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Police officers in Ipswich launch operation to catch motorists driving too closely to cyclists

PUBLISHED: 16:54 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 13:53 04 October 2017

Police are cracking down on motorists who drive too close to cyclists.  (Picture has been staged for illustration).  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Police are cracking down on motorists who drive too close to cyclists. (Picture has been staged for illustration). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A road safety campaign aimed at highlighting the dangers faced by cyclists as a result of motorists driving too closely to them is launching in Ipswich.

Police are cracking down on motorists who drive too close to cyclists.  (Picture has been staged for illustration).  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice are cracking down on motorists who drive too close to cyclists. (Picture has been staged for illustration). Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Called Operation Close Pass, the new initiative is being rolled out by Suffolk police in and around the town centre on Wednesday.

Plain clothes police and community support officers out on bikes will be identifying drivers of vehicles who do not allow enough room when overtaking cyclists.

Cameras are to be used to film drivers who follow too closely behind cyclists or ‘left hook’ them by overtaking and then turning left across their path.

Footage will then be reported to uniformed officers on motorbikes.

The campaign is being launched as figures show more than 750 cyclists were involved in crashes across Suffolk in recent years.

Detective Inspector Chris Hinitt of the Serious Collision Investigation Team said: “Between 2012 and 2015 over 750 pedal cycle casualties were recorded in Suffolk, with the number of ‘near miss’ incidents unconfirmed but undoubtedly much higher.

“The aim of this operation is to highlight the dangers posed to cyclists by motor vehicles and to increase awareness amongst other road users as to how their manner of driving could result in causing serious injury to a cyclist.

“The focus of the day will be to use education as an alternative to prosecution.

“We want to inform drivers on why their driving was careless and take the opportunity to change attitudes towards cyclists.”

If an offence occurs during the operation motorcycle officers will attempt to stop vehicles providing the driver is not committing a more serious crime such as drink-driving or dangerous driving.

They will be invited to the engagement site for a voluntary educational session – but if the motorist declines to take part they will be issued with a Traffic Offence Report (TOR).

Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “It is really important that everyone that uses our roads has consideration for fellow road users, whether you are on four wheels, two wheels or on foot.

“I fully support this Operation Close Pass.

“Many of our cyclists are at serious risk of being clipped by vehicles and it is important that we do all we can to highlight the issue.”

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