Hundreds back initiative that will see mats marking out safe passing distance distributed to police forces across the UK

Cycling UK has taken less than 48 hours to smash a £12,000 target on Kickstarter, where it was raising funds to help police forces across the country roll out close pass campaigns similar to the one launched by West Midlands Police last year.

As we reported on Thursday, the national cyclists’ charity aims to buy 50 ‘close pass mats’ that mark out a 1.5 metre passing distance and which police officers can use to educate drivers about how much room they should give someone on a bike.

> Cycling UK turns to crowdfunding to help roll out close pass initiative to whole country

With the target reached on Friday evening, it will now be able to distribute those to police forces throughout the country, some of which have already welcomed its ‘Too Close For Comfort’ initiative, including Gloucestershire Police.

A spokesperson for the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership said: “Gloucestershire Police are delighted to be supporting Cycling UK’s clever and imaginative Close-Pass Free Mat Scheme.

“We know how easily a simple mistake like passing too close to a cyclist can either end up putting off a rider or much worse end in tragedy.

“So we are determined to raise the responsibility we all have in sharing the road safely with everybody else, whether they’re in a another car or on a bike.

“We wish Cycling UK every success in this scheme and look forward to running the Close-Pass initiative in Gloucestershire very soon.”

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

Launching the Kickstarter campaign, the charity’s chief executive Paul Tuohy said: “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!”

Yesterday, after the target had been reached, he added: “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.”

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


Stephan Matthiesen [66 posts] 10 months ago

This good initiative is spoiled by painting a 0.75m arrow from the kerb onto it. Why did Cycling UK included that at all, and not just focus on the overtaking distance? It reinforces the perception that cyclists should hug the kerb.

I also like the detail of the painted-on drain covers. In real life, they are about 0.5m wide and often have another 0.2-0.3m road defects around them, so the cyclist at 0.75m from the kerb has a really high risk of hitting them when they swerve just a little bit, for example if they have to look over their shoulder to check for overtaking cars. This is why it is often recommended that cyclists stay away from the kerb, and Cycling UK may even have made similar recommendations in the past.

This small kerb distance on this educational mat has been criticised for months, and while it's understandable that WMP didn't perhaps think about this particular detail when designing their original mat, it is really disheartening to see that Cycling UK has missed this widespread criticism completely and missed the opportunity to improve this otherwise excellent initiative.

Perhaps it's not too late to redesign that mat that goes out to police forces? Leave the painted drain covers on it though and add a few painted potholes too, and use them to show drivers why cyclists often have to swerve!

Deeferdonk [118 posts] 10 months ago

Erm, I think i would have just saved everyone approx  £11,900 and bought fifty tape measures and fifty boxes of chalk. 

Seriousley,  but if Cycling uk really want to spend £240 on a bit of lino with some numbers painted on, i'll get my stencils out and give them a discount.


Deeferdonk [118 posts] 10 months ago
1 like

Or how about a kickstarter to pay someone to write in the next edition of the highway code an explicit minimum legal distance to overtake a cyclist.

Yorkshire wallet [1639 posts] 10 months ago

Looks to me like 'cycling UK invents 75cm cycle lane markers'.