Police target your close-passing hot spots
In a London-wide enforcement campaign the Metropolitan Police are targeting locations where dangerous close passing has been experienced by London bike riders and marked on LCC’s Stay Wider of the Rider map.
Following an initial close passing enforcement programme based on police reports, the Met is now looking at locations where cyclists have reported close passes. You can add more locations here – don’t hesitate to mark roads where others have already put in pins – it helps the police to prioritise locations.
We accompanied officers on a close pass operation in South London. A plain clothes officer rides along a route that is heavily used by both people on bike and others in cars. When the officer judges that a motor vehicle passes too closely for comfort there is radio contact with uniformed officers further down the road and a police motorbike rider ensures the vehicle and driver are pulled over.
In the space of 90 minutes, along one short stretch of road, police had to stop 5 vehicles for passing their plain clothes officer in a dangerous manner. Offenders who had not committed additional offences were given a presentation on the dangers of close passing, and sent on their way. But in several cases there were other offences such as use of a mobile phone while driving and failure to show evidence of holding a driving licence – which incur charges and penalties.
The police also bring a speed camera to close passing operations - at a similar operation in Croydon they noted vehicle speeds of 58 mph in a 30 mph zone.
In the course of recent months the Met police have run more than 15 close passing operations in London and pulled over a significant number of drivers.
LCC would like to see all drivers understand the need to allow a safe distance (1.5 meters or more) when passing people on bikes. Close passing is both dangerous and intimidating but many drivers are simply unaware of what a safe distance should be, which is why we are calling on the government to make that clear to all road users.
Waiting until it is safe to pass a bike rider shows common courtesy as well as reducing the danger of a collision. Until the day when safe passing is as natural for UK drivers as stopping at a zebra crossing, we need both police enforcement and public messaging.
Which is why we are asking that alongside dropping a pin on our close pass map, that you also sign the petition to Minister Jesse Norman. We are asking him to reinforce the good work of the Met police and other police forces in the UK by providing better guidance on safe passing distances to drivers and to run a public education campaign to spread the word.
Add your name to our petition here.