Operation Safe Pass returns to Colchester

Drivers in Colchester have been educated on the safe distance to leave when passing a cyclist – as part of Operation Safe Pass.

The Safer Essex Roads Partnership (SERP) was asked by the local community policing team to support the operation – after requests from a local cycling campaign group had highlighted concerns.

The campaign group provided a list of roads where cyclists had encountered regular close and unsafe passes and London Road was identified as an ideal location by providing an area for highly visual engagement.

As part of the operation on 12 March, SERP road safety officers utilised a mat – provided by Cycling UK –  to help drivers visualise the 1.5m distance they should be passing cyclists on the road.

A virtual reality headset was also used to give drivers a 360 degree experience of an unsafe pass from a cyclist’s point of view. 

On the day a PCSO in plain clothes, riding an unmarked bike, rode the length of London road for over two hours and encountered no passes that he felt were unsafe. 

Liam Collins, SERP road safety technician, said: “This was a successful operation from our perspective as no poor driving was witnessed. All drivers were seen to give the cyclist enough space and passed at a reasonable speed. 

“However, we know that this isn’t always the case as we received 207 unsafe pass submissions via our Extra Eyes initiative since August 2019 and 157 of these resulted in a prosecution. 

“Each year there are many unnecessary deaths and serious injuries on the roads. One of the most vulnerable road user groups are cyclists, and with operations such as these, we aim to educate drivers as to safe passing around cyclists and deal with driving offenders who jeopardise rider safety.

“In 2018, over 100 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on the roads of Essex. 47%  of these were found to not be at fault. 

“Every road user deserves to feel safe on Essex roads and we continue to encourage all poor driving behaviour to be reported to us via Extra Eyes.”

The details of future operations are currently being discussed.


19 March 2020

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