THINK! Again (7th October 2016)

A rather disappointing advert from Department for Transport has triggered a protest letter from Cycling UK.

Below is my extended version of the e-mail their system sends. Feel free to use this if you agree with it. Edit or amend it as you see fit. Or use the original version they provide. Or even write your own.

Dear Minister,

Please can I urge you to listen to the constructive criticism that has come from road safety and cycling groups, such as Cycling UK, and withdraw the THINK Hang Back campaign.

It is a one dimensional campaign that is victim blaming, mocks death for entertainment rather than educational value, and does not address the root of the problem namely unsafe lorries.

On Friday 30 September, we saw the London Mayor listen to Cycling UKs calls to introduce a road map which would phase out unsafe lorries. This move illustrates a concerted effort to address the danger unsafe lorry design which has been widely welcomed and praised.

I urge you to drop this insulting video. The THINK campaign would never warn people to avoid the roads because of drunk driving, but would tackle the problem. Please do the same with Hang Back, and engage with road safety and cycling organisations to make a campaign which will inform and have impact.

Yours sincerely,

Ben Millard

P.S. Here as an eloquent comment I found on an alternative edit on YouTube which highlights the ambiguity caused by too fast editing,absence of lead-up footage and absence of point-of-view from the both cab and bicycle. The use of cartoons, violence (boxing, wildlife rutting) and gruesome imagery (butchery) make a mockery of a situation which is all too often life-and-death for the victim, their families and don't forget the conscience of the surviving participant.

MrPorhtnasim1 week ago

I just sent the following complaint to the Department of Transport and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), I suggest you do the same:

Today I came across a new THINK! Road safety campaign video which urges cyclists to hang back. See

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7lBvN80JaQ

http://assets.dft.gov.uk.s3.amazonaws.com/think/think-downloads/cycling/19-09-16-Think-Cycle-Safety-Caught-between_V2.mov

After carefully analysing this video, I urge you to withdraw it, as it encourages unlawful and dangerous behaviour of motorists. Please let me describe in detail what I mean by that.

In the video a cyclist collides with a left turning HGV. As only a short sequence of what precedes the left turn is being shown, it is unclear what led to this situation in the first place. Did the HGV just overtake the cyclist, or did the cyclist ride into the gap between the curb and the HGV? The video clearly allows for both interpretations, where the first one would clearly be in violation of rules 167(1, 6, and 9) and 182. But let me take the benefit of the doubt and assume that this is not what led to the situation and it was the cyclists who foolishly moved into the gap.

First, in the video the HGV starts signalling once it makes the turn, which is again in violation with rule 182, which requires left turning vehicles to give a left-turn signal well before you turn left.

Second, throughout the scene, the cyclist should be visible in either the class IV wide angle rear view mirror, or the class V side close proximity mirror of the HGV. Both are required by law, and are visibly installed on the HGV. If correctly installed, the first creates a field of vision of at least 4m wide from the left of the vehicle and starting behind the cabin. The latter creates a field of vision right next to the cabin of at least 2m width. This means, that a driver who in line with rule 182 uses the mirrors before the turn, and considers that cyclists, motorcyclists and other road users in particular may be hidden from your view should have realised that there was a cyclist, and slowed down and/or abandoned the left turn. What we rather see, is an HGV making a dangerously fast left turn without checking its mirrors. The speed of the turn makes it even more irresponsible, as the driver would not be able to stop in time for pedestrians who might be crossing the road in the side road who, if they have started to cross before the HGV makes the turn, have priority (rule 170).

So, irrespective of what led to the critical situation, the ad is socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour which violates the highway code and is prejudicial to health and safety. I therefore urge you to stop screening this ad.?