Virtual Reality films to teach drivers how to overtake cyclists safely
Virtual reality (VR) headsets have been delivered to 11 forces to educate motorists on overtaking cyclists.
The Oculus Go headsets feature a 360-degrees VR film, created by charity Cycling UK, designed to give the experience of what it is like to be ‘close-passed’ by a car while cycling on the road.
The charity estimates that close-passing contributes to 25 per cent of collisions between cyclists and large vehicles.
The film ‘Too Close for Comfort’ also educates users on how to safely overtake a cyclist on the road.
Using input from Surrey Police and West Midlands Police, the film has been gifted to forces across England to be used in operations where police pull over motorists who have failed to safely overtake a cyclist.
The remaining 34 forces operating in the UK will receive their headsets in the new year.
The VR educational film was made possible thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, raising £15,000 in less than a week.
In a trial by West Midlands Police, a woman who was pulled over said that the film “changed my perspective – I’d never have thought to give cyclists that much room before”.
PC Steve Hudson, of West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team (RHRT) said: “At West Midlands Police RHRT, we’ve long seen the benefit of using VR film to help educate road users. Using Cycling UK’s new film on how to overtake cyclists safely we’re looking forward to helping more people understand not just how to overtake cyclists safely, but also why it’s so important.”
Keir Gallagher, Cycling UK’s campaigns officer, said: “It’s the time for giving, so I’m glad we’ve helped Christmas come a little early for nine forces. The support from the police and public has been really encouraging, and Cycling UK is keen get the rest of the headsets out to all our forces in the new year.
“Cycling UK knows most people don’t deliberately set out to intimidate another road user when driving, but unless you cycle, you’re unlikely to realise how dangerous close passing can be. This film will allow those drivers to experience the threat from safety and will make our roads safer for everyone.”
The 11 forces to receive the headsets are:
- Suffolk & Norfolk (joint operations)
- North Yorkshire
- Cleveland & Durham (joint operations)
- Avon & Somerset
- West Midlands