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Video shows Devon & Cornwall drivers dangerously overtaking cyclists

Video shows Devon & Cornwall drivers dangerously overtaking cyclists

Video footage of cars overtaking cyclists too fast and too close has been released by the Devon and Cornwall road safety partnership, Vision Zero South West.

The video features four incidents across Devon and Cornwall which were captured on film by cyclists and submitted to Op Snap.

It comes just days after three cyclists were left seriously injured following a collision involving a car in Cornwall.

Research has shown that cyclists are vulnerable to being killed or seriously injured in road collisions – however, they are responsible for very little harm to other road users.

In the 2019 Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) study ‘Who kills most on our roads’, it states: “Pedestrians and cyclists, sometimes viewed as ‘unsafe’, pose very little risk to other road users. In fatal collisions between motor vehicles and pedestrians or cyclists, it is almost always the pedestrian or the cyclist who dies, not the occupants of the motor vehicle.

“There were 3 people in motorised vehicles killed in collisions with pedestrians and cyclists in 2019. By contrast, 517 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motorised vehicles.”

It was also recently announced that cyclists were to be given greater priority on the roads as part of a revised Highway Code which puts greater responsibility on users of vehicles that cause the most harm.

Superintendent Adrian Leisk, Alliance strategic lead for roads policing, said the dashcam videos should send a clear message to drivers as to what is not acceptable when overtaking cyclists.

Supt Leisk said: “Vision Zero South West has identified cyclists as a vulnerable road user group in Devon and Cornwall and it’s vital we protect them from harm.

“The examples shown in the video submissions to Op Snap show vehicles travelling far too close to cyclists and often at too high speeds.  All of these cases resulted in the motorists being sent on driver training courses, at their expense as an alternative to a fine and points.

“Cyclists have a right to be free of the dangers posed by these road users. I am incredibly keen to promote safe, healthy, and sustainable travel as this helps us to reduce pressure on our NHS and address the climate emergency. The behaviours featured in these clips actively deter people, particularly younger people from cycling on our roads.

I’d like to remind drivers that when overtaking people on bicycles you must give them at least 1.5m of space and reduce your speed when doing so. The Highway Code allows cyclists to ride 2 abreast, another issue widely misunderstood. If it isn’t safe to overtake, please wait. Is it worth risking another human life to save a few seconds?

“If you place someone’s life in danger, there’s a strong chance you will end up being reported to us and facing the consequences.”

A driver passing a cyclist closely on the A389

Almost half of the video footage uploaded to Op Snap in Devon and Cornwall comes from cyclists.

Since the start of Op Snap in Devon and Cornwall in 2019, more than 1,300 dangerous drivers have been prosecuted – and the number of submissions has increased dramatically recently. 

In the first six months of 2021, Devon and Cornwall Police received 779 submissions through Op Snap – of which 408 cases saw notices of intended prosecutions issued and 144 cases resulted in an official police warning.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is also chairman of Vision Zero South West and the national APCC lead for road safety.

Commissioner Hernandez said: “All road users must learn to share our public highways and treat each other with respect – there’s no excuse for anything less.

“Together with National Highways, my office has recently funded 170 dashcams to be distributed to companies across Devon and Cornwall that regularly travel around the region.

“This gives us 170 extra pairs of eyes on our roads to capture dangerous drivers and take action against them through Devon and Cornwall Police’s Op Snap initiative.

“With more people watching, the chances of bad drivers getting caught will increase.  I hope this makes motorists more alert and, in turn, will make our roads safer for everyone.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Vice Chair for the Vision Zero South West road safety partnership, said: “It’s horrifying to see some of the close passes captured through Op Snap and it should serve as a reminder as to how vulnerable cyclists are on our roads.

“Driving too close and too fast past other road users is unacceptable. We all need to take extra care on Devon’s roads and ensure that we give other road users plenty of space.

“Op Snap is proving to be extremely effective in prosecuting dangerous driving and I hope everyone continues to submit their footage to Devon and Cornwall Police to help make our roads safer.”

The appeal comes just days after three cyclists were seriously injured after a road traffic collision on the A390 Probus bypass on Thursday, September 16.

Emergency services were called to reports of a collision involving three cyclists and a white Vauxhall Insignia car at around 7.20pm. Three male cyclists sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospital.

Officers from patrol sections and the Roads Policing Team attended to examine the scene as part of the investigation to establish the cause of the collision. 

The road was reopened at around 11.20pm.

A man in his 20s was arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving, driving while unfit through drink/drugs and for possession of a class B drug and has been released under investigation, pending further enquiries.

If you witnessed the incident, have any information or dashcam footage that could help the police with their enquiries, please email or call 101, quoting crime reference CR/080698/21.

If you have witnessed dangerous driving and have video footage of the incident, you can submit your footage to Op Snap at

Op Snap figures

The op Snap Team has issued 1,376 Notice of Intended prosecution to registered keepers for Road Traffic Offences since it began in July 2019.

In the last 6 months, 573 Notice of Intended prosecutions were issued which equates to 95 cases per month.

In August 2021:

  • 179 cases of bad driving were submitted to Op Snap
  • 121 notice of intended prosecution was sent to the registered keeper regarding a Road Traffic Act offence
  • 45% of cases where a notice of intended prosecution was sent were submitted by cyclists
  • In addition, 27 warning letters were sent to drivers for cases submitted by cyclists