TfL warns cycle campaign group about poster copyright

Stop Killing Cyclists subverts TfL's posters in safety protest campaign

by John Stevenson   January 10, 2014  

Transport for London has warned cycling campaigners they may be “breaking copyright law” with a collection of protest images that use modified TfL posters to demand safer conditions on London’s roads.

The Stop Killing Cyclists campaign, founded by Donnachadh McCarthy and Steve Routley, organised the recent ‘die-in’ protest outside TfL headquarters. Through the group’s Facebook page they are encouraging supporters to distribute the modified posters via Facebook and Twitter.

Donnachadh McCarthy told road.cc that the graphics, launched on Wednesday night, had already spread round the world to countries as widely spread as Malaysia, Pakistan, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

In a statement launching the campaign, the Stop Killing Cyclists group hit out at the police and Transport for London’s response to the spate of deaths in November last year, in which six cyclists were killed on London’s roads in less than two weeks.

Stop Killing Cyclists said: “After the recent spate of cycling tragedies, Transport for London and the Metropolitan Police leadership instead of tackling the causes of the deaths and their killers, instead went on a destructive rampage of attacking cyclists and the Stop Killing Cyclists protests.

“They shamefully blamed the cyclists for their own deaths and outrageously blamed our protests for discouraging people from cycling.”

They claim that in the ensuing road safety campaign, Operation Safeway, cyclists were fined at a rate 35 times greater than drivers, proportionate to the numbers of road users, and none of that money went into the cycling safety budget.

Stop Killing Cyclists’ demands include:

  • £600 million spent per annum on cycle safety by TfL;
  • 10% of the Boroughs’ transport budgets to be spent on cycling infrastructure;
  • 2 TfL Board members representing cycling; and,
  • A fully integrated segregated cycle network within 5 years.

The group also claims that Transport for London’s road safety posters blame cyclists and pedestrians for becoming road crash victims. The ‘subverted’ poster campaign is a protest against this victim-blaming.

You can see all the posters at the Stop Killing Cyclists website.

A spokesperson for Transport for London told London24: “We totally respect of freedom and speech and people’s right to protest against any policy of ours, but they must be aware they can be breaking copyright law.”

TfL also repeated the bulk of a statement made by the organisation after the die-in protest last year: “We are all shaken by the recent spate of deaths on the roads, and our sympathies are with all the friends and families of those affected.

“That’s why we are investing nearly £1 billion in upgrading the existing superhighways with greater segregation, introducing major new segregated routes and backstreet quiet routes, and overhauling dozens of junctions to give more protection to cyclists."

 

However, campaigners dispute the implication that TfL is spending heavily on cycling facilities. 

McCarthy said: "TfL has been using the "billion" budget in every press response to our campaign - they are actually spending about £80 million per year at mo and are simply adding up 10 years notional budgets for future mayors.

"£80 million is out of an annual budget of £7,000 million and a capital budget for new Crossrail of £13,000 million that is, the usual crumbs but twice as much crumbs as under Ken."

TfL's statement continued: “Delivering such major improvements will take time, but we are working flat-out to do so. We and the Mayor have set out our plans and the first major improvements, such as the segregated extension of the Superhighway to Stratford, are now being seen.

“Over the forthcoming weeks and months Londoners will see many more improvements as the investment we are making bears fruit.”

It’s good to know the budget for cycling is not being wasted on writing new press statements.

29 user comments

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TfL says: "they must be aware they can be breaking copyright law ".

But as this report says: "In December 2012 the government announced that it would be modernising UK copyright law by providing a parody exception to give people 'greater freedom to use others' works for parody purposes'."

Sorry TfL, you're a bit late on this one.

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posted by Doctor Fegg [120 posts]
10th January 2014 - 17:36

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Perhaps TfL ought to put more energy into making cycling safer than they do into threats of legal action against people campaigning for safety.

Just a thought!

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [364 posts]
10th January 2014 - 17:47

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Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

posted by giobox [91 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:03

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oozaveared wrote:
Perhaps TfL ought to put more energy into making cycling safer than they do into threats of legal action against people campaigning for safety.

Just a thought!

Anything is a diversion to their apparent "smoothing the traffic flow" policy at the cost of human lives it seems.

posted by northstar [946 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:04

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As important as the Cafe Roubaix thing last month, but unlikely to get the same response via social media?

posted by allez neg [411 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:05

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giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

No, not an idiot. Just a naive cyclist. Should you need expert knowledge before you can cycle safely in London? If HGVs were banned from central London, or if there was a decent segregated cycle network, then you wouldn't need to be savvy to survive.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1303 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:12

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giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding?

It's just you, I'm afraid. Cyclists have every right to be in that very place. And if lorry drivers can't take corners properly, then why the hell are lorries allowed in any city?!

blog rowerowy - my blog about bicycles (written in Polish, but feel free to visit me! Smile )

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posted by mikroos [165 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:34

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Brilliant posters, it's good to see TFL's posters ridiculed. Lots of comments from 'I'm a cyclist and a HGV driver' types saying people are idiots for cycling into blind spots, but the question should be why are vehicles allowed on the road with such massive blind spots?
Compulsory low level cabs for all lorries entering urban areas, nothing more nothing less.

posted by belgravedave [158 posts]
10th January 2014 - 18:48

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Brilliant campaigning! We, (cyclists) get it, but will the major media, tv, radio personalities? I rage at their ignorance and thinly veiled comments that we are responsible for cycling incidents.

antonio

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posted by antonio [900 posts]
10th January 2014 - 19:13

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giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding?

Perhaps they were waiting at the junction & the lorry pulled up alongside them.

It's happened to me on more than one occasion and once the guy tried to beat me away from the lights & turn left. Absolutely terrifying & no doubt if I'd had the misfortune to go under his wheels there would have been no end of armchair crash investigators blaming me for 'undertaking' a HGV.

Also the lorry in the poster looks terribly positioned for the turn, the front half will cross into oncoming traffic & still the rear wheels will go over the corner of the pavement.

posted by tarquin_foxglove [73 posts]
10th January 2014 - 19:40

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giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

I think it is just you. For example, have your dim wits considered the possibility that the HGV pulled up alongside the cyclists AFTER they had arrived?

posted by Paul M [294 posts]
10th January 2014 - 20:58

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giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to paint cycle lanes that guide people on bikes to undertake a lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal road lane the riders up front would still be conditioned to do that.

Answer: yes, you would, and you'd have to issue official advice pointing out that what you'd done was idiotic. (Except obviously you'd spin it so as to imply that it was the people following your paint that were the idiots.)

http://beyondthekerb.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/tipping-out-the-paint

PS And, no, the people up front wouldn't be in a car's blind spot. Though one or two might be in a bad driver's "can't be bothered to look" spot.

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posted by Bez [336 posts]
10th January 2014 - 21:03

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I'd imagine once you have survived cycling in London for a few weeks, the potential action from TFL over alleged copyright law infringement just does not seem scary by comparison.

posted by paulmcmillan [71 posts]
10th January 2014 - 21:07

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Fair use. TFL doesn't have a leg to stand on. (They left them under that lorry up there).

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posted by PJ McNally [560 posts]
10th January 2014 - 21:14

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Paul M wrote:
giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

I think it is just you. For example, have your dim wits considered the possibility that the HGV pulled up alongside the cyclists AFTER they had arrived?

Yeah, this dimwit considered it and dismissed it immediately.

1) It is a highly unlikely event that twelve cyclists arrived first at a junction and all chose to wait patiently in a line leaving enough room for an HGV to pull up alongside. Not one of them in this situation thought to take the lane and prevent such an occurrence? It just doesn't happen in reality and if it did, they are all muppets.

2) In the event that an HGV driver had been daft enough to do such a thing and you were daft enough to let it happen, do you really think it would be sensible to just remain where you are in the blind spot? Any idea what might happen next when the HGV turns left?

I know what I would do, dismount and get me and my bike on the pavement, well out of the way as fast as possible, then remain there until the danger has passed. What would you do?

Maybe remain there and write into a forum later about how you got lefthooked by a blind HGV driving twat who wasn't using his mirrors ... blah, blah, bloody, blah? ....... Or maybe use that experience to design a dumbass cycle safety campaign poster that suggests that the average London cyclist is absolutely clueless?

Yeah, that's the ticket! That'll drum up public support. Silly

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
10th January 2014 - 22:03

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Well intentioned or not I do feel that stopthekilling keep their brains where their prostates should be. A picture of a left turning HGV at a junction and a string of untrained or mentally deficient cyclists positioned on its nearside will I am sure do wonders to dispel the myth that victims of cycling accidents are more often than not cycling like twats.

Wrong. 9/10 people seeing that poster will get the message:

"most of these #bloodycyclists are asking for it, positioning themselves in such a dumbass position, when everyone knows that all large vehicles have blindspots. Look! It even says so in the poster. Idiots. Can't they read?"

It is such an own goal, it beggars belief. My bottom jaw clanged on the desk when I saw the poster. This site badly needs a facepalm icon.

Now for some more home truths:

This HGV is lethal. Why is it allowed on London's roads?

Because it is carrying lots of useful stuff that people want or need to buy, like for example food, furniture, clothes, building materials, brand new shiny bicycles and spares .... you get the picture. It is also doing it's job very efficiently.

Why is it lethal?

