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Charity has already raised 40 per cent of funds it needs to give a close pass mat to every police force in the country

Cycling UK has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to help ensure that the close pass initiative launched by West Midlands Police last September is adopted by police forces across the country.

The national cyclists’ charity plans to use the £12,000 it is hoping to raise to buy 50 ‘close pass mats’ for roads policing units throughout the UK.

It says that it has already held discussions with a number of police forces who have welcomed its initiative – and it is already 40 per cent of the way towards its target despite only launching its campaign on the crowdfunding platform this morning.

West Midlands Police already deploys a close pass mat as part of its widely praised and award winning Too Close For Comfort campaign, which has been adopted by a number of other forces.

> Close pass policing could be rolled out to 16 forces: is yours one?

Plain clothes officers on bikes alert colleagues to drivers who have made close passes, who are then pulled over and, with the help of the mat, shown the minimum safe passing distance when overtaking a cyclist. Some of the drivers were prosecuted for careless driving.

The campaign received nationwide publicity, and the force says that the number of reported close passes fell by 50 per cent in the three months after it was launched.

> West Midlands Police say close pass operation has halved poor overtaking offences

Cycling UK chief executive, Paul Tuohy, said: “Last September, West Midlands Police showed the UK what a little bit of innovation could do to make a difference to road safety. I’m pleased to say that forces up and down the land took note, and many have shown a real interest in running similar operations.

“It’s well known our police forces have been clobbered with years of cuts from central government. They’re doing a great job given the circumstances, and hearing of the enthusiasm from several forces for West Midlands’ close pass operation, we thought we’d try and give them a little helping hand.”

He added: “Cycling UK launched ‘Too Close for Comfort’ with the specific aim of raising £12,000. With this money, we plan to buy the close pass mats in bulk, which will save close to £28,000, and pass these on for free to our forces.

“If West Midlands’ success is anything to go by, they will help make cycling and our roads safer across the whole UK – that’s surely worth parting with a few bob for!”

PC Steve Hudson of West Midlands Police, one of the officers behind the original initiative, said: “The driving test is the minimum standard, if you don’t drive or ride to that standard every time you get on the road you are part of the problem, be honest with yourselves.

“That’s why we set up our Give Space, Be Safe operation last September – to help remind people of those standards they might have forgotten.

“It’s great to see how Give Space, Be Safe has taken off, and we’re fully behind Cycling UK’s plan to supply every force with a close pass mat – they really can make a difference,” he added.

This video uploaded to YouTube yesterday shows the type of close pass with which any cyclist will be familiar – in this case, the motorist being a bus driver in Nottinghamshire.

> Close pass policing could stop almost a third of crashes that kill or seriously injure cyclists

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

19 comments

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DaveE128 [952 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

That bus one is appalling.  2 The police response is equally so, and their grammar isn't any better!  2

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HalfWheeler [667 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
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Gourmet Shot [173 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

its made even better by the fact that he close passes then pulls over anyway.  Asshole.

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mattsccm [361 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

The principle is excellent, the datil is not. Giving a mat to each force. And just how much use will that be?   Unless it gets to national news, and the local press and is demonstrated in every town and city every day of the week it won't be noticed.

Some might say that anything is better than nothing but I just feel that its a token gesture that wastes resources.

I also don't like the idea of a set distance. 1.5 metres may be sound in urban areas or quite and slow country roads but that is a killer distance when passed by a transit or lorry at 60mph.

Nice try, not enough.

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a.jumper [850 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

0.75m is wrong, contrary to official advice and a distraction from the message. We are Cycling UK? You clearly aren't Cycling if you think 0.75m is enough space, or that clearance should be measured from the tyre instead of the handlebars. Hang your heads in shame, crowdfunders!

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SingleSpeed [378 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

"0.75m is wrong, contrary to official advice and a distraction from the message. We are Cycling UK? You clearly aren't Cycling if you think 0.75m is enough space, or that clearance should be measured from the tyre instead of the handlebars. Hang your heads in shame, crowdfunders!"

 

Excuse me if I'm wrong isn't it saying that the rider should 75cm from the kerb and the overtake should give at least 1.5m?

thats what it looks like to me from the graphic

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brooksby [2696 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes
SingleSpeed wrote:

"0.75m is wrong, contrary to official advice and a distraction from the message. We are Cycling UK? You clearly aren't Cycling if you think 0.75m is enough space, or that clearance should be measured from the tyre instead of the handlebars. Hang your heads in shame, crowdfunders!"

