‘Safe Pass’ Scheme for Cyclists in East and West Sussex by Summer 2018


The Sussex PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Panel were today, 27 April ’18, advised that the Safe Pass scheme first introduced by the West Midlands force will be introduced across Sussex very shortly….Agenda item#7 attachment.

This is an extract from the attachment (key points in bold):

‘5) The West Midlands Police have been carrying out an award winning, hugely successful initiative called the “Close Pass Operation”, based on the philosophy that “if poor driving makes people too scared to cycle, it’s a police matter”, and that “people who drive poorly around
cyclists are likely to do so around other road users so it benefits all”. Since the operation has been implemented the WMP have reported a 50% drop in poor overtaking. and a 20% reduction in the number of cyclists killed or injured, this confirms it is a hugely effective use of limited resources, representing excellent value for taxpayers.

In November 2017 it was reported that Sussex police were evaluating the initiative, however there has been no further action regarding the implementation of such an operation.

Does the Commissioner have a view about Close Pass Operation? Is she satisfied that Sussex Police are moving quickly enough to adopt best practice from other forces in respect of protecting our cyclists? Mr Tweed of East Grinstead

Officers carrying out a road safety operation tackling the issue of drivers not allowing cyclist enough clearance during overtaking.

I understand the importance that the residents of Sussex place on road safety which is a key feature in my Police & Crime Plan.
I am aware of the Operation Close Pass initiative that was launched by West Midlands Police last year and resulted in a significant
reduction in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on their roads The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) has now had an
opportunity to look at the Operation to assess its appropriateness and feasibility for Sussex. I am pleased to confirm that Sussex
Police will be introducing a similar scheme, led by the SSRP and supported by the Road Policing Unit.
The Force intends to name the scheme ‘Safe Pass’ based on nudge theory to present motorists with the subconscious opportunity to pass cyclists safely, rather than closely. Sussex Police is currently finalising the operational delivery plan for the scheme and is working towards officially launching this scheme in June 2018.’ 

NB. I’ve emailed Sussex Police for more information about roll-out arrangements and await a response.

This arose out of the the ‘Close Pass’ operation to improve driving standards and shouldn’t be confused with the Safe pass programme in the construction industry!

Roger Lambert

27 April 2018

1 reply
  1. Gus
    Gus says:

    I’m genuinely surprised that Katy Bourne (our PCC) is ‘pleased’ about a cycle-friendly scheme such as this. From my past meetings with our PCC, her past stance on road safety for non-motorist has been one of indifference.
    This is a welcome but well overdue initiative that aims to teach motor drivers that all road users have equal access, be they horses, pedestrians, traction engines or anything else with less than four wheels.

    Love the new website, by the way. Any reason why this article isn’t available from main page, rather than being hidden on the blog menu?

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