MOTORISTS in Middlesbrough have been praised after only one was spoken to by police during a safety cycling initiative.

Throughout the two-week 2 Wheel campaign there will be operations running across Cleveland and Durham involving an unmarked police cyclist who will be out and about on the roads.

The aim of Operation Safe Pass is to identify drivers who pass carelessly or dangerously – so far a solitary driver has been pulled over to be given advice after her driving.

Ruth Thompson, who is a casualty reduction coordinator with the CDSOU, said she is full of praise for most drivers they have encountered in the first week of the operation.

“So far it has been a really positive operation,” she said. “We’re only one week in but only one driver has been stopped and given advice about passing too closely.

“We have given out three tickets for people using their phones while driving – which can be part of the problem of dangerous driving – but the vast majority of drivers have been courteous and have left plenty of space.

“This is about encouraging respect on the roads between drivers and cyclists.”

According to police figures, 19 per cent of all road deaths in the UK in 2017 were motorcyclists. Pedal cyclists also accounted for six per cent in the same year.

Across Cleveland and Durham, there were six fatal motorcycle collisions in 2018, compared to two in 2017.

The officer added: “This operation is just about getting the message out there, especially with summer just around the corner. We are wanting to encourage people to get out on their bikes but people need to feel safe on our roads.

“Next week we will in Durham, so let’s hope that the results are as encouraging there as they have been in Middlesbrough so far.”

Officers from the Motorcycle Unit will also run BikeSafe sessions which are aimed at working with motorcycle riders to raise awareness of the importance and value of progressing on to accredited post-test training.

These workshops offer an observed ride with a police graded motorcyclist or approved BikeSafe observer.

More information on these sessions can be found at