Safety campaign begins in Ipswich targeting motorists who overtake too close to cyclists

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close Pass operation Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Plain clothed PCSOs got on their bikes this morning as part of a new initiative highlighting the dangers faced by cyclists on the county’s roads.

Operation Close Call, which is being trialled in Ipswich, looks to crack down on drivers who get too close to cyclists when they overtake.

PCSOs equipped with cameras set off on the roads close to Suffolk New College, reporting drivers who got too close to officers on motorbikes.

However, just two drivers were pulled over for driving with both of them given a educational chat about how to stay safe on the roads. Police also spoke to cyclists about how they could improve the way they conducted themselves on the roads, including giving a ticket to one cyclist who rode through a red light.

Inspector Chris Hinitt said: “This is not about prosecuting drivers, this is about safety on the roads.

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close Pass operation Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant


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“What we found is during the commute time there wasn’t in issue as the traffic was much slower moving. When we went back a bit later people had missed the rush and we saw driver behaviour get worse.

“However, there were only two drivers pulled over in Ipswich today. For me that is a bit of a positive.

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“Considering the number of drivers who come into the town every day the number we pulled over was small.

“It shows the vast, vast majority of drivers are very good.

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close Pass operation Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

“For the future we will be looking at where we can target our operations.

“While we were out we were also looking at cyclists behaviour.

“Again, we didn’t see anything dangerous but did ticket one cyclist for going through a red light.

“People should remember that cyclists reduce congestion - when you are stuck in traffic, you are the traffic.

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close

P.C Andy Lawler and PCSO John Hood ready to get on the roads as part of Suffolk police's new Close Pass operation Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPicture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

“Cyclists are vulnerable road users, there is only one person going to be worse off in a collision.

“Before you set off on your journey think to yourself, how can I make sure I get there safely and make sure everyone else is safe too.”

Jason Wakeford, from road safety charity Brake, said: “Not giving enough space to cycles is a big road safety issue and so we welcome this initiative from Suffolk Police to educate drivers and enforce the law.”

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