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New safety operation to reduce cycle casualties on county's roads

22 Feb 2018

A new safety operation aimed at reducing the number of collisions involving cyclists on the county’s roads is being launched in Cambridge tomorrow.

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit will launch Operation Velo – an initiative dedicated to reducing cycle casualties on the road through education and promotion of behavioural change.

Plain clothed police officers will be out on bicycles across Cambridge city centre identifying drivers of vehicles who do not adopt a ‘safe pass’ approach.

A police officer will then escort the vehicle to a check point where education will be given around the optimum distance to pass a cycle – 1.5m – with consideration given to the appropriateness of the road environment and speed taken. In some cases motorists could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving and face a fine of £100 and three points on their licence.

Checks will be carried out to ensure vehicles are insured and there are no possible defects or illegals parts.

The officers will also be looking at cycle rider behaviour and addressing any who put themselves at risk by disobeying traffic signs and red lights, failing to use lights in the hours of darkness and cycling recklessly.

In addition they will be actively seeking opportunities to enforce the ‘Fatal 4’ offences of drink and drug driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel, failing to wear a seatbelt and speeding. Any motorists caught flouting these could face prosecution.

See more information about Operation Velo by visiting www.cambs.police.uk/opvelo.

In 2016 there were 489 collisions across the county involving cyclists that resulted in injury ranging from slight to serious. Over the past four years (2012-2016) nine cyclists have died on the roads.

BCH Road Policing Inspector Chris Huggins said: “Each year there are many unnecessary deaths and serious injuries on the roads. One of the most vulnerable road user groups are cyclists, and with the launch of Op Velo, we aim to educate drivers as to safe passing around cyclists and deal with driving offenders who jeopardise rider safety.

“We will also be taking action with cyclists who take risks, by disobeying traffic signs and signs and riding without lights. We must respect each other when driving and riding on the roads, and we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “Too many lives have been affected by inconsiderate and dangerous road use. Over the past year, I have listened to the concerns of road users and introduced a number of measures to make sure everyone, whether drivers, cyclists or pedestrians can be kept as safe as possible.

“This includes the introduction of county-wide police casualty reduction officer and the rolling out of Drive-iQ – an online driving experience to help young people learn how to drive safely. I am therefore pleased to see the Road Policing Unit introduce Op Velo and ask that people continue to respect other road users at all times.”

The scheme has been devised with the support of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’ community champions.

Operation Velo is initially being launched in Cambridge city centre with plans to roll it out across the county as well as Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire in the future.

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