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Close Pass checks return to Greater Manchester

Deniz Huseyin
24 May 2023
Dame Sarah Storey with GMP Superintendent Gareth Parkin and cycling officers at the re-launch of the Close Pass operation
Dame Sarah Storey with GMP Superintendent Gareth Parkin and cycling officers at the re-launch of the Close Pass operation

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has relaunched its Operation Close Pass initiative to crack down motorists not giving enough space when overtaking cyclists.

Between 1 March 2022 and 28 February 2023 there were 448 cycling-related road collisions involving injury throughout Greater Manchester, the police force reports.

Close Pass was originally launched by West Midlands Police in 2016 and was designed to proactively identify and educate drivers who pass too closely to cyclists.

GMP first ran the operation in 2017 after a number of trials across the city region, with the aim to reduce collisions between vehicles and cyclists.

Plain clothes officers from the Traffic Unit will cycle on roads in a bid to identify those drivers who fail to overtake them within the Highway Code’s recommended safe passing distance of 1.5 metres.

Once identified, a nearby police patrol will be called-in to intercept the driver and offer them on the spot education on how to safely overtake cyclists. Drivers who refuse the education will be charged with driving without due care and attention, which could result in the driver receiving a fine and points on their licence.

The cycling officers will use body worn cameras, along with cameras fixed to their pedal bikes, to capture any offences witnessed, including motorists using a mobile, failing to wear a seatbelt and any other offences committed whilst driving.

GMP Superintendent Gareth Parkin said: “It is really important that we keep getting the message out there to road users of how dangerous it can be and how vulnerable people on pedal cycles can feel when they are out on the roads.”

Active Travel Commissioner for Greater Manchester Dame Sarah Storey said: “Reducing road danger is a key part of the work I am doing to ensure more people have the opportunity to choose to travel on foot or by bike.

“Currently, in excess of two- thirds of people cite the danger posed by drivers as a reason for not being able to make their own short journeys on foot or by bike and close passes are one of the most frightening things you can experience whilst riding.” 

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