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News Report Page 7 of 10
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Christmas comes early to English Police due to Cycling UK

SANTA came early this year to England's Police Forces, as Oculus Go headsets were delivered to 11 Forces to help them educate drivers who pass cyclists too closely. The headsets each come programmed with a short virtual reality (VR) film produced by charity Cycling UK. These educational films allow drivers to experience what it feels like to be close passed by car from a cyclist's perspective and explains how to overtake cyclists safely. Highway Code Rule 163 advises drivers to:- "give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car," advice which Cycling UK says is too vague.

Following input from Forces leading on road safety for cyclists, Surrey and West Midlands Police, Cycling UK produced their short film to be used in operations where Police pull over and educate drivers who have failed to drive safely as they pass cyclists. The charity ran its:- "Too Close for Comfort" fundraiser campaign via the crowd funding website, Kickstarter, to contribute towards the making of the film and the distribution of Oculus Go headsets to all 45 Police Forces operating in the
UK. In less than a week Cycling UK smashed its target of ₤15k, raising over ₤17k in 28 days.

The film was trialled in operation by West Midlands Police, in October 2018, where 1 woman pulled over, who did not wish to give her name, said after her instruction:- "That's changed my perspective; I'd never have thought to give cyclists that much room before."

Cycling UK has now sent out the 1st headsets to 9 Forces and is encouraging the other 36 Forces operating in the UK to get in touch so they can send out the rest.

1 of the early receivers of the VR headset is PC Steve Hudson, of West Midlands Police Road Harm Reduction Team 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 sent headsets are:-


Suffolk and Norfolk (joint operations)

North Yorkshire

Cleveland and Durham (joint operations)


Avon and Somerset



West Midlands

The remaining 34 Forces will received their headsets in the new year. The Government in October 2018 pledged to introduce a new Highway Code that:- "will highlight how to avoid the dangers of close passing."

Yet another British High Street name might be lost for ever!

THE origins of HMV began at the dawn of the disc gramophone, in the 1902 and lead to its distinctive trade mark name:- "His Master's Voice." By 1899, a painting was bought by the Gramophone Company of a dog called:- "Nipper" listening to a cylinder phonograph, painted by Francis Barraud. But it was not until 1921 that the firm opened its 1st store, located on Oxford Street, London. In 1931 the Gramophone Company merged with Columbia Graphophone Company to form Electric and Musical Industries Ltd (EMI) and HMV started to manufactured radios, radiograms and what was a new development, television sets! By the 1960's HMV had become the biggest specialist music retailer within the UK, but it was facing off new competition, so it was forced to adapt, by 1990's however, the outlook was looking very good for them. HMV even started to open stores in the US. Then as the millennium hit, following new acquisitions of Waterstone's and Dillons, HMV was floated on the London Stock Exchange, in 2002. This is when most industry experts think the problems started for the firm. With mounting pressure from a new form of competition, unlike in the 1990's, the firm was slow to adapt to the growing changes within the internet business. Like most UK businesses, such as Woolworths, it's management did not really understand the threat or how to deal with online retail. What was nearly the end came on 15 January 2013; suspending shares, HMV Group appointed Deloitte as company administrators.

Thanks to a rescue deal, the UK part of the firm was acquired by Hilco UK, in April 2013 Again things started to look up and by 2014, HMV took 2nd highest share of the UK's entertainment market, coming in just behind Amazon. Sadly, 6 years on, HMV confirmed it had again been placed into administration. On 28 December 2018, it cited:- "a tsunami of retail competition and a weak Christmas period" as the main reason for the move. This is due to the huge challenges faced by retailers all over the retail sector and changes in consumer behaviour. For HMV the internet is killing its traditional market, thanks to online streaming media services. 1 of the biggest draws for customers to online services is the selection as well as the cheaper prices being offered. Sadly online businesses are often not UK based, so staff overheads are less, and they do not have to have as many staff. Plus the online outlets often do not have the other associated costs connected to physical stores, so despite HMV growing its market share in 2018, the worry is that HMV's current model might be seen by potential buyers as "unsustainable." Add to that the ever increasing Business Rates, along with the often astronomical rents, that are often disproportionate to the trade being taken within that property, not forgetting the many other UK Government policies, have led all areas of the UK retail business facing a situation that is increasingly "unsustainable." Industry experts are now saying that this could very well be the death of yet another much loved British High Street name. They are warning, that with Brexit looming, HMV could be 1 of many, unless the UK Government quickly acts to help retailers, of all sizes, like they did the Banks. But due to the complexities of Brexit, the likelihood of the UK Government acting in time, is increasingly slim. If you work within UK retail, are looking to set up a retail business, or run a retail business and require support and/or guidance, take a look at the Retail Trust's website or all them on:- 0808 801 0808. Alternatively you can also send them an email to:- Telpline@RetailTrust.Org.UK.

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