Swindon and Wiltshire Road Safety Partnership participated in Operation Close Pass in Melksham this morning, Friday 20 September.

Wiltshire Police Officers and staff with representatives from Swindon and Wiltshire Councils and Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue worked to educate drivers about the dangers of passing cyclists too closely and/or too fast.

Traffic Management Officer, Barney Appleton, from the Roads Safety Unit said: "We were pleased with the results of the operation this morning in that we only had to pull over 12 motorists about the nature of their driving in relation to cyclists. An additional four drivers were stopped for vehicle defects."

"The majority of drivers seemed to have been taking heed of previous advice about leaving at least 1.5m gap when passing a cyclist at 30mph."

During the operation, a pedal cycle equipped front and rear-facing cameras was ridden by a, highly trained and experienced cyclist along the B3104 Semington Road, Melksham.
Anyone deemed to have passed too close to the cyclist was stopped by uniformed officers and given a short lesson on sharing the road space safely. Alongside education, officers also looked at both driver and vehicle legality, vehicle condition and the eyesight standard of those drivers stopped.

The four vehicles stopped for having defects were offered advice; three had tyres very close to the minimum legal limit of tread with one also having a split driveshaft boot and the fourth driver had an illegal front tyre, but given the opportunity to immediately change the worn tyre to avoid a Prohibition Notice being issued.

Barney Appleton said: "It is important that we continue to educate drivers about the need to share road space. Last year we sadly had two tragic deaths of two cyclists on Wiltshire's roads and 139 injuries of which 26 were serious."

"Whilst Operation Close Pass has a number of aims, it is primarily about educating the motorist in safe passing distances, something that drivers often have difficulty in judging whilst sitting behind the wheel. By showing them the marked out distances, drivers can put themselves in the place of the rider to appreciate just how much room is necessary in order to patiently pass in a safe manner."

"I would urge both drivers and cyclists to educate themselves and improve how they use our roads by visiting Cycle Smarter website www.cyclesmarter.co.uk"

 

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