DfT's Think Cyclist campaign: Why so little funding in comparison to motorcycle awareness campaign?

Think Bike had fifteen times the funding and far wider awareness

by Sarah Barth   September 20, 2012  

Think Cyclist poster

Today we reported on the Department for Transport's new Think Cyclist campaign, but it didn't excape our notice that, although it had various similarities to earlier Think Bike campaigns, aimed at motorcyclist awareness, it only claimed one-fifteenth the funding of the latter.

While Think Bike, which was relaunched in 2012, was funded to the tune of £1.2 million in 2012 alone, Think Cyclist has been allocated only £80,000.

As a result of the 2010 Think Bike campaign, it was found that 77 per cent of adult could recall a television advert that raised their awareness of motorcycle safety, according to a DfT report. Yet it was still deemed worth spending another £1.2 million on further awareness.

In comparison, it's thought that the Think Cyclist campaign will reach very few people, and in any case, promotes a mixed message about cycle safety, including advice for riders to wear a helmet. In fact, cycle campaigners were so dubious about the message that none officially got behind it.

The CTC said of the campaign: "Any benefits of the campaign are likely to be extremely limited thanks to the very small budget behind it.

"This campaign is likely to have barely any impact amongst the public at large."

What do you think of the Department for Transport's campaign? Let us know in the comments below.

8 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Something is better than nothing

posted by ratattat [45 posts]
20th September 2012 - 20:12


Not sure about being better than nothing...

The poster is OK, but a lot of the text backing it is dubious at best and reinforces drivers perceptions about what cyclists should do (helmets, hi-viz etc), and what drivers think they should be able to do (not entering ASLs is advisory, not a must not as in the code).

It is telling that although the AA, RAC etc are behind it, no cycling organistion is...

posted by gazza_d [392 posts]
20th September 2012 - 20:18


ratattat wrote:
Something is better than nothing

This is true, but I feel that British Cycling, the CTC and others have missed a trick this year. Surely, following such a brilliant summer of cycling, some of the big names should be coerced into doing something really outstanding to raise awareness of the dangers experienced by all cyclists. In a society that seems to value celebrity above all else, I'm fairly certain that a hard-hitting message or two from the likes of Wiggo, Cav, Hoy, Pendleton et al would have an infinitely bigger impact than the same message from the likes of you or me.

I've suggested the same to Brian Cookson, who told me BC "Will bear your comments in mind as we plan our strategic approach to the issues of driver behaviour, etc. You may have noticed we have been more active in that area in recent months after leaving it to the CTC in the past."

I've also suggested that Sky (and associated Murdoch interests) would be the ideal conduit to get the message out there to the ordinary men and women on the street.

So far, I can see no progress and as the collective memory of British cycling success in the summer of 2012 fades away, the chances of anything happening is receding.

Further comment here, if you have a minute: http://fiftyyearsandcounting.wordpress.com/2012/08/02/wiggins-speaks-out...

ColT's picture

posted by ColT [262 posts]
20th September 2012 - 20:33


To put some horribly crude figures on it, that's £3k per motorcycle road death and £1.4k per cycle road death.

You might think that with cycle casualties being the only type that are increasing faster than usage rates that more funding rather than less would be justified...

posted by pdw [39 posts]
20th September 2012 - 21:50


MOT, half hearted approach to a serious subject! Life and the safety of it, is of no real concern to the powers that be at the MOT. And as for our so called cycling organisations? We should all pull out of them, they seem to be un-concerned about the dangers their members face while cycling on the roads of the UK.

posted by Mostyn [425 posts]
21st September 2012 - 0:45


If we hold in mind that the target for this campaign is motorists who don't ride a bike, then the message is a very useful one – that most cyclists also drive a car.

Of the guidance for drivers and cyclists, the only one I really take issue with is the 'high viz and helmets' which smacks of 'blame the victim' thinking.

£80k won't buy much media space but the message will reach some people. I think we have to recognised that in politics there's a huge amount of inertia so getting any new issue (like cycle safety) funded in a time of spending constraint is quite an achievement.

It's the same with infrastructure spending – the challenge is to get politicians into the habit of regularly spending money on cycle-safety related projects. Over time this will increase, but by nature they are too cautious to go for big budget projects.

In response to Mostyn's comments about the cycling organisations. They represent their members, most of whom are hard core - touring cyclists in the CTC and competitive cyclists in BC (many of whom may only cycle on training rides and races and never ride in towns or the rush hour). So they will always support proposals that are in the interests of their core membership.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
21st September 2012 - 7:46


A mere £80,000 is a drop in the ocean. Some of us BC members do clock miles on the road in busy city commuting too by the way Campag!


posted by OldRidgeback [2535 posts]
21st September 2012 - 8:36

1 Like

OldRidgeback wrote:
A mere £80,000 is a drop in the ocean. Some of us BC members do clock miles on the road in busy city commuting too by the way Campag!

+1 As a BC member to date from Jan 1st 2012 5656 miles of riding and at least 3 - 4 numptys each day on my commute to work drive too close behind me and pass too close as well.


formereve's picture

posted by formereve [65 posts]
22nd September 2012 - 1:50