Officers from the Roads Policing Unit and the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership worked together to provide a day of education and enforcement.
The activity was held in Shoreham on Wednesday 14 April as part of the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s ‘two-wheeled’ campaign.
Superintendent James Collis, head of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Operation Close Pass aims to promote the safety of cyclists, but also to address certain behaviour where cyclists may put themselves at risk. They are among the most vulnerable road users, and that’s why we urge all drivers to keep at least 1.5m distance when overtaking a cyclist.
“Our roads are shared by a number of different users and vehicles, and it’s imperative that everyone, whether car, bicycle or pedestrian, plays their part to reduce the number of collisions.”
The Highway Code sets out in Rule 163 the recommended clearance to give cyclists when overtaking.
During the operation, a police cyclist posed as a ‘spotter’ in order to detect any offences. This resulted in two drivers being stopped and spoken to for passing too close – they each chose to receive education.
Police also detected a number of other offences during the day, including:
- Three drivers not wearing seatbelts;
- Three drivers using their mobile phones;
- One seatbelt offence which resulted in an arrested for drug-driving while over the limit for cannabis;
- One cyclist stopped for going through a red light;
- One motorcyclist 125cc not displaying L plates;
- One motorcyclist 125cc carrying out a careless overtake;
- One Insecure load which resulted in a no tax seizure.
A number of Traffic Offence Reports were issued in respect of the above cases.
In 2020, a total of 550 collisions resulted in injuries to cyclists in Sussex, five of which were tragically fatal.
Sergeant Richard Hornsey, of the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, said: “We run dedicated operations on cycle safety in keeping with the NPCC’s calendar of events, however it is important to note that this forms part of our routine roads policing activity, 365 days a year.
“The operation was very well received by the public, and we had a number of cyclists stop and engage with us, including a family of four who had cycled from Surrey to Brighton on the Downs Link. They left very pleased with what was on offer, such as high visibility backpack covers and high visibility ankle straps.
“It is particularly relevant now, as the weather begins to improve, that all road users think about their behaviour and how it could affect themselves and others. This includes the ‘fatal five’ offences – speeding, drink and drug-driving, mobile phone use, not wearing a seatbelt and careless driving. These are the most common causes of serious injury and fatal collisions on our roads.”