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“If you jump a red light you give all cyclists a bad name”

The TV ads for Scotland’s Nice Way Code road safety awareness campaign broke cover this morning and... well, see for yourself.

There are two ads. ‘Nice Way Code Name’ shows a rider running a red light, and then cuts to Monty Pythonesque gag, while 'Nice Way Code Think Horse' says you should treat a cyclists as you’d treat a horse.

Here, they are. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Nice Way Code Name

Nice Way Code Think Horse

The Nice Way Code campaign was announced last week, but will be officially launched today. The £500,000 campaign aims to improve road safety by asking road users to all just get along and be lovely to each other. 

Scottish cycling campaign group Pedal on Parliament was not impressed. According to Pedal on Parliament, research shows that the most effective means to reduce road deaths are changes to the road environment and lower speeds. Education campaigns, especially where not backed up by visible enforcement, do very little.

In response to the group's criticism, a Scottish government spokesman said: “Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and we make no apology for raising awareness of this issue or for seeking to improve behaviour."

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

54 comments

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David Portland [83 posts] 2 years ago
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Never has £500k been more pointlessly spaffed.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Treat cyclists like a horse?

So, when I get killed by a motorist I can look forward to ending up in a Tesco Value lasagne?

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euanlindsay [82 posts] 2 years ago
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I doubt these will be the only one. Regardless you should also link to the slideshow with more details about the idea behind the campaign. I like its tone.

http://www.slideshare.net/ClaireWood4/online-booklet-24927492

Here is a thought, if its alright to shame drivers for their lack of respect and rule breaking, why isn't alright to do the same to cyclists?

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mattbibbings [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Half a million quid? Pull the other one. This will be about as much use as a (insert own pointless-comedy-use-of gag here)

In the past any PSA film like this would have shown the ignorant driver running over the cyclist only to discover it was their nan.

As we all know, such shock tactics only serve to numb the viewer and the impact is less and less over time. I can only see this comedy effort as being appealing to children and simpletons. It won't make a blind bit of difference in the real world.

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mattbibbings [81 posts] 2 years ago
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Half a million quid?

Spend it on subsidised bikeability course for school kids if you want to get some educational value out of it.

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Some Fella [890 posts] 2 years ago
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Instead of treating cyclists like horses how about treating them like human beings?
Just a thought.

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Rockplough [11 posts] 2 years ago
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Great to see people judging the value for money on launch day after two videos.

This is exactly the approach needed. It is even-handed (road.cc might want to try that sometime), and the light-hearted, unsanctimonious tone will hopefully illicit a positive response from those road users previously ensconced in a tribal 'us v them' attitude.

I really fail to see how encouraging cyclists to stop at red - for the sake of other cyclists if nothing else - and asking drivers to be considerate when overtaking cyclists, can be seen as a waste.

And road.cc...

"asking road users to all just get along and be lovely to each other."

Well actually yes, that's EXACTLY what's needed. It's interesting to see such a dismissive attitude towards being considerate to ALL road users.

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Mart [110 posts] 2 years ago
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Why not spend the £500,000 on enforcing the current laws in Scotland? If it is reported in the local press that X amount of people in charge of any transport has been stopped and fined I'm sure the word would get around. It would also be good to see an officer pull someone over for a chat when they see an unnecessary close overtake. Saying that, I have been overtaken very closely by both the police and ambulance drivers alike.
I don't want special treatment, just what I'm legally entitled too. Space.
** rant over **

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
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@Rockplough, I think the issue is that we aren't collectively responsible for each other - I'm not at fault because someone else rides like an idiot, but that's the message of the first. I saw someone drive like a moron this morning, but that hardly means I can tar other drivers with the same brush.

The second one's not bad, until some cad starts suggesting that we can be shot if our legs are broken.

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jazzykoenig [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Pretty funny stuff, but how they managed to spend £500,000 on this is beyond me. I would say that the end of the second video is missing a shot of the narrator riding a horse, backwards...

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Rockplough [11 posts] 2 years ago
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@notfastenough No you're not responsible, or at fault if someone else rides like an idiot.

That said, cyclists are viewed by many motorists as a homogenous group. The view that 'cyclists run red lights' abounds. It serves to both de-humanise cyclists, and also absolve drivers (in their mind) of their responsibility towards cyclists on the road, thereby endangering them.

That's why it's important to address this. It's not an issue of right and wrong, or of equality. It's a pragmatic approach to a real problem.

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David Portland [83 posts] 2 years ago
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Rockplough wrote:

Great to see people judging the value for money on launch day after two videos.

It's marketing. First impressions count. You think they're holding the good stuff back?

Rockplough wrote:

This is exactly the approach needed. It is even-handed (road.cc might want to try that sometime), and the light-hearted, unsanctimonious tone will hopefully illicit a positive response from those road users previously ensconced in a tribal 'us v them' attitude.

This stuff is as "us v them" as it comes. If it was even-handed, it would be encouraging ALL ROAD USERS to stop at red lights. Where's the "Every time you jump a red light in your car, you give motorists a bad name" video?

Also, one person's "light-hearted, unsanctimonious tone" is another's "offensively patronising", but I accept that that's somewhat subjective  1

Thing is, this stuff's been tried before. It doesn't work, no matter how many popular comedy sketch shows it's inspired by.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Does anyone fancy chipping in for another video that highlights the fact that Peter Sutcliffe and Harold Shipman used motor vehicles to get themselves to and from their murdering?

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cactuscat [284 posts] 2 years ago
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Rockplough wrote:

Great to see people judging the value for money on launch day after two videos.

This is exactly the approach needed. It is even-handed (road.cc might want to try that sometime), and the light-hearted, unsanctimonious tone will hopefully illicit a positive response from those road users previously ensconced in a tