Undercover police used in bid to make roads safer for cyclists in Sheffield
Undercover police officers have been used in an operation aimed at making Sheffield’s roads safer for cyclists.
Officers in plain clothes cycled 17km along the streets of Crookes in an operation to check whether passing motorists were giving cyclists enough distance.
The aim was to educate drivers to make the roads safer for cyclists.
Inspector Kevin Smith, who led the operation, said: “A ‘safe pass’ operation involves officers in plain clothes cycling down the roads, closely followed by a police officer on a motorbike.
“We have a stop site further down the road and if officers believe a driver has passed them in an inconsiderate or dangerous manner, the driver will be pulled in.
“While on the operation we will stop any road user, driver, cyclist, motorcyclist if we see them committing offences.
“Using bikes and plain clothes in conjunction with police motorcyclists allows us the opportunity to identify all types of offending and deal with it, regardless of what type of vehicle is being used inappropriately.”
He added: “It is recommended that the minimum distance to pass a cyclist is 1.5 metres, which means that in almost all circumstances the driver will have to cross over the central white lines to safely overtake, or where there are two lanes the vehicle should be in lane two.
“Where the overtaking vehicle is large such as HGVs or buses, or on roads where traffic is travelling at more than thirty miles an hour, even more space should be given.”
In a two hour period, six drivers were identified as passing too close and a further four drivers were pulled over for traffic offences.
They all received official warnings.
A car – a white Audi – was also seized during the operation after the driver attempted to intimidate an undercover officer while he was waiting for a safe opportunity to cross a roundabout.
The driver sounded his horn repeatedly and when the officer signalled for him to pull over, he drove off.
A police motorcyclist mounted a pursuit but the Audi, which had no insurance, was found abandoned.
Enquiries are under way to track down the missing driver.