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Motorists passing too close to cyclists targeted in police road safety operation

PUBLISHED: 18:34 19 November 2018 | UPDATED: 19:47 19 November 2018

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

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

Archant

Motorists in Norwich have been learning about the dangers of passing cyclists too closely on the road.

A Norfolk police operation aimed at educating drivers about the rules around passing cyclists has been taking place in the city and saw plain-clothes police officers get on their bikes to catch motorists conducting dangerous passes.

Operation Close Pass saw the officers cycling on roads in the vicinity of County Hall.

A marked police motorcycle stopped any drivers who passed too close to the officers on their bikes and offered them the chance to return to the Operation Close Pass base, where they were educated on the rules and regulations in the Highway Code in relation to safely passing cyclists and motorcyclists.

Drivers were shown the Close Pass map, showing them how much space they should give to a cyclist while passing them on the road – a minimum of 1.5 metres.

Operation Close Pass, focusing on safety of cyclists, is launched in NorwichOperation Close Pass, focusing on safety of cyclists, is launched in Norwich

The operation was organised as part of road safety charity Brake’s Road Safety Week, for which the theme this year is vulnerable road users, including cyclists and motorcyclists.

Sergeant Chris Harris, of the Norfolk and Suffolk Roads and Armed Policing Team, said the operation was aimed at drivers passing cyclists too close and “intimidating them on the roads”.

“The whole thrust of this is about education, but it is also about cyclists as well,” he said.

“We have identified them as a vulnerable road user so if we do see cyclists riding on the roads in a dangerous manner we will be speaking with them as well, because it is not just about motorists, it is about cyclists doing as much as they can to make sure they are also safe.”

Further similar activities will be run by Norfolk police as part of Operation Close Pass throughout the year, but Sgt Harris said motorists would not be given “full warning” of when and where the operations will take place.

“Bear in mind that the cyclists you’ll be passing could be a police officer so make sure you give them enough space so everyone is safe on the roads,” he said.

The Brake Road Safety Week, taking place this year from November 19 to 25, is the UK’s biggest road safety event which encourages thousands of schools, organisations and communities to take part in activities to promote road safety.

This year’s theme, Bike Smart, focuses on making the roads safer for cyclists and motorcyclists.

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