Birmingham officers ‘halved close passes overnight’ says Cycling UK

Cycling UK gave special recognition for the work of West Midlands Police and their Operation Close Pass over the weekend, at its annual Big Bike Celebration in Birmingham.

Operation Close Pass, an education and enforcement campaign targeting drivers who overtake cyclists too closely, saw the police force pulling over almost 200 offenders over the course of a year. Most of those pulled over were given on-the-spot educational input on how to overtake safely with 13 drivers prosecuted and around 350 fined. The result of the operation has seen a 20 per cent reduction in casualties among vulnerable road users over the course of the year.

PC Mark Hodson and PC Steve Hudson from West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Reduction Team received their award from former cycling world champion Chris Boardman MBE, who was recently appointed as Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner. The day also celebrated achievements by Cycling UK volunteers from the last 12 months, as the cycling charity welcomed over 90 supporters and members.

Boardman said: “It’s great to see a room full of so many people directly on the ground enabling people to enjoy bikes. Inspirational.”

Cycling UK’s chief executive Paul Tuohy added: “It’s hard to think of two officers who have done more to help raise awareness on how to drive safely around people cycling, or who have done it with such passion. Steve and Mark identified the problem of close passing on their patch and came up with a simple and effective operation which reduced reported close passes by half overnight.”

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