22 June 2017 – 10:12am
The germ of #TooCloseForComfort campaign began in Birmingham with two officers from West Midlands Police, PCs Steve Hudson and Mark Hodson. We supported it from the very first, calling it the “best cyclist road safety initiative ever”. Simply by sending plain clothes officers out on bikes, and pulling over drivers who passed too close, West Midlands Police began an education and enforcement action which changed driver behaviour overnight, and saw a reduction in reported close passes by 50 per cent.
It’s probably fair to say that most drivers who overtake too closely do so more through ignorance of the danger than malice. Understanding this, the force began educating the drivers through the means of a ‘close pass’ mat on how to overtake cyclists safely.
A number of officers from across the UK showed real interest in West Midlands’ activity, and Cycling UK decided that a close pass mat for every police force would help provide the right nudge and incentive to start setting up their own operations.
We therefore launched our #TooCloseForComfort fundraising campaign, and in less than 48 hours, we had achieved our £12,000 target on Kickstarter. By the end of April, thanks to our 970 backers we saw a total of £14,568 pledged, which we’ve used to fund free mats for the forces who wanted one too.