Birmingham & Black Country

Lorry driver fined for passing too close to cyclist

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Media captionWest Midlands Police target drivers too close to cyclists

A lorry driver has become one of the first UK motorists to be fined for driving too close to a cyclist.

During a safety campaign on the issue, West Midlands Police officers have posed as cyclists to catch drivers.

Dean Littleford, 60, from Birmingham, denied driving without due care and attention in Park Lane West, Tipton, in November.

But he was fined £1,038 and had five points added to his licence by Dudley Magistrates' Court.

Almost 200 offenders have been stopped by police as part of the GiveSpaceBeSafe scheme, which was launched in September, with 13 going on to be prosecuted.

PC Mark Hodson from the Central Motorway Police Group said: "Most offenders watch the footage, accept their driving was below par, and elect for a driver improvement course or an offer of three licence points and £100.

"This was a clear case of a close-pass - the cyclist was nearly forced into the kerb and the actions of the truck driver could easily have caused a very serious collision.

"He maintained his innocence, though, and has now been convicted in court."

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Launching the campaign, police said anyone encroaching inside the safe passing distance, widely considered to be at least 1.5m (4.9ft), runs the risk of being prosecuted

Police want drivers overtaking cyclists "to be patient, plan your overtake, and give plenty of room".

The Highway Code states drivers should give the same room as when overtaking another vehicle which is about 1.5m or an open car door's width.

The force said reports of "close passes" have halved since the operation was introduced.

The 56-year-old Wednesbury cyclist involved in this case said he felt the scheme "gives cyclists the confidence and reassurance that such dangerous driving will not be tolerated".

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