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New safety operation to reduce cycle casualties on Hertfordshire’s roads

19 Mar 2018
  • Operation Velo is launching in Hertfordshire today, aiming to reduce cycle casualties on the roads

  • This is in collaboration with the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership

  • In 2016, there were 319 collisions across the county involving cyclists

A new safety operation aimed at reducing the number of collisions involving cyclists on the county’s roads is being launched in Hertford today (Monday, March 19).

The Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Road Policing Unit is launching Operation Velo – an initiative dedicated to reducing cycle casualties on the road through education and promotion of behavioural change.

This is being done in partnership with the Hertfordshire Road Safety Partnership, whose cycling officers have been helping to identify hotspots and will be providing education and further advice on the day.

Plain clothed police officers will be out on bicycles across Hertford identifying drivers of vehicles who do not adopt a ‘safe pass’ approach.

A police officer will then escort the vehicle to a check point where education will be given around the optimum distance to pass a cycle – 1.5m – with consideration given to the appropriateness of the road environment and speed taken. In some cases motorists could be prosecuted for careless or inconsiderate driving and face a fine of £100 and three points on their licence.

Checks will be carried out to ensure vehicles are insured and there are no possible defects or illegals parts.

The officers will also be looking at cycle rider behaviour and addressing any who put themselves at risk by disobeying traffic signs and red lights, failing to use lights in the hours of darkness and cycling recklessly.

In addition they will be actively seeking opportunities to enforce the ‘Fatal 4’ offences of drink and drug driving, using a mobile phone at the wheel, failing to wear a seatbelt and speeding. Any motorists caught flouting these could face prosecution.

In 2016 there were 319 collisions across the county involving cyclists that resulted in injury ranging from slight to serious. Over the past four years (2012-2016) seven cyclists have died on the roads.

BCH Casualty Reduction Inspector Chris Huggins said: “Each year there are many unnecessary deaths and serious injuries on the roads. One of the most vulnerable road user groups are cyclists, and with the launch of Op Velo, we aim to educate drivers about safely passing around cyclists and deal with driving offenders who jeopardise rider safety.

“We will also be taking action with cyclists who take risks, by disobeying traffic signs and riding without lights. We must respect each other when driving and riding on the roads, and we all have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others.”

Chair of the Road Safety Partnership Simon Brown said: “As well as reducing road casualties, we are also keen to encourage more people to cycle regularly and reap the benefits of an active lifestyle. Through operations like this we want to improve the behaviour of all road users and reassure all residents and visitors that our roads are safe to use by all forms of transport.”

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