Cycle safety message for overtaking drivers being pushed by Lincolnshire Police

Lincolnshire Police's new cycle safety campaign.
Lincolnshire Police's new cycle safety campaign.

A new safety campaign is being launched today (Monday) by Lincolnshire Police in response to six cyclists being killed and many more injured on the county’s roads in the last two years.

The force is launching Operation Safe Pass, to educate road users on the safe distance that should be given when passing cyclists. This is identified as a minimum of 1.5 metres, or in other words “keep them alive at 1.5”.

This is part of the overarching Project Tandem scheme and is timed to coincide with Road Safety Week.

To show the extent of the problem they had a police officer out on a bike this morning in Lincoln to see the space that road users allowed when passing.

Twenty-seven motorists passed too close and were stopped and educated in the need to allow 1.5 metres distance when passing. In certain circumstances motorists risk being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention. This can result in between 3 and 9 points on your licence and a fine of between £100 and £5000.

The stark reality is that six cyclists have lost their lives on Lincolnshire Roads since 2016 and 18,477 cyclists were injured in the UK in 2016.

The main aim of Operation Safe Pass is to make sure that everyone knows the requirement to give a safe distance 1.5 metres when passing bikes and secondly, that they stick to the requirement.

Assistant Chief Constable Shaun West said: “Essentially we want to get away from the thinking that you can just squeeze through. That is potentially a life and death decision. Whether you are the cyclist cutting through queues, or the driver passing too close, we want you to think twice.

“We have a lot of traffic, a lot of bends to negotiate and a lot of lives lost every year due to bad decisions. With Operation Safe Pass we want to get the phrase keep them alive at one point five to leap into the mind of any road user who is about to overtake a cyclist.

“Cyclists and drivers are sometimes seen as opposing groups but with Project Tandem, we send a clear message that we need to use the road safely, alongside each other. It doesn’t matter if you are on two wheels or four, we can all make changes to improve safety. Patience, sound judgement and respect are what we want from anyone using our roads.”

We aim not only to educate drivers but also cyclists. We have teamed up with Access Lincoln to offer free bike lights and high visibility gear to passing cyclists so they can be better seen on the roads.

In addition to Operation Safe Pass, Project Tandem includes a number of other initiatives:

Mini Police in schools are on board and will “educate upwards” to drivers, spreading the cycle safety message.

The force will also be working with newsagents to make sure that their paper round staff “don’t become the news”. They will promote the use of helmets and lights to make sure their staff are safe.

The Road Safety Partnership are visiting large Lincolnshire employers to promote cycle safety.

Officers will also be adapting the Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme – traditionally this scheme gives motorists a window of opportunity to correct a fault on their vehicle. They will be stopping cyclists who do not have lights on their bikes at night and using this scheme to ensure they get lights.