Operation close pass wins in the Public Sector category at the RoadSafeNI awards sponsored by Applegreen.

Inspector Pete Cunningham said: “We are delighted this initiative has been recognised with a Northern Ireland Road Safety Award and this shows the benefits of partnership working in delivering for local communities.

“Through these ‘Close Pass’ road safety operations, co-designed with Cycling Ulster, PSNI now have local road policing leads in each district who are able to run local bespoke deployments.”

In a collaborative effort to bolster road safety and ensure the protection of cyclists, the launch of Operation Close Pass outside Belfast City Hall last year marked a significant milestone in the region’s commitment to fostering a safer environment for all road users.

Operation Close Pass, a joint initiative led by the PSNI and Cycling Ulster aims to address the pressing issue of close overtaking and dangerous interactions between motorists and cyclists on the roads. Recognising the vulnerability of cyclists and the need for heightened awareness among drivers, this operation embodies a proactive approach towards fostering mutual respect and understanding among all road users.

“During these operations, which were first trialled in 2017, police officers in plain clothes on unmarked bicycles equipped with cameras, were supported by police motorcyclists to identify drivers who don’t give cyclists enough room when they pass.”

Through increased police presence and awareness campaigns, motorists will be reminded of the importance of giving cyclists ample space when overtaking, thereby reducing the risk of collisions and near misses.

“During the operation, the cycle officers wear body worn video that captures footage of motorists as they pass by. Where a driver has displayed potentially dangerous driving or has failed to allow a safe or adequate space when passing, the officers’ radio ahead to uniformed motorcycle colleagues who stop the motorist identified and offer the appropriate advice.”

“These operation have made a serious impact in educating all road users and increasing awareness of the need to give space to people who cycle on our roads. It has also made a huge contribution to cyclists’ confidence by helping them to feel safer when out cycling.”

Furthermore, Operation Close Pass emphasizes the importance of educating cyclists on best practices for visibility and road safety, equipping them with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate our roads with confidence and security.

Chairperson of Cycling Ulster Tommy McCague: “Cycling Ulster are delighted with the recent Road Safety NI award received by the PSNI.

It has been a result of close collaboration between the PSNI and ourselves.
We are fortunate that a number of Officers are keen cyclists and understand road safety from the point of view of the cyclist as well as the motorist.

Cycling Ulster are keen to discuss a shared space, most cyclists also being motorists, respecting and understanding the benefits of the education around close passes.
We encourage cyclists when on narrow roads, to cycle in single file to give motorists every opportunity to safely pass.
We continue to work with the PSNI on this and other initiatives and look forward to further roll outs.
Well done again for putting in the time, dedication and resources to make Operation Close pass a success.”