cameras, along with cameras fixed to their pedal bikes, to capture any offences witnessed, including motorists using a mobile, failing to wear a seatbelt and any other offences committed whilst driving.
A number of ‘close pass’ trials have already taken place in Bolton, Tameside and Manchester. The initiative will be rolled out gradually across all of Greater Manchester.
Inspector Paul Rowe from GMP’s Collision Investigation unit said “The close pass initiative aims to educate drivers on how to safely share the roads with cyclists.
“Our warning to reckless drivers is that the next cyclist you overtake could be a police officer.
“The close pass initiative, as part of Operation Considerate, highlights the need for all road users to be respectful of each other’s space.
“It is vital that motorists understand that cyclists are given the same rights and protection as any other road user.”
Councillor Mandie Shilton Godwin, lead member for active travel at Manchester City Council, said “I welcome this GMP initiative to help people understand how much space to leave when driving or motorcycling around people who are cycling.
“Close passes are uncomfortable – and sometimes frankly dangerous – so reminding motorists about this issue should help everyone feel more inclined to cycle.
“I hope that promoting respect and consideration between all road users leads to safer, stress-free journeys for all of us.”
Cycling now is as dangerous has it has ever been, more frightening are the amount of cars going through red on the A56 more so at Eastway in Sale, only yesterday we caught three cars going through not just on red but with the green crossing man showing!.
We do not agree that cycling is cheap as some people are saying, for a decent bike that will last you a while and perform well, you will be looking at anything from £1000 upwards, then the cost of the upkeep, tyres, wheels, spares even your kit costs money oh and your helmet which we warn cyclists always to wear even just going to the shops, be seen, be safe, keep switched on and do not expect a driver to co operate even if the law says so, just keep yourself safe.
A public event to announce the close pass initiative will be held at Broughton Park F.C. (Rugby Union) 2 Hough End Crescent, Manchester, from 8am to 11am on Monday 20th February.