UNIFORMED and plain clothes police officers on bicycles are being issued with cameras to target dangerous drivers in Avon and Somerset.

Drivers passing too close to a cyclist will either receive an 'educational letter' or a notice of intended prosecution, depending on the nature of the incident.

The force will also mount 'close pass' operations this summer, with plain clothed officers on bikes equipped with video cameras will film motorists carrying out dangerous manoeuvres.

Drivers will either be stopped and given advice or, in more serious cases, be reported for an offence that could result in six points and a £200 fine..

Figures from Avon and Somerset Police show a third of all road traffic collisions in 2018 involved a cyclist of motorcyclist.

This week, Avon and Somerset Police are supporting the NPCC’s (National Police Chief’s Council) ‘2Wheels Campaign’ to raise awareness of the dangers faced by cyclists and motorcyclists.

Supporting the police clampdown is Duncan, aged 40, who lives in the force area.

He was knocked down by a car last June on his way home from work.

The driver was following another car overtaking Duncan, and unfortunately there wasn’t enough space and time to get around him. To avoid a head on collision with another driver, he pulled in sharply, running Duncan down.

Duncan said: “The first time I saw the remains of my bike, I cried. The realisation hit me hard on how serious my collision was. I kept having flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, and it stopped me sleeping. Over time my memory came back. I was reminded of the initial violent bang from the impact of being hit by the car, and then later being in the road in and out of consciousness, with someone trying to move me and paramedics trying to talk to me. That feeling of being frozen would overcome me night after night.”

He added: “Doctors told me afterwards I was very lucky to be alive. The day I came home from the hospital and first saw my children was very emotional, and I held them tightly.”

PC Purchase was the first response officer to arrive on the scene that day. He said: “I can remember the shift well. It was a really nice day weather-wise and it was quite busy.

“When the call came through, my first thoughts were how serious the injuries were. Any collision involving a car and cyclist is a worry for us. The A369 is a well-known stretch of road with lots of people commuting to and from Bristol, and at this time of day the roads would be busy.

“When we came off the motorway, we were in a lot of queuing traffic and it felt like it took us forever to make our way through it all. The first thing I remember seeing was what was left of the push bike. It was broken up into lots of pieces. Luckily, Duncan’s injuries weren’t as bad as they could have been.

“There wasn’t really anything else Duncan could’ve done that day to prevent him getting caught up in a collision. He took cycling very seriously and the route was one he took regularly so he was confident in his bike-handling skills. Wearing a helmet and high visibility clothing, he could be easily seen, but unfortunately the driver misjudged the time and space they needed to overtake Duncan safely.”

Road Safety Officer for Avon and Somerset Police, Damien Devanny, said: “Part of my role is to work closely with data in order to help identify risk in advance. Our online near miss tool received 437 reports from cyclists in 2018 and, along with collision data, this helps us to better target our education and enforcement activity. Every near miss is a potential incident and we want to make the roads safer for all road users. We’d like to use this campaign as an opportunity to remind all road users to report near misses.

“There is enough space for everyone and Duncan’s story is just one example of how, had the driver just waited until he had a safe opportunity to overtake, then things could have turned out a lot differently.”