Operation Close Pass day – Still trying to get Lancs & M’side Stats

My posting below from 26th April mentioned a national policing campaign which was held on 14th April this year called ‘Operation Close Pass Day’ when police forces across the country would be sending out officers on cycles to try to catch those drivers who dangerously overtake cyclists by passing far too close to them. Here’s a link back to that posting:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2021/04/26/a-random-act-of-abuse-on-a-beautiful-day/

Photo from Cycling UK showing the likely change to the Highway Code for passing a cyclist.

I said back then that I awaited a response from both Lancashire and Merseyside Police about how they engaged with the campaign day and the results of their participation. To date, I’ve still had no response so, with the help of Cycling UK, I’ve now contacted them both again this time via their respective Road Safety Partnership websites in the hope that they will answer my queries.

Close passing of cyclists is highly dangerous and in my part of the world, the roads where it seems to be a big problem are Southport Road and Moss Lane in Lydiate and Prescot Road in Aughton, although it can happen on any road particularly where it’s one which vehicles are driven along at high speeds. Even drivers who would normally leave plenty of room when overtaking a cyclist can end up passing one far too closely. This often happens where a vehicle has started an overtaking manoeuvre and then the driver sees another vehicle approaching on the opposite carriageway. Obviously, most drivers will pull back in such circumstances but the impatient ones carry on sometimes coming within inches of a cyclist. Sadly, this can lead to cyclists being knocked off their bikes just because a driver is in too much of a hurry.

The present Highway Code is a little vague about this as it says that as much room as possible should be left when overtaking a cyclist. The plan is to change that to 1.5m of room must be left when overtaking a cyclist as the photo above demonstrates.

So there you have it or in the case of Lancs & Merseyside Police there you don’t have it as I still do not have their data from the campaign day. Let’s hope my contact via their Road Safety Partnerships delivers or it will have to be Freedom of Information Requests and I really hope it does not have to come to that.

Cyclists/Car Drivers – the best and the worst – Maghull and Netherton

I am both a car driver and a cyclist so I can see both points of view. The reality is that there are poor car drivers and poor cyclists.

A week last Sunday I cycled over the Hall Lane canal swing bridge in Maghull east to west and just as I left the bridge another cyclist came onto the bridge travelling west to east. The next I knew (behind me) was the other cyclist shouting at a car driver who had followed me onto the bridge and all but knocked the cyclist off his bike by trying to squeeze past him!

Clearly the car driver was in the wrong and should have apologised to the cyclist but no, he wound down his window and issued a hurl of verbal abuse aimed at the cyclist he had nearly collided with because of his impatience!

The following Tuesday I found myself almost colliding with a cyclist on Dunningsbridge Road at the traffic light by the Park Hotel. I was driving west to east towards the traffic lights and saw a cyclist on the adjacent cycle track travelling the same direction as I was. Trouble is the cycle track ends abruptly here and the cyclists are in effect forced into the road.

I expected the cyclist to slow down and watch for the traffic he was merging into but no he simply flew into the lane I was in cutting me up on his bike. I had to swerve to avoid hitting him and it was a close shave indeed. But what did the cyclist do but give me the two fingered salute! His only defence was that there are no ‘give way’ markings where the cycle track merges with the road but you would have thought self preservation would have made him look before he shot out into the traffic. He will not live long pulling such stunts on the busy Dunningsbridge Road. Next time it could be a huge lorry with him sadly underneath it!

Just goes to prove my point that there are poor drivers and poor cyclists.