North-east motorists are being reminded to give cyclists enough space while overtaking as an annual campaign is launched.
Operation Close Pass started today and will run until August 3, with the aim of promoting the safe use of shared road space.
Run by Cycling Scotland in collaboration with Police Scotland, it sees officers in plain clothes cycling with a camera on their handlebars and the back of their bike. When a car passes by them too closely, the cyclist radios details to colleagues further up the road who will pull over the driver and speak to them about their driving.
If someone is not receptive, they will be cautioned for careless or dangerous driving and will receive a court summons.
People can also receive a fixed penalty of three points on their driving license and be fined £100, or receive a criminal conviction for more serious offences if they overtake too close to a cyclist.
Cyclist Andrew Stewart, 47, from Aberdeen, has experienced the problem while out on his bike.
He said: “It feels intimidating when vehicles overtake too closely.
There are potholes to dodge and sometimes a wind to contend with, so it’s good to have space.
“I think if everyone was more considerate of each other it would be fantastic. I’m sure that if more drivers understood how frightening it can be to close-pass someone cycling there would be change.”
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson added: “We know that perceptions around road safety remain a barrier to people getting on their bikes.
“Across Scotland, we’re building protected infrastructure to remove cyclists from traffic and will continue to do so by supporting local authorities.
“At the same time, road safety campaigns, such as this campaign from Cycling Scotland, remain vitally important to spark conversations, encourage new thinking and change behaviours.”
Chief Superintendent Louise Blakelock, head of road policing, said: “As we work towards the Scottish Government’s casualty reduction targets, road safety for all road users remains a priority for Police Scotland, and we are fully supporting Cycling Scotland with their campaign.
“Since the coronavirus lockdown, we have seen an increase in the number of people using our roads for cycling. Now more than ever, we urge motorists to give cyclists, and other vulnerable road users, especially children, plenty of space.
“There is room for everyone and we encourage all road users to show consideration and respect for the safety of each other. We all have a duty to make our roads a safer place.”