 

Excuse me if I'm wrong isn't it saying that the rider should 75cm from the kerb and the overtake should give at least 1.5m?

thats what it looks like to me from the graphic

If we are already arguing about what the 'safe distance' mat is actually saying, then I think the whole thing's a non-starter...

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Morat [280 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

Hmm, in the bus pass above I think the bus driver has a strong case because they were in separate lanes. Had the cyclist already pulled out into the right hand lane he'd have a legitimate complaint. Sadly he'd also probably be road pizza  2

This is a situation where taking up more road makes you safer, although I'm not sure I'd fancy my chances of surviving doing the right thing. With 20:20 hindsight I would have stopped before the parked cars.

Are there any legal types out there who could give a more qualified opinion? I'd like to be wrong on this.

 

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

Agree with the criticism unfortunately.

There's two numbers, made worse by use of decimals, and four lines. Seriously that is not how you educate masses of idiots on any issue, regardless of what is right or wrong about the actual numbers themselves.

 

I'm sure we can make this better. Off the top of my head:

 

 

CLOSER THAN A METER.

[-------------------------------]

LOSE YOUR LICENSE.

 

Can throw in a c**t after license, if feeling frisky.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

OUR POLICE FORCE WANT CYCLIST CAMERA FOOTAGE OF CLOSE PASSES.

WE WILL HAND OUT A £300 FINE AND 6 POINTS TO EVERY DRIVER YOU CATCH.

WE WILL REWARD YOU WITH £150.

HELP US GET DANGEROUS DRIVERS OFF THE ROADS.

 

Effective poster campaign. 

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CygnusX1 [628 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes
unconstituted wrote:

I'm sure we can make this better. Off the top of my head:

 

CLOSER THAN A METER.

[-------------------------------]

LOSE YOUR LICENSE.

 

Can throw in a c**t after license, if feeling frisky.

Sorry, the pedant in me can't help it...

CLOSER THAN A METRE.

[-------------------------------]

LOSE YOUR LICENSE.

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes

PASSING CLOSE TO A CYCLIST IS NOW ATTEMPTED MURDER.

ENJOY LIFE BEHIND BARS YOU CONVICT.

 

enlightened

 

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tritecommentbot [2268 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
CygnusX1 wrote:
unconstituted wrote:

I'm sure we can make this better. Off the top of my head:

 

CLOSER THAN A METER.

[-------------------------------]

LOSE YOUR LICENSE.

 

Can throw in a c**t after license, if feeling frisky.

Sorry, the pedant in me can't help it...

CLOSER THAN A METRE.

[-------------------------------]

LOSE YOUR LICENSE.

 

No worries, thanks for the reminder.

 

 

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EK Spinner [80 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes

The bus one is strange, close as it is, the cylist is in lane 1, the bus is passing in lane 2. there are parked cars in lane 1 and the cyclist doesn't appear to change thier speed, they do position themselves to the right of the lane but only change lane while right at the parked cars thus making the pass exceedingly close.

I don't know what signals (if any) the cyclist was giving to show  thier intention of changing lanes but that only shows your intention, it doesn't change priority and give a right to pull out.

If the bus driver was reading the road correctly then a considerate driver would have allowed them space to pull out rather than creating this situation, but I think it would be very difficult to get any driving charge to stick in this case.

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EK Spinner [80 posts] 9 months ago
3 likes

And I am not overly keen on the mat, it could be interpreted by some as saying that we need to be 0.75m from the kerb, but thier logic from there will be that any further out is "using space designated for a car" and some will then fell it is thier job to remind us of this by "enforcing" the "rule" 

 

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ChrisB200SX [563 posts] 9 months ago
0 likes
EK Spinner wrote:

The bus one is strange, close as it is, the cylist is in lane 1, the bus is passing in lane 2. there are parked cars in lane 1 and the cyclist doesn't appear to change thier speed, they do position themselves to the right of the lane but only change lane while right at the parked cars thus making the pass exceedingly close.

I don't know what signals (if any) the cyclist was giving to show  thier intention of changing lanes but that only shows your intention, it doesn't change priority and give a right to pull out.

