13 June 2018

Drivers urged to leave space for cyclists

“Safe Pass” is a new road safety initiative to encourage drivers to leave enough space for other road users when passing them on the road.

The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership has introduced the Safe Pass scheme in Sussex following a successful run in the West Midlands. They began in Portland Road Hove last week where they focussed on cyclists.

In the past three years there have been 17 cyclist casualties in Portland Rd. Several of these were also related to people opening car doors after they’ve parked onto oncoming cyclists. 

Safe Pass aims to identify drivers that pass cyclists or other road users too closely and put them in danger.  Sussex Police officers on patrol in Hove last week stopped four vehicles. Drivers were offered free educational information from Sussex Safer Roads partners (including Brighton & Hove City Council’s road safety team).

Councillor Gill Mitchell, lead member for transport in Brighton & Hove, said: “Raising awareness in this way will help keep all road users safe. It’s important to look after each other, especially when driving, and this initiative will help educate people about giving enough space and reduce the likelihood of a collision.”

Rule 163 of the Highway Code recommends giving cyclists, horse riders and motorcyclists at least as much room as when overtaking a car.

In Sussex between January 2017 and January 2018 there were 685 pedal cycle collisions recorded, including 180 serious injuries and two fatalities. 

Since May last year it has been possible to report ‘Close Pass’ incidents in Sussex through Operation Crackdown. Between then and April 2018, “close pass of a cyclist” has been recorded 406 times in the county. 

Sgt Phil Badman, who is the Sussex Police lead in this initiative said: “The safety of all road users is paramount.  This initiative seeks to raise the awareness of the issue and influence driver behaviours.  I would encourage all road users to give a little more time and space for each other.

“Where there are instances of bad driving they can be reported to Operation Crackdown online or if it is dangerous driving happening now, dial 999."

Chief Constable Giles York explains why Safe Pass is so important in this short interview