MOTORISTS were stopped for driving too closely when overtaking a police cyclist in the New Forest as part of a road safety campaign.

Hampshire Constabulary’s Give Space, Be Safe campaign targeted drivers who failed to follow the Highway Code rules on passing distances when overtaking cyclists, sometimes referred to as a near miss or close pass.

One officer went out on the roads in Bransgore during the morning rush hour. A total of seven drivers were stopped for driving too close to him, and all opted for the educational course.

Officers also spoke with 15 cyclists, giving them some advice and handing out some high-visibility freebies.

Sgt Rob Heard said: “The week’s activities were a great success. We have seen a marked improvement with drivers giving plenty of space and time when overtaking cyclists.

“We have not only been targeting poor driving behaviour, we have also been targeting cyclists and other road users whose behaviour may make them more at risk of being involved in a collision.”

He added: “A close pass not only presents danger to the cyclist but it’s also intimidating.

“Drivers should be allowing other road users as much room they would a car – but many seem to not know this, or choose to ignore it. Remember that any cyclist you overtake could be our police cyclist.”

The campaign has received backing from Cycling UK, whose close pass mats were used by officers during the initiative to show drivers the safe distance for overtaking a cyclist.