Humans don't yet know how to build HGVs that are big and heavy enough to do the required job but completely incapable of killing someone in the event of a collision. But we are working on it.

So unless you have never ever bought anything from a London shop in your life and have no intention of doing so in future, don't be a hypocrite! You rely on HGVs just like the rest of us.

Other examples of large lethal but essential vehicles on London roads include, buses, coaches, ambulances, prison transportation, fire engines, tipper trucks, refuse collection vehicles ... etc. They all have blind spots. Should they be banned too?

Or maybe, we cyclists should be banned from busy roads if we are so certain that we cannot coexist with those making essential journeys in large vehicles?

I am sick of the politicised bullshit that has engulfed cycling in recent years. If organisations like stopthekilling are determined to turn this into a war between us and them ..... there can only possibly be one winner. Them.

Never in a hurry on a bicycle.

posted by GoingRoundInCycles [134 posts]
10th January 2014 - 22:10

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perhaps they shouldn't be providing infrastructure that encourages cycists to cycle up the left hand side of HGVs... it should be to proper Dutch standards which segragate cyclists and HGVs so that these incidents do not happen?

posted by Paul_C [116 posts]
10th January 2014 - 22:54

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Can we have an "unlike" button please?

posted by drmatthewhardy [226 posts]
10th January 2014 - 23:05

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There have been many deaths where HGV drivers have overtaken a cyclist then turned left - the picture above shows how dangerous this is.

I read recently that a redesign of drivers cabs to reduce blind spots is being held up by red tape.

London has some segregated cycle paths - around Tavistock Square for instance and they seem to work reasonably well (although at one end the planners have evidentially lost the plot by having riders switch lanes).

ASLs should encourage riders to get to the front via the outside of a vehicle not the inside. Time to paint them differently?

Incidentally on Euston Road tonight there was a PCSO telling drivers and other road users off for stopping in ASLs - she got a thumbs up from me.

If cycling is indeed a sport of self-abuse why aren't more cyclists sectioned under the mental health act?

posted by hairyairey [275 posts]
10th January 2014 - 23:33

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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:
Well intentioned or not I do feel that stopthekilling keep their brains where their prostates should be. A picture of a left turning HGV at a junction and a string of untrained or mentally deficient cyclists positioned on its nearside will I am sure do wonders to dispel the myth that victims of cycling accidents are more often than not cycling like twats.

Wrong. 9/10 people seeing that poster will get the message:

"most of these #bloodycyclists are asking for it, positioning themselves in such a dumbass position, when everyone knows that all large vehicles have blindspots. Look! It even says so in the poster. Idiots. Can't they read?"

It is such an own goal, it beggars belief. My bottom jaw clanged on the desk when I saw the poster. This site badly needs a facepalm icon.

Now for some more home truths:

This HGV is lethal. Why is it allowed on London's roads?

Because it is carrying lots of useful stuff that people want or need to buy, like for example food, furniture, clothes, building materials, brand new shiny bicycles and spares .... you get the picture. It is also doing it's job very efficiently.

Why is it lethal?

Humans don't yet know how to build HGVs that are big and heavy enough to do the required job but completely incapable of killing someone in the event of a collision. But we are working on it.

So unless you have never ever bought anything from a London shop in your life and have no intention of doing so in future, don't be a hypocrite! You rely on HGVs just like the rest of us.

Other examples of large lethal but essential vehicles on London roads include, buses, coaches, ambulances, prison transportation, fire engines, tipper trucks, refuse collection vehicles ... etc. They all have blind spots. Should they be banned too?

Or maybe, we cyclists should be banned from busy roads if we are so certain that we cannot coexist with those making essential journeys in large vehicles?

I am sick of the politicised bullshit that has engulfed cycling in recent years. If organisations like stopthekilling are determined to turn this into a war between us and them ..... there can only possibly be one winner. Them.

No vehicle is inherently lethal. It is the environment it is used in, and the way it is used that can make it so. Change the environment and things get safer. These changes can be made via segregation (physical where possible, by time where not) of large vehicles and cyclists. The lorries themselves can be made safer by reducing the blind spot with lowered cabs and larger mirrors, cameras and sensors. They can be removed from the roads during peak cycling hours.

