A leading cycling club in the west of England will be deploying front- and rear-facing cameras on all of its club rides after winning a grant for the initiative from Avon & Somerset Police Community Trust’s Road Safety Fund.

The funding has enabled North Somerset-based Portishead Cycling Club to buy multiple sets of cycle mounted cameras to capture footage of poor driving as well as ensuring that its members adhere to club rules.

Under the initiative, which is said to have the “clear support” of the club’s 190 members, ride leaders will also wear hi-viz bibs alerting motorists to the fact that they are being filmed, as well as highlighting that they should leave at least 1.5 metres of space when overtaking.

Club chairman Rob Ellis said: “The cameras will go out on each separate club ride and we will be producing a user guide for our ride leaders to follow to make certain the cameras are used correctly and only for the purpose intended, plus how to report and download any incidents to the police for investigation.

“Part of this guide will clearly outline that the cameras will not only be recording how motorists are driving, but also how we are riding as well.  This dual approach will give extra focus for our club riders to ride sensibly and by the rules too.”

Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford invited other cycling clubs in the area to apply for similar support, saying: “I welcome this innovative use of Police Community Trust funding and actively encourage other cycling clubs to apply for similar projects or initiatives to ensure the safety of its members.

“We all need to ensure that our roads are safe for everyone who is using them and the Police Community Trust wants to say yes to as many local organisations as possible who are working towards the same aims. If you think your group has an idea of how you can help make roads safer, please apply!”

“Cycling remains a safe and efficient way to travel and we attend very few serious collisions involving cyclists but, we want to keep it that way. More and more people are choosing to ride for leisure or as an alternative to taking the car.

“However, despite all best practices being adopted there are still a number of unfortunate and unwelcomed incidents that can occur, often putting riders in danger of injury, such as dangerous and close overtakes from drivers, abuse and anger being directed at riders, or even items thrown at them from vehicles.”

Avon & Somerset Police says that it received 1,484 camera uploads with evidence of road related offences during the first six months of this year, resulting in 1,667 warning and prosecution letters being issued.

PC Dan Cox, road safety officer at Avon & Somerset Police, commented: “Cycling remains a safe and efficient way to travel and we attend very few serious collisions involving cyclists but, we want to keep it that way.

“More and more people are choosing to ride for leisure or as an alternative to taking the car.

“However, despite all best practices being adopted there are still a number of unfortunate and unwelcomed incidents that can occur, often putting riders in danger of injury, such as dangerous and close overtakes from drivers, abuse and anger being directed at riders, or even items thrown at them from vehicles,” he added.

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