If the bus driver was reading the road correctly then a considerate driver would have allowed them space to pull out rather than creating this situation, but I think it would be very difficult to get any driving charge to stick in this case.

The close pass happens before the parked cars, the bus driver barely misses the guy, a bit of white paint on the tarmac does NOT make this OK.

Also, the bus is tailgating the cyclist, right on his shoulder, virtually forcing him into the cycle/bus lane.

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DaveE128 [952 posts] 9 months ago
4 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
EK Spinner wrote:

The bus one is strange, close as it is, the cylist is in lane 1, the bus is passing in lane 2. there are parked cars in lane 1 and the cyclist doesn't appear to change thier speed, they do position themselves to the right of the lane but only change lane while right at the parked cars thus making the pass exceedingly close.

I don't know what signals (if any) the cyclist was giving to show  thier intention of changing lanes but that only shows your intention, it doesn't change priority and give a right to pull out.

If the bus driver was reading the road correctly then a considerate driver would have allowed them space to pull out rather than creating this situation, but I think it would be very difficult to get any driving charge to stick in this case.

The close pass happens before the parked cars, the bus driver barely misses the guy, a bit of white paint on the tarmac does NOT make this OK.

Also, the bus is tailgating the cyclist, right on his shoulder, virtually forcing him into the cycle/bus lane.

I don't think the cyclist's choice of road positioning is at all wise - choose a lane and take it, don't hover around the line between the two - but that doesn't excuse the bus driver passing far too close, at speed. It's still abysmal driving.

I'd not have continued past the parked cars with the bus already performing the close pass, but again, this doesn't excuse the driving.

My approach would have been to cycle down the centre of the bus lane, indicate right, and pull out and taken the full lane before the bus could get there. I think it would be safer this way. If it wasn't safe to pull in front of the bus, I'd have opted to slow down and wait for it to pass, however little right he has to get in front. However, once again, I am not in any way condoning the driver's choice to proceed with an overtake when it wasn't safe to do so, and I don't think the bus company should have been doing so. The attitude of the police is the more appalling than the bus company though - seems to be pretty much, "you didn't get killed or maimed - what are you moaning about?"

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LastBoyScout [330 posts] 9 months ago
5 likes
DaveE128 wrote:

That bus one is appalling.  2 The police response is equally so, and their grammar isn't any better!  2

No, I think the response was spot on in this case - "she has advised that the bus doesn't deviate from his lane, and if your lane is impeded it would perhaps be prudent to wait until lane two was clear".

I think the cyclist caused the problem here due to his own road positioning - although that doesn't excuse the bus driver from passing him that close when he was going to stop a short distance later anyway.

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EK Spinner [80 posts] 9 months ago
1 like
ChrisB200SX wrote:
EK Spinner wrote:

The bus one is strange, close as it is, the cylist is in lane 1, the bus is passing in lane 2. there are parked cars in lane 1 and the cyclist doesn't appear to change thier speed, they do position themselves to the right of the lane but only change lane while right at the parked cars thus making the pass exceedingly close.

I don't know what signals (if any) the cyclist was giving to show  thier intention of changing lanes but that only shows your intention, it doesn't change priority and give a right to pull out.

If the bus driver was reading the road correctly then a considerate driver would have allowed them space to pull out rather than creating this situation, but I think it would be very difficult to get any driving charge to stick in this case.

The close pass happens before the parked cars, the bus driver barely misses the guy, a bit of white paint on the tarmac does NOT make this OK.

Also, the bus is tailgating the cyclist, right on his shoulder, virtually forcing him into the cycle/bus lane.

The bus is not tailgating him, at the previous lights the bus is in lane 2 and he stays in lane 2 all the way through the overtake. It is only close because the cycist has chosen to right at the extreme right edge of the lane and compounds it by squeezing into the gap between the bus and the parked cars, he needs to be in lane 2 to pass the parked cars and shoud move from lane 1 to lane 2 when it is safe to do so.

I will accept that the close pass starts before the parked cars but as I said he is in lane 2 and there is space for him to pass any vehicle using lane 1. If however the rider was indicating his intention to pull into lane 2 (we need to see the bus camera footage for that) and was forced to abandon that manouvre then I will look on this differently.