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.

Aughton – ‘Doctors Bridge’ footbridge being replaced

Just north of Town Green Station, on Merseyrail’s Northern line to Ormskirk, is ‘Doctors Bridge’ where local legend has it that two doctors cars crunched on the bridge some years ago. The bridge is narrow though, too narrow to accommodate pavements as well as Prescot Road. The solution some years ago was a separate pedestrian bridge.

Doctors Bridge photographed from the former pedestrian bridge looking towards Ormskirk.

I’ve cycled over that separate bridge many times so imagine my surprise to find it gone Tuesday last…..

There it was gone with only the abutments visible on either side of the cutting.

Interested to find out more I cycled up Prescot Road again today and was lucky to bump into one of the bridge engineers for a chat. In my experience engineers love to talk about their projects and so it proved today.

I was told that the old bridge was life expired and is being replaced by a new one this coming Saturday (31st August). The new bridge [Brexiteers look away now as this will raise your blood pressure:-)] is coming from Holland and it’s made of GRP-type materials and less than half the weight of the old bridge. If I understood correctly this bridge will be one of the longest GRP pedestrian bridges in Europe.

Lancashire County Council are the sponsors of this bridge replacement together with another one further up the line in Ormskirk.

Click on the photos to enlarge them

Aughton – Census and speed checks/traffic counts

The other day whilst cycling in Aughton I came across the Council (Lancashire County?) and the Police stopping traffic on Prescot Road for a census count. They were stopping each vehicle and doing a short interview with each driver. I’m guessing asking them where they had come from and were going to.

They were, however, not interested in cyclists (much to the grumbling of vehicle drivers I expect) I was waved through. Actually, I would have been more than happy to have engaged in the census and wonder why cyclists are excluded, after all we are traffic on the road.

No sooner had I turned into Town Green Lane/Bold Lane than I encountered yet another check point doing the same thing and a lady pedestrian asked me what was going on. This was the scene in Bold Lane near the junction with Winifred Lane:-

And then I noticed speed/traffic counting wires across Bold Lane literally yards away from where Melling resident and councillor Alison Doyle died whilst on a cycle ride a few months back:-

I’ve noticed that Bold Lane can at times be a bit of a racetrack for vehicle speedsters when I’m out cycling it so I wonder whether any of what I saw a few days ago is linked to that problem?