DfT's Think Cyclist campaign slammed in Cambridge for being 'soft on drivers'

Aggressive motoring far more dangerous than bad cycling, says campaign group

by Sarah Barth   October 6, 2012  

Think Cyclist poster

Cyclists in one of the four cities selected to be standard-bearers for the Department of Transport's Think Cyclist campaign have slammed the advice given too drivers, saying it is 'too soft'.

There has been widespread criticism for the poster campaign, which failed to garner support from leading cycling organisations and is funded far less generously than the similar Think Bike campaigns for motorcyclists.

Cambridge, which has been chosen as one of the four target areas for the campaign, is home to the Cambridge Cycling Campaign group. They say that in the campaign documents, the blame for cycling accidents is apportioned evenly between cyclists and motorists.

Jim Chisholm, the organisation’s liaison officer, told the Cambridge News: “The consequences of aggressive behaviour with a motor vehicle are far greater than those on a bike or on foot”.

He said: “Clearly some crashes are caused by irresponsible cycling and, though these cases are sad, if there are serious injuries to the rider or an innocent driver suffers stress, they extremely rarely cause serious physical injury to others.

“Irresponsible driving creates orders-of-magnitude to more innocent victims, be they passengers in motor vehicles, or vulnerable road users on foot or on cycles.

“If we wish to reduce road casualties significantly, it is the actions and attitudes of those driving motor vehicles that must change.”

The CCC say that in Cambridge, 73 per cent of injuries to cyclists happen when the cyclists is continuing straight ahead, with most damage being caused by turning vehicles that 'haven't seen' the rider.

Despite misgivings on the part of cyclists, Councillor Martin Curtis, Cambridgeshire County Council’s spokesman for cycling, said: “We can all agree on the steps we can take on the road to look out for each other.

“It’s about a culture of mutual respect, and understanding the road from each other’s point of view.”

 

 

The campaign’s advice to motorists and cyclists respectively is:

When you’re driving

1. Look out for cyclists, especially when turning - make eye contact if possible so they know you’ve seen them

2. Use your indicators - signal your intentions so that cyclists can react

3. Give cyclists space – at least half a car’s width.  If there isn’t sufficient space to pass, hold back. Remember that cyclists may need to manoeuvre suddenly if the road is poor, it’s windy or if a car door is opened.

4. Always check for cyclists when you open your car door

5. Avoid driving over advance stop lines – these allow cyclists to get to the front and increase their visibility

6. Follow the Highway Code including ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights

When you’re cycling

1. Ride positively, decisively and well clear of the kerb – look and signal to show drivers what you plan to do and make eye contact where possible so you know drivers have seen you.

2. Avoid riding up the inside of large vehicles, like lorries or buses, where you might not be seen

3. Always use lights after dark or when visibility is poor

4. Wearing light coloured or reflective clothing during the day and reflective clothing and/or accessories in the dark increases your visibility

5. Follow the Highway Code including observing ‘stop’ and ‘give way’ signs and traffic lights

6. THINK! recommends wearing a correctly fitted cycle helmet, which is securely fastened and conforms to current regulations

11 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

So factually wrong 'are more alike than you think' - eh? How can you compare being cocooned is a steel cage with riding a bike? Think! should be focusing on the vulnerability of cyclists and educating motorists on this point.

posted by tomascjenkins [32 posts]
6th October 2012 - 18:34

like this
Like (1)

The campaign’s advice to motorists
"5. Avoid driving over advance stop lines"
Shows just why this campaign and similar are just for show. From the Highway section on junctions section 178 "Motorists, including motorcyclists, MUST stop at the first white line " [Laws RTA 1988 sect 36 & TSRGD regs 10, 36(1) & 43 adva(2)]. The capital letters are the highway codes not mine.Angry

Paul W

posted by PaulVWatts [111 posts]
6th October 2012 - 19:07

like this
Like (0)

You know how some drivers will take this - it comes across as "some cyclists are normal just like you", so if they see someone out on a road bike in lycra, well it's OK to cut them up as they're different.

