Almost a year ago, the BBC made a program entitled “War On Britain’s Roads”. Many people who were approached about the idea welcomed it with open arms, as if it was finally something that evenly shows what is really happening on the roads with no bias. Wrong.
It turned out to be, essentially, a 60 minutes of cyclist-shaming that mostly showed the most extreme cases of cyclists being at fault. The cycling community was angry, and were right to be.
This morning, a tweet by @tomstaniford, a brilliant para-cyclist caught my attention. I have included it below:
Constantly amazed how every road safety campaign seems to focus on cyclists, as if this relatively safe minority cause all the road deaths?
— Tom Staniford (@tomstaniford) August 5, 2013
After doing some digging, it appears that it is referring to @Velocentric’s tweet which I’ve also included below:
— Alex Oates (@Velocentric) August 5, 2013
Woah, hold up. This is almost a repeat of the War On Britain’s Roads calamity – as if it is carefully orchestrated to undo any positive cycling PR from Ride London. Yet again we are seeing a campaign that is showing cyclists at fault for accidents. I am not denying that some cyclists run red lights – some do, but the majority don’t. The numbers I found put it around the 5-10% mark, and usually on pedestrian crossings where there is often just a couple of people crossing. The advert doesn’t even make sense, let alone help anyone stay more safe
There is no question as to who is going to win between a 10kg bike vs a 1 ton car. I have found no cases of a cyclist killing a car driver, yet many many cases of drivers killing cyclists – almost always with the driver of the car or lorry at fault. Surely it would make sense to target the bigger, more obvious threat?
Nice Way Code have tried to do just this with another advert. Apparently the way to teach drivers how to treat cyclists is to show patronising scenes of cyclists being treated like a horse before 10 seconds briefly detailing the most basic rules that should be common sense.
It is worth noting that it doesn’t seem like the whole campaign has been launched yet, or at least I hope not. @NiceWayCode are getting a lot of backlash on Twitter but have remained silent so far, and I will update this article with any comment that they make regarding the matter.
What are your thoughts about the campaign? Is it a step too far or harmless fun? Let me know in the comments. I’ll be sitting back watching my new Orient timing their response.