Good Press / Bad Press cycling and cyclists are rarely out of the news. One day it’s an Olympic Gold Rush. The next TUE shame. Cycling sells newspapers and generates clicks. Even an advert about cycling safety makes the headlines. For all the wrong reasons.
Think! (that unspeakable road safety advert)
Cyclists hated it because it patronisingly blamed cyclists (that was lost on me). Non-cyclists hated cyclists for hating the advert trying to save their lives. It also reminded non-cyclists that they had to share the road with cyclists which made them hate it too (and probably hate cyclists more than they already did). The media loved it, it filled a slow news day and gave them the opportunity to further fuel the cyclists v non-cyclists feud that sells newspapers and generates clicks (see what’s going on here?). When did the simple act of riding a bicycle become so hateful?
I liked it. There I’ve said it. I didn’t feel persecuted, victimised, ridiculed or shamed. I liked the fact that someone somewhere was looking out for me. That they had spent a large amount of the Department of Transport’s funds on making an advert to highlight cycle-safety. Let’s face it if it been just another dull public safety advert we’d all have ignored it.
As I cycled to work and thought about squeezing up the inside of a Tipper Truck to gain 10 maybe 20 valuable seconds on my commute (and get to my desk quicker?!) I thought about that advert. Instead, with it’s hard hitting images at the forefront of my mind, I passed to the right of the big scary truck into the oncoming traffic! At least I would make eye contact with the vehicle that wiped me out.
I’m hoping that other cyclists, whether they’re still grinding their teeth in patronised fury or not, thought about the advert too. Maybe the driver of the Tipper Truck thought about it. He doesn’t want to live with killing a cyclist for the rest of his life, or worse lose his job.
(Am I the only person out there who rides a bike, drives a car and walks?)