posted by sporran [38 posts]
7th October 2012 - 6:31

like this
Like (1)

of the points for drivers, point 6 contradicts point 3. rule 163 of the highway code states "give motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car.." (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_070314)
overall the campaign seems a little unbalanced.

posted by richteebis [23 posts]
7th October 2012 - 9:28

like this
Like (0)

1. I don't really see how colour of clothing matters much during daytime, black could be more visible on a summer day.

2. Just having lights is not good enough IMHO, some of them are pathetic, bright lights of a certain luminosity are needed especially in the city where there is a wash of lights and reflections. Perhaps the law should make labelling the luminosity of lights a mandatory requirement.

3. Helmets, they're practically useless, bad to talk about them, counter-productive, read Cycle helmets: An overview of the evidence - CTC and read all of it before answering back with an ignorant reply please.

4. That bit about cycling next to HGV etc is understated, far too many cyclists are getting themselves killed by cycling in to the blind spot at intersections.

posted by kie7077 [314 posts]
7th October 2012 - 9:57

like this
Like (0)

kie7077 "3. Helmets, they're practically useless, bad to talk about them, counter-productive, read Cycle helmets: An overview of the evidence - CTC and read all of it before answering back with an ignorant reply please.

I read it! It's concerning stats and driver behaviour to those in helmet's while conceding that helmet's still offer some protection for 'minor knocks and falls.'

Now I am utterly pro choice on helmets. In fact I feel happy seeing people riding around without them and don't use one myself for riding around town. When I'm descending at 40mph on a training run I wear one.

It may be illogical but as Tesco says 'Every little helps''.Statistics are not science. I would refer you to my practical test of helmets. You pop around to mine and let me whack you on the temple with my pick axe handle - with and without a helmet. You then tell me which option hurt the least....

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [920 posts]
7th October 2012 - 15:32

like this
Like (1)

Why do they waste money on this stuff? It doesn't work, why don't they look at what really works, infrastructure and enforcement of speed limits...

posted by Kim [116 posts]
7th October 2012 - 20:43

like this
Like (0)

"Statistics are not science", you don't know much about science you do you. Helmets are a pointless distraction from making the roads safe. Take the pick axe handles out of the hands of the morons and we will be safer.

posted by Kim [116 posts]
7th October 2012 - 20:47

like this
Like (0)

Wahey, a helmet debate! That's a first.

Dodging the saccadic masking

posted by notfastenough [2522 posts]
8th October 2012 - 9:18

like this
Like (0)

Statistics definitely are not science. Statistics are a mathematical tool, which can be used and misused in various ways. Science means using statistics in a certain way.

posted by Paul J [410 posts]
8th October 2012 - 10:11

like this
Like (0)

Kim wrote:
"Statistics are not science", you don't know much about science you do you. Helmets are a pointless distraction from making the roads safe. Take the pick axe handles out of the hands of the morons and we will be safer.

Yeah Kim Point taken. I was making a comment on impact on the bare noggin and without - not threatening anybody. Sorry if it read otherwise. Perhaps what I should have said "fling your self head-first to the ground with and without a helmet and see which hurts more".

Statistics are science. I stand by that one. Stats come from a wide range of sources some not taken accurately and can be massaged to represent many different interests. Therefore they are not empirical data and cannot be treated as a scientific proof across the board. For instance you could easily state that some South sea island ' statistically was the safest place for cyclists in the whole world!" It might only have two cars on the island...

Looking at helmets I was watching abseiling the other day and it sums up the helmet debate pretty well. A helmet isn't going to help you survive a 12 story fall but it certainly helps if you knock your head against the building coming down as someone did. That's all that bike helmets can hope to achieve - protection from minor injuries some of the time.

Cars need to be slowed and respect all riders - wearing helmets or not. I may be a moron but scientifically 20mph kill less people than 30mph. End of story.

MercuryOne

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [920 posts]
8th October 2012 - 12:41

like this
Like (0)