West Midlands Police raising awareness on what a safe distance really looks like
How was your ride in today? For most of us, the commute on the bike can be the most liberating and refreshing start to the day, but every now and again, there is a dangerous brush by a minority of drivers that just didn’t need to happen. In fact, many people say this is one of the main reasons they don’t consider riding a bike. What can we do?
Well, in response to the rise of such ‘close passes’, the BBC News recently shared the #ClosePass initiative led by West Midlands Police. The high way code cites rule 163: ‘Give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.’
Apparently we’re talking about 1.5 metres. It doesn’t sound much, but it makes a world of difference, and thankfully, West Midlands Police are enforcing the rule. More often than not, it can be just a misjudging distances, and drivers are given a warning, but for repeat offenders are being sanctioned for aggressive and deliberate dangerous driving.
A Cyclists Dream
It all works with plain clothes officers joining us on two-wheels and radio-ing in ahead to officers in cars. The offending driver is then pulled over and questioned. Thereafter, they can be prosecuted, or deemed to need a 20 minute lesson in driving distances, aka – ‘educational inputs.’
According to GCN, West Midlands Police has already tweeted the added value of this operation. At Lawley Middleway there were:
- 16 offenders
- 2 prosecuted
- 14 immediate educational inputs
- 2 walking home – no tax/insurance
Now, how assuring is that?
The Low Down
Many cyclists are drivers as well, but not vice-versa, as it is in places like Berlin or Copenhagen. And as such, there’s often a gap in understanding and awareness of what a safe distance looks and feels like.
A the same time, the last thing we want is an entire community of drivers being put under the microscope, nor valuable police resources to be placed on it. And whilst we can all do our bit in educating our circles of influence, we also need the help of the law on the street to safely share the road.
In the meantime, our admiration and applause go out to West Midlands Police.
*Have you had a close pass recently, or do you have an idea of how to raise safe distance passing? Feel free to share your comments below.