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Undercover police pose as cyclists to catch danger drivers

PUBLISHED: 16:20 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 04 February 2020

A mat to demonstrate a safe passing distance as Operation Close Pass, focusing on safety of cyclists, is launched in Norwich       Photo: Ella Wilkinson

A mat to demonstrate a safe passing distance as Operation Close Pass, focusing on safety of cyclists, is launched in Norwich Photo: Ella Wilkinson

Archant

Undercover police got on their bikes and snared a host of people - including four professional drivers - for driving too close to cyclists.

Police ran a cycling safety operation in Norwich city centre to demonstrate the dangers faced by cyclists on the city's roads.

Undercover officers on bikes were equipped with cameras, to capture evidence of drivers committing offences.

Uniformed police on motorbikes then tracked the cars down and escorted the drivers to an educational workshop on road safety.

Nineteen offences were observed in total, with 14 people opting to take part in the workshop - including two taxi drivers, a lorry driver and an off-duty bus driver.

Separate prosecutions are under consideration for four people who could not be stopped at the time.

Sergeant Mark Barney, of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said: "Cyclists can often feel vulnerable on the roads, with vehicles driving too closely to them or cutting them up.

"What was disappointing about the 19 offences we detected in Norwich was that four of them were committed by professional drivers.

"These are people that drive for a living and who therefore we would expect much better from."

According to Jeff Jordan, of the Norwich Cycling Campaign, drivers often did not realise how dangerous their actions were.

He said: "Drivers find it very hard to judge how much room cyclists need. If they come unwittingly too close as they pass this can be very dangerous, as it does not give the cyclist room to manoeuvre.

"You never know when something like a pothole or even a gust of strong wind will throw you off. Generally, one to one-and-a-half metres is suitable."

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