Cycling UK has announced it exceeded a target of £12,000 for its fundraising campaign ‘Too Close for Comfort’ in less than 48 hours.
The ‘Too Close for Comfort’ campaign aims to make roads safer for vulnerable road users and put an end to close overtaking of cyclists by drivers, also known as ‘close passes’, by extending a project started by West Midlands Traffic Police (WMP).
Last September, WMP launched their road safety operation, ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ by sending out plain clothes officers on bikes. The operation targeted the drivers who overtook cyclists too closely, who were then pulled over. Using a ‘safe pass’ mat that cost over £800, WMP then demonstrated to these drivers how to overtake vulnerable road users safely, with the worst cases being reported for careless driving.
The operation received widespread national and international coverage, and was warmly received by road safety and cycle campaign groups.
Recognising the benefits, Cycling UK wanted to see the operation spread across the whole of the UK and launched a crowd sourced fundraising campaign via the Kickstarter web platform to raise £12,000 to buy close pass mats in bulk.
Cycling UK will now begin production of 50 close pass mats and will aim to roll them out to each police force operating in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in April. Cycling UK has heard from several forces and local authorities which have shown their interest and appreciation for having mats provided.
Paul Tuohy, Chief Executive of Cycling UK, said: “Cycling UK launched ‘Too Close for Comfort’ with the specific aim of helping out our cash strapped forces to make our roads that little bit safer for cycling.
“West Midlands’ operation has not only worked, but it’s also gone down well with cyclists, road safety bodies and other police forces. It only makes sense to help give it that little bit of a push to roll it out nationally – and thanks to cyclists across the UK, together we can make our roads safer.”
One of the WMP officers behind the original ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ operation, PC Mark Hodson said:
“Our ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ sprang from the need of addressing one of the number one threats to our most vulnerable road users, close passes, and helped change dangerous driving behaviour from the start.
“It’s satisfying to know that it’s a job well done on your home patch, but great to know this could happen nationwide. I hope every other police force will take advantage of this opportunity that Cycling UK and their backers created, and put an end to close passing for good.”
For further information visit Cycling UK’s Kickstarter page.