As to your complaint about the "politicised bullshit" - how's the 'do nothing' approach going for you - made a difference yet?

posted by teaboy [126 posts]
11th January 2014 - 0:13

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I like the campaign. Original, to the point and with balls, instead of the usual overly polite BS.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [167 posts]
11th January 2014 - 1:23

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If it get's the message out about the dangers of HGV's, positioning and our crappy infrastructure then it is a good thing.
For all those who know just how dangerous manoeuvring around lorries are good for you but you are completely missing the point. Just contemplate the Katherine Giles inquest for a moment. Here is a highly educated intelligent woman killed because she went up the inside of a left turning lorry. Do you seriously think for a moment that she was fully aware of the risks of her actions and had fully taken it into account in that fateful moment ? Of course she didn't as there is no way she would have done it. So we have a pretty serious issue here which desperately needs addressing. TfL's response says it all really for me and they should hang their heads in shame having encouraged people to cycle and not fully informed of the risks

posted by arfa [370 posts]
11th January 2014 - 10:36

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Second poster - Turning max length trunk haul tractor & semi trailer. Well for a start you'll hardly ever see one of those rigs crawling around London. At around £300K a shot with operating costs to match, that sort of truck will be doing 80Kph for as much of the driver's working time possible and running in to large warehouse stores and distribution depots, close to the motorway network - of and they, and almost all other HGV's disappear from M1 M2 etc between 07.30 and 09.30 (as the drivers arrange to drop their loads and take statutory breaks when the road becomes clogged with private cars - just check it out on any motorway in the mornings especially.

Second poster, if the truck driver has to do 2 deliberate acts* of dangerous driving in order to turn a corner then there is something wrong with the way the road is being used. As has been pointed out very clearly earlier most of the cyclists crushed by left turning trucks have been overtaken and cut up. In two of the fatal crashes in November it is clear from the position of the large vehicles (skip truck and a coach) that the drivers have approached the junction in a right hand lane, not in the nearside lane and pulling out slightly but fully in the lane marked for traffic travelling straight ahead, and to turn left they have deliberately chosen to use the bulk of their vehicle to threaten traffic travelling with legitimate priority in the nearside lane - basically saying "I'm coming through here and will smash into you if you don't stop" sadly the failure to account for a cyclist in the way when they deliberately drove in a dangerous way has resulted in many of the deaths we see, and as pointed out the driver of the articulated rig in the picture also has to force a priority on traffic passing on in the lane he has to swing in to to get round the corner.

The answer is simple - no need to ban HGV's just stop them making turns as dangerously as that illustrated in the poster, by either banning the turn or making it possible to turn safely without cutting across the nearside lane(s).

As for poster 3 that just about sums up the dangerous way cycle lanes are delivered, and simply taking a direct quote from the coroner's hearing for the death of Brian Dorling at Bow "it's just a strip of blue paint it does nothing to prevent the fatal collisions (3 in 2 years) from taking place - and the subsequent action - not to remedy but to slide out of liability - when TfL burned off the blue paint where it went across the slip roads on and off the A12 effectively implying that the cycle route no longer existed for that 4-7 metres, where the hazard of being hit is greatest. Thanks a bunch. It's great to know that those responsible for delivery of safer routes recognise the points of greatest hazard in this scheme and make sure the cycle routes don't go there, but if a safe route cannot be delivered there is no alternative delivered either.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [433 posts]
11th January 2014 - 12:04

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My concern is the message some of these posters will send to would be cyclists, deterring them from getting on the bike.

The Human Cyclist A blog. Try it, you might like it...

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posted by sm [329 posts]
12th January 2014 - 11:09

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Since TFL is a gov't organisation paid for by the public, they should STFU, copyright is for artists trying to make a living, not piss-artists trying to waste public money on frivolous threats and prosecutions that don't benefit anybody.

/Excellent posters, as a tax-payer, they get my full support.

'Fair use' needs to be part of British copyright law and anything written by public servants, paid for by gov't needs to be excluded from copyright, no exceptions.

posted by kie7077 [359 posts]
12th January 2014 - 14:43

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cat1commuter wrote:
giobox wrote:
Is it just me or would you have to be an idiot to undertake the lorry on a corner like that while riding? Even if it was a normal car the riders up front would still be in the blind spot.

No, not an idiot. Just a naive cyclist. Should you need expert knowledge before you can cycle safely in London? If HGVs were banned from central London, or if there was a decent segregated cycle network, then you wouldn't need to be savvy to survive.

Cycling lessens should be mandatory for all school children, with a refresher for teens. And the safety aspect could be a video game with cyclists getting doored, hit when they don't shoulder check, crushed by turning vehicles etc.

posted by kie7077 [359 posts]
12th January 2014 - 15:08

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kie7077 wrote:
[

Cycling lessens should be mandatory for all school children, with a refresher for teens. And the safety aspect could be a video game with cyclists getting doored, hit when they don't shoulder check, crushed by turning vehicles etc.

As should driving lessons be mandatory for all adults !

posted by dreamlx10 [96 posts]
12th January 2014 - 15:12

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Help me out. How many cyclists died in Paris in 2012 and 2013?

Really, though?

posted by workhard [295 posts]
12th January 2014 - 18:21

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Only if they plan to drive. Smile And on road cycling lessons should be a part of their lessons

posted by CotterPin [64 posts]
12th January 2014 - 18:30

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