Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Crowdfunding for police

Devon and Cornwall Police have at last agreed to start implementing a Close Pass initiative, such as that first done by West Mids Police.
The short version is that West Mids Police had done their homework, and reviewed all their crash data. This showed the primary causes of crashes, and delving deeper into the data they were able to determine that cyclists hardly ever cause crashes.
Yes, despite what you UKIP uncle always likes to claim. But don't take my word for it - read for yourself: https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/2016/09/09/junction-malfunction-and-a-new-dawn/

They also determined that one of the greatest threats to cyclists are from drivers who overtake, often at high speed, without giving sufficient space.

For those that don't understand how big a deal this is, think back of sitting in a queue of cars at temporary traffic lights, and feeling the car you're in shake with the force of the wind created by oncoming traffic.
Alternatively, try standing on a train platform when a high-speed train is due to come by without stopping. Be sure to stand with your back to the approaching train, and to stand between the yellow line and the platform edge. There is a very valid reason that yellow line is there, and why station staff will tell you to step away from the platform edge!

West Mids Police's initiative was so successful, it's being rolled out to many other police forces. In fact, it's being implemented by all but the most backward-thinking police forces.

To assist with the programme being rolled out to many different police forces, Cycling UK crowdfunded the cost of the training mats used to educate drivers. The total cost was £12 000, and that was met within weeks.

This led me to set up a crowdfunding page, with the aim to raise the money to buy a GoPro forward-facing camera, and a Fly6 rear camera for the police cyclists to use. You can see that page here: https://www.gofundme.com/d-c-police-cycle-cameras. The reason behind this campaign was to ensure that the entire initiative would be completely cost-neutral to police, thereby ensuring lack of budgets cannot be used as an excuse not to deliver the initiative.

As you will see, the target is a very modest £350, which I thought would very soon be achieved.

Sadly, I was mistaken. Not only did the crowdfunding campaign not take off, but I've beein on the receiving end of quite a lot of criticism from other cyclists. Oddly enough, none of those cyclists had any issue with Cycling UK having crowdfunded the mats.

I've heard all the arguments against crowdfunding the cost of the cameras, and to me, none of those hold up. In fact, I see no difference between crowdfunding this and fundraising to purchase additional hospital equipment. After all, both would help to save lives.

So if you think you can help, even with just a small contribution, please do so? Every penny raised will be fully accounted for, and any surplus money (which doesn't currently look very likely) will be donated to the Cyclists' Defence Fund