Vulpine wants your family pics for project to humanise bike riders

Help remind the world that cyclists are vulnerable

by John Stevenson   July 24, 2013  

Vulpine CyclistFamily Frieda Thom Sanders

Who would miss you if you got squashed by a lorry? That’s the question Nick Hussey of clothing company Vulpine asked last week at the start of a campaign to try and demonstrate the human cost of the cycling road toll.

Appealing on Twitter and through his blog, Nick asked, “Help us create a campaign to highlight the human cost of impatient and dangerous driving.

“Cyclists have loved ones who'd miss them if they died.”

Vulpine appealed for cyclists to send photos of their families. “We want to create something moving and lovely,” he tweeted. “This is not a Vulpine promo and won't feature our name.”

The inspiration came from an incident Vulpine’s Jools ‘LadyVelo’ Walker witnessed on her way to work last week.

“I've been thinking for a long time about what the simplest, most effective way to improve conditions and attitudes towards cyclists,” Nick wrote. “Something that is effective NOW. I don't have the resources to change infrastructure. But Vulpine has multi-media skills and great contacts in the media. I was wondering how to use them.

“Then Jools had to endure a horrible morning earlier this week, just as London Cycling were organising a protest asking for Space For Cycling, after yet another cyclist death, Alan Neve.

“As she headed to work she turned a corner to find a woman next to an HGV with a bike under its wheels. She was injured and in shock, but thankfully she did not have life threatening injuries. Not surprisingly Jools was very upset, from looking after the victim for sometime at the roadside. We have no idea who was to blame. But it comes at a time when there have been a number of road deaths and the roads, in the heat, feel ever more crammed with impatient drivers and worried cyclists. This is an international problem, as more cyclists take to the road and cities change, but mindsets don't.

“An extra bit of impatience or a decision to overtake or turn, made too fast, could create a mourning family. Cyclists are the most fragile and vulnerable road users. I hope we can make that more real. It won't be made for cyclists. It'll be made for the wider public.”

Using pictures of the loved ones, friends and even pets who would be left behind, Nick plans to create “a highly emotive piece that will highlight the human stories behind the cyclist that drivers pass to near to, or overtake then take left, shout at or ignore. If it can change the cycling environment 1/1000th of a percent, that's a few happier, safer cyclists.”

Nick was deluged with replies on Twitter and has posted a selection of pics on the Vulpine blog, including the ones here.

Want to contribute?

Send your pictures to info@vulpine.cc or tweet or Instagram using the hashtag #CyclistFamily

As Nick says, they can be of anyone you’d leave behind: “Maybe it's your kids. Maybe your prize goats. Your best mates. Your team. Your Dad.

“The things that you care about most. The things all of us humans love and thus share and can identify with.”

12 user comments

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Lovely idea, always my thoughts that some drivers can't seem to empathise that the people on commutes are only trying to get home to there loved ones the same way they are!

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
24th July 2013 - 16:04

6 Likes

Cycle_Jim wrote:
Lovely idea, always my thoughts that some drivers can't seem to empathise that the people on commutes are only trying to get home to there loved ones the same way they are!

I second that sentiment. Far too many of us face needless dangers everyday we ride and this is a good way of curtailing the dehumanisation of cyclists.

dolomedia's picture

posted by dolomedia [8 posts]
24th July 2013 - 23:30

12 Likes

Have had similar thoughts. If drivers treated each cyclist as they would their own child/parent/sibling then our roads and streets would be a far safer place.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2037 posts]
25th July 2013 - 10:10

13 Likes

There was a recent motorcycle safety campaign that used this exact same angle with the 'Think Bike, Think Biker' slogan. I wondered who funds those adverts - motorbike industry perhaps? - and why the bike industry can't do the same.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [880 posts]
25th July 2013 - 10:32

9 Likes

Cycle_Jim wrote:
Lovely idea, always my thoughts that some drivers can't seem to empathise that the people on commutes are only trying to get home to there loved ones the same way they are!

I sometimes thought a cycling jersey with 'Driver, Taxpayer, Husband, Father' or similar on the back might get this message across to some people. Just as likely to provoke aggression from other psychopaths though.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [880 posts]
25th July 2013 - 10:38

12 Likes

Great idea. Maybe you can create a "I AM HUMAN" jersey as part of the campaign. That might remind drivers that there is a person sitting on top of the bike.

posted by swelbo [33 posts]
25th July 2013 - 10:42

10 Likes

Here in NZ we have heaps of cars with "my family" stickers.
(http://www.familystickers.com/)

I was thinking about getting one of those bum-flap reflectors and slapping some stickers on it to depict my family. I might not be carrying them on my bike, but they are waiting for me at home each night.

posted by RPK [41 posts]
25th July 2013 - 11:18

8 Likes

I've often said that in the event of getting hit I don't want the police to go round and tell my family. I want them to send round the driver responsible, so they can tell my family, my parents, wife to be and my friends what they did and to offer some explanation as to why their journey was so important and why shaving mere seconds off their time was more valuable than my life.

I think that should be the case for all "accidents".

posted by farrell [1569 posts]
25th July 2013 - 13:15

10 Likes

This ties in with a recent report from the AA about how, when on a bicycle, otherwise unobjectionable human beings are prone to being objectified and dehumanised (as reported on this fair web-organ indeed: http://road.cc/content/news/70594-abuse-cyclists-almost-racial-discrimin...).

I'd quite like a jersey with 'I have a newborn son at home' on the back, just to remind people that I am an actual real-life person like them, not just (a) a rolling impediment to their self-centred progress and/or (b) a moving target for verbal abuse/'hilarious' near-assaults.

I can also now say that I'm a driver too, having passed my test this morning Big Grin

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1101 posts]
25th July 2013 - 14:01

7 Likes

Its exactly that thought that gave me the name for my blog.

posted by qwerky [147 posts]
25th July 2013 - 15:07

9 Likes

swelbo wrote:
Maybe you can create a "I AM HUMAN" jersey as part of the campaign. That might remind drivers that there is a person sitting on top of the bike.

Its exactly that thought that gave me the name for my blog.

posted by qwerky [147 posts]
25th July 2013 - 15:08

8 Likes

"This time next year Rodney, we'll be millionaires!"

posted by swelbo [33 posts]
25th July 2013 - 15:29

12 Likes