Police warn motorists about passing too close to cyclists on major Leeds road

Motorists who passed too close to cyclists on the A63 near Garforth were stopped by police as part of a 'close pass' operation.

Wednesday, 24th April 2019, 8:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 2:29 pm
A mat designed to show how much room drivers should leave when overtaking cyclists. (Photo: West Yorkshire Police - Leeds South).

West Yorkshire Police officers were looking drivers who were driving too close to cyclists, failed to give way at junctions or those who were distracted from having a proper view while driving.

Drivers who passed too close to a cyclist were stopped and given guidance on safe distances using a specially designed floor mat.

A mat designed to show how much room drivers should leave when overtaking cyclists. (Photo: West Yorkshire Police - Leeds South).

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It shows that a driver should give at least 1.5 metres distance between the car and cyclist.

Cyclists are also advised to stay well away from the kerb for their own safety.

The Highway Code tells motorists to give cyclists 'plenty of room' — the same as they would when passing another vehicle — but no minimum distance has been set.

Passing distances have been introduced in many countries, with gaps of at least a metre on local roads, rising to 1.5 metres on faster routes.

Police attribute 'passing too close to the cyclist' as a contributory factor in a 25 per cent of serious collisions between cyclists and large vehicles.

In 2017, there were 2,203 road collision casualties in Leeds and 55 cyclists were killed or seriously injured.

According to West Yorkshire Police's Leeds South Facebook page: "Anyone who declines to take part in the tutorial, or who is deemed to have committed a particularly hazardous overtaking manoeuvre could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.

"On average, we record around three incidents every day where a cyclist and vehicle have been in a collision on the county's roads.

"Frighteningly, several people have lost their lives on our roads and this is something we want to address and reduce.

"This initiative isn't about picking on or penalising motorists, it is about making sure our roads are safer for everyone.

"With the success of Tour de Yorkshire we support our partners in wanting to get more people to feel confident in cycling in the county by making sure the roads are safer for cyclists and all vulnerable road users."

West Yorkshire Police was one of the first forces in the country to introduce a safe pass initiative in 2017.

Officers from Morley Neighbourhood Policing Team assisted Safer Roads Leeds and officers from Leeds East to carry out the operation on Saturday.

Officers stopped and spoke to 11 drivers in one hour about close passing.

Five drivers were also dealt with for wearing no seat belt and two drivers were dealt with for speeding.