Police cyclist advises Edinburgh drivers on overtaking

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Police in Edinburgh have launched an initiative to highlight the space that drivers should give cyclists on the road.

Operation Close Pass will see drivers who pass an unmarked police cyclist too closely pulled over and advised that bikes should be given at least as much room as cars when overtaking.

A specially designed mat helps to show how much space a person on a bicycle needs when overtaking them.

PC Dominic Doyle from the Divisional Road Policing Unit explained that the close passing of cyclists is a concern, with many people saying that it's a significant disincentive to cycle.

"A lot of drivers see a person on a bicycle riding on the road on in a cycle lane and don't consider that passing them closely puts all road users in danger. It could constitute careless or even dangerous driving and you would fail your driving test for that," PC Doyle said.

"Those drivers that we stop during this operation will be shown how closely they passed the unmarked officer by standing on our specially designed mat. You should allow at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car when passing a person on a bicycle, giving consideration to the maximum speed limit and time and distance available to you."

Originally developed by West Midlands Police, the initiative is being piloted in Edinburgh and is planned to be rolled out across Scotland.

Over the past two years, 398 cyclists have been injured in collisions in the Scottish capital. Of these, 62 were seriously injured and one died.

Keith Irving, Cycling Scotland chief executive, said that Operation Close Pass is a welcome new initiative to improve road safety.

"Education and enforcement are essential to making safer roads for everyone, whether we are cycling, driving or walking," he said. "This initiative is one of the many we need to take to tackle the increase in serious injuries amongst people cycling."

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