Campaign win: Too Close for Comfort reaches £15k target in 8 days
- Cycling charity raises £15k in eight days through Kickstarter to supply UK police with educational film on how to overtake cyclists safely
- Film already been used operationally by West Midlands Police
- Charity plans to supply film to driving schools next
The campaign highlights the dangers of close overtaking of cyclists by motor vehicles through a virtual reality film, which allows drivers to experience the threat of a near miss without the risk of injury.
Cycling UK used the Kickstarter platform to crowdsource the funding required to supply the 45 police forces operating throughout the UK with the film and VR headsets for free. The charity estimates it will be able to begin distributing the film and headsets by the end of November.
The film has already been put into operational use by West Midlands Police’s Road Harm Reduction Team. Drivers pulled over during Operation Close Pass on Monday (08 Oct) had the opportunity to watch the film in addition to receiving instruction from Woodgate Valley Community Fire Service on how to overtake cyclists safely.
PC Steve Hudson, of West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team said:
“This was the first opportunity to put into operational use the new Cycling UK virtual reality film on close passing, and we’re pleased to say the film was well received.
“At West Midlands Police RHRT, we’re always on the lookout for the best ways to make our roads safer and this short VR film will help people learn through experience the dangers of close passing. I hope we’ll see a wider pick up of the film across the UK, and that other road safety organisations, such as driver training and re-training instructors will be able to make use of the film too.”
During the course of the operation in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, nine drivers were stopped for close passing over the course of two hours, one of whom had their licence suspended after failing a roadside eye test.
One woman pulled over, who did not wish to give her name, said after her instruction, "That's changed my perspective - I'd never have thought to give cyclists that much room before."
With plans in place to start delivering headsets and the film to the police now in motion, the cycling charity has plans to use all extra funding raised over the next 16 days to make sure the film seen as widely as possible.
These plans include:
- Making the film become a part of driver re-training courses
- Having the film included in online materials signposted to learner drivers.
- Convincing the Department for Transport and Transport Scotland to promote the film as part of a vulnerable road user awareness campaign.
- Taking the film to politicians in Westminster, the Senedd, Holyrood and Stormont so our decision makers can understand the dangers they need to tackle.
- Making sure that those police forces actively conducting close pass operations have access to additional VR headsets and close pass mats to maximise operational effectiveness.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns said:
“Making sure the police have the tools they need to educate drivers about the dangers of close passing was always Cycling UK’s first priority, and it’s great to see the film has been well received and is already in use by West Midlands Police.
“Now we’ve surpassed our target, Cycling UK is still keen raise more funding to put an end to driving that’s too close for comfort. Shortly our enforcers will have the tools they need, but our next step must be to target the educators, so that the next generation of drivers has better awareness and understanding for all vulnerable road users.”
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org
- The VR film in both 2D and 3D is available on the Cycling UK YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/CTConline/videos
- Further footage and photos available including clips of the VR film, behind the scenes B-roll and a selection of close pass clips will be available from September 27 at https://www.skyfish.com/p/cyclinguk/1312847
- For further information about the charity’s Too Close for Comfort campaign see: https://www.cyclinguk.org/campaign/toocloseforcomfort
- Operation Close Pass is a joint operation involving West Midlands Police and the Fire Service. For more information see: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/your-options/close-pass-cycling
- For details of the Near Miss Project see: http://www.nearmiss.bike/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Nearmissreport-final-web-2.pdf
Press contact information
For more information contact the national Cycling UK Press Office on 01483 238 315, 07786 320 713 or email email@example.com