Covert police operation set to see unmarked bikes on the roads to catch motorists who drive dangerously in Hartlepool and East Durham

Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary's joint motorbike unit is set to be involved in Operation Close Pass.
Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary's joint motorbike unit is set to be involved in Operation Close Pass.

Police have launched a two-week campaign is being launched across Hartlepool and East Durham aimed at making sure motorbikers and cyclists stay safe on the roads.

The 2 Wheel campaign, led by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), begins on Monday, May 20, for two weeks and aims to raise awareness and educate road users and riders generally on how to improve driver/rider behaviour, which in turn reduces the number of fatal and serious collisions.

Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary's joint motorbike unit is set to be involved in Operation Close Pass

Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary's joint motorbike unit is set to be involved in Operation Close Pass

It is being run by Cleveland Police and Durham Constabulary and ties in with the Bank Holiday weekend, which is traditionally a busier time on the roads.

Throughout the campaign there will be operations running across Cleveland and Durham involving an unmarked police cyclist, who will be out and about on the roads, identifying drivers who pass carelessly or dangerously.

The operation which is ran in partnership with other agencies is known nationally as Operation Close Pass. It will primarily offer an educational input to drivers, or a fixed penalty notice and penalty points. The recommended safe passing distance is 1.5m.

Officers from the Motorcycle Unit will also run BikeSafe sessions which are aimed at working with motorcycle riders to raise awareness of the importance and value of progressing on to accredited post-test training.

These workshops offer an observed ride with a police graded motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer. More information on these sessions can be found at www.bikesafe.co.uk.

Inspector Jon Curtis, from the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, said: “It is the responsibility of all road users to be considerate and drive or ride as safely as possible in order to reduce the number of serious and fatal collisions on our roads.

“Raising awareness of the issues that some two-wheel riders face can help us reduce the risk to them and the risk to other road users.

“Motorcyclists and pedal cyclists are some of the most vulnerable on our roads, it is our intention to help educate and raise awareness in order to try to avoid as many tragedies as possible.”

Figures show 19% of all road deaths in the UK in 2017 were motorbikers. Cyclists also accounted for 6% of all roads deaths in the UK the same year.

Across Cleveland and Durham, there were six fatal motorcycle collisions in 2018, compared to two in 2017.