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Highlands drivers stopped as officers go ‘undercover’ to promote safe cycling initiative

A number of motorists were stopped in the Highlands after driving too close to an undercover police cyclist.

As part of operation close pass, officers stopped four drivers along the A9 Victoria Road in Brora on Monday.

The officers also stopped five cyclists to highlight their responsibility on staying safe – by wearing appropriate clothing, helmets or riding in a group.

Aimed at promoting road safety, for motorists and cyclists, the operation has been active for several years.

Under the initiative, officers are deployed on unmarked bikes with a camera on their handlebars and on the back of their bike to ensure motorists provide sufficient space to cyclists on the roads.

Any motorists that fail to do so while overtaking may be pulled over and cautioned or fined for careless or dangerous driving.

Motorists who were stopped by the police were told that they must leave at least five feet between them and cyclists when on the roads.


Advice on passing cyclists

Cycling Scotland who serve as a partner in the police’s efforts to promote work safety has compiled a list of tips when it comes to overtaking:

  • Always give at least a car’s width of space (1.5 metres) – this will usually mean crossing into the other lane.
  • Wait at a safe distance until you have space and visibility to pass safely.
    Don’t overtake at blind corners or if there’s oncoming traffic.
  • In towns and in slow-moving traffic, consider if there is any benefit to passing, especially if there are lights ahead.
  • Don’t feel pressure from the person in the car behind to pass before it’s safe.

As part of their research this year into their cycling campaign the group found that:

  • Nine in ten drivers in Scotland say motorists who close-pass people who cycle put lives at risk,
  • More than six in ten said people would be more likely to cycle than drive if they felt safer on Scotland’s roads.
  • And 57 per cent agreed that more people cycling instead of driving would help Scotland tackle the climate emergency.

‘There is room for everyone on our roads’

Constable Paul Whitehead said: “We are constantly working to make Scotland`s roads safer for everyone.

“The operation provides us with a good opportunity to speak to road users to highlight our respective responsibilities and raise the awareness, both by interacting with motorists and other members of the public at the roadside and by generating wider discussion on social media.”

“It is imperative that all road users, including cyclists, are aware of their vulnerability irrespective what mode of transport they are using”

“When passing a cyclist, you should ensure that you allow sufficient time and distance to do so without compromising their safety: make sure you can see far enough ahead to know it is safe to complete the overtake.

“There is room for everyone on our roads and we all have a right to be there.

“We encourage all road users to show consideration and respect for the safety of each other.

“We were very pleased with the large majority of vehicles which were giving the cyclist plenty of room.

“All road users should be able to travel safely and we hope that activity like Operation Close Pass will encourage everyone on the roads to consider how their behaviour could change for the better.”

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