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Cycling UK produces close pass VR film for police forces across the UK

‘Too Close For Comfort’ film will put drivers ‘in the saddle’ to experience a close pass from a cyclist’s perspective

Cycling UK is looking to supply police throughout the country with a virtual reality film that will educate drivers about the dangers of passing cyclists too closely. The national cycling charity is looking to raise £15,000 to provide the film and a VR headset to every UK police force free of charge.

The thinking is that while every cyclist knows the horrible feeling of suffering a dangerously close pass, many drivers don’t – and from inside their car they simply may not realise the risk they’re posing to the cyclist.

The 360 degree VR ‘Too Close For Comfort’ film puts drivers ‘in the saddle’ to experience a close pass from a cyclist’s perspective.

In one scenario, filmed with specially trained stunt actors, the driver carries out a dangerous close pass manoeuvre. In the second scenario, the driver waits for a suitable passing point and gives the cyclist plenty of room.

“Often drivers pass too close to cyclists out of ignorance rather than though malicious intent,” explained Cycling UK’s Head of Campaigns, Duncan Dollimore. “If we can get them to change their perspective and see what it’s like from the cyclist’s point of view, we believe this could have a profound effect on driver behaviour.”

The charity has spoken to a range of police forces who have indicated that they would find the headset and VR film useful. They also have the backing of West Midlands Police, who pioneered the close pass operations that were subsequently rolled out by many other forces.

Last year, 970 people funded Cycling UK’s ‘close pass mats’, which allow officers to carry out roadside education as part of their close pass operations. Almost every police force in the UK took up the offer and accepted one.

PC Mark Hodson, of West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team, said: "Our ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ campaign 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.

“Since our operations began in autumn 2016, thanks to Cycling UK’s provision of close pass mats, police forces across the country are helping drivers to understand the dangers of close passing.

“By introducing VR, we’ll have a new innovative tool that will help people not just understand but also experience a close pass – which is a valuable learning experience.

“However there’s only so much educating we can do. The long and short of it is that drivers who pose the greatest threat of harm on our roads need to get their house in order, or we’ll do it for them.”

You can find and donate to the Kickstarter project here.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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7 comments

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iandusud | 5 years ago
2 likes

A great innitiative but surley the DFT if approached should cough up 15k in a heartbeat. It's a drop in the ocean of their funding. They should be delighted that Cycling UK is doing their job for them.

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brooksby replied to iandusud | 5 years ago
0 likes
iandusud wrote:

A great innitiative but surley the DFT if approached should cough up 15k in a heartbeat. It's a drop in the ocean of their funding. They should be delighted that Cycling UK is doing their job for them.

/sarcasm=on

But they're the Department for Transport.  You know: proper grown up transport.  Not two wheeled toys.  Be serious.

/sarcasm=off

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vonhelmet | 5 years ago
1 like

So long as there’s 5 traffic policemen across the entire country, this will achieve nothing. Sorry, but there it is.

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burtthebike | 5 years ago
0 likes

An excellent initiative from Cycling UK, and hopefully it will lead to better driving and maybe road.cc's "close pass of the day" will fizzle out from lack of material.  It should be made part of the driving test so that there is no excuse for ignorance.

I will bung them the suggested £15 immediately, looking on it as a purely selfish investment in my own safety.  Cheaper than a helmet and much more effective.

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BehindTheBikesheds | 5 years ago
1 like

The problem is and this is reflected in the WMP initiay=tive, it used experienced cyclists, ones who are attuned to close passes, what may not bother or induce fear of harm to an experienced cyclist is very likely to for a child, a much older person or smeone who rarely if ever rides on the roads.

IMHO 1.5m from the centre of a bike is often not a big enough distance to be overtaken by a motorist. A slower cyclist doing say 8-10mph being overtaken by a bus/van/HGV doing just 30mph at a distance at 1.5m from the centre of their bike is a scary prospect, it's not pleasant even for very experience cyclists. This is why reducing the speed limits of the road and enforcing this in the strictest manner possible (by force of restricting the vehicles electroniclally) is as important if not more so than just the distance alone. being passed at a much slower speed one would feel less intimidation even if that overtaking distance were subtly less than the 1.5m at a higher speed.

This is why I don't agree with the 1.5m campaign, it's ambiguous, doesn't take into account bigger vehicles, speed not indeed the person riding who are hugely different. A 7 year old if not younger should be able to cycle on the road and not feel any fear of harm and motorists should be taking 100% of the responsibility to ensure they come to no harm, that means understanding what young and the less able will likely do. They are not unknown actions and are utterly predictable. 

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Recumbenteer | 5 years ago
1 like

Supported.

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CXR94Di2 | 5 years ago
6 likes

What a good idea, just hope the police adopt it 

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