I WOULD like to think that I am a hard-working, law-abiding, taxpaying, hard-working sort of chap.

My only previous run-in with the police was back when I was 18. It involved me being stopped by an officer at night-time when I was unlocking my bicycle, as they thought I had stolen it.

When I showed them I new the code, they let me off with no trouble – nobody would want to steal that old rust bucket anyway. But on one overcast afternoon, that was about to change.

Last week motorists were being reminded by officers, as part of Wiltshire Police’s Operation Close Pass, to consider the safety of cyclists when they are overtaking them.

A couple of volunteer cyclists, riding on a bike that had both front and back cameras, rode along Hilperton Road in Trowbridge for a few hours, the same road where a cyclist had died only a few months before.

That data was fed to the police and anyone deemed to have passed too close to the volunteer cyclists were stopped by police and given a short lesson on sharing the road space safely. On top of educating them, officers also looked at both driver and car legality, car condition and did a standard eyesight test.

So I thought I would give it a test run. With trembling fingers, I pulled into the fire station after being flagged down by an officer.

“Afternoon officer, nice day we’re having,” I said.

“Good afternoon. Please can you assist us with some vehicle checks,” said the officer. I managed to pass the first test of applying the brakes, checking the lights and steering.

Next up I had to read out a number plate from 20 metres away - another success.

This did not last long as the officers admonished me for the car’s dirty windscreen. I was then talked through the dangers of this. I have learned my lesson!

Finally, road safety officer, Sergeant Simon Drewett, took me through how drivers need to give cyclists at least 1.5m of space when travelling at 30mph and to see it from the perspective of both sides, by getting onto the bike and into the car.

PC Drewett also stressed the importance of cyclists and motorists being aware of what is around them on the roads. “It is important that we continue to educate drivers about the need to share road space.

“Sadly, we have already seen the tragic deaths of two cyclists on the roads of Wiltshire so far this year. In addition, there have also been a worrying number of riders injured, some seriously,” he said.

“It is apparent that motorists appear not to give those most vulnerable on our roads either enough space or time to use the roads in safety.”

A total of 38 drivers were stopped, with the majority of these being routine spot-checks. However, the operation saw three Fixed Penalty Notices given for number plate and seat belt matters and two drivers were reported for driving without insurance.