02:38PM, Wednesday 11 April 2018
Undercover police cyclist operations designed to encourage motorists to leave more room when overtaking bicycles were discussed at the Royal Borough’s Cycle Forum.
A report sent to councillors looked at the ‘close pass initiative’ developed by West Midlands Police, where an officer cycles in plain clothes and videos drivers not giving sufficient room to overtake.
They then alert an officer in a car who pulls the driver over. The motorist is shown the video and given a choice of prosecution or taking part in a short educational session.
The scheme has been linked to a 20 per cent reduction in cyclist casualties there, and has since been adopted by other police forces.
The Cycle Forum has written to Thames Valley Police (TVP), which revealed it runs the close pass initiative with Hampshire Police, but mostly targets places with high rates of cyclist casualties – Oxford, Portsmouth and Southampton.
However, cyclist casualty data in the Royal Borough is being analysed by TVP which will determine if the scheme is justified here.
At Monday’s meeting (April 9), Cllr Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Windsor) voiced concerns about the Royal Borough’s narrow ‘horse and cart’ routes and said: “The whole concept is a very good one, but whether we can actually implement it on our roads, I have serious doubts.”
He added that it could increase tensions between motorists and cyclists.
“I just think the government should run a safety campaign,” Cllr Lynda Yong (Con, Sunninghill and South Ascot) said.
The report, which was endorsed by councillors, suggests the purchase of leaflets, multimedia content and a close pass mat demonstrating the room needed to pass cyclists safely, which could be used at public events.
Drivers should give 1.5 metres of space between their car and a cyclist.
The forum also heard evidence about how a public bike share scheme could be introduced in the borough, which will be considered by the Highways Transport and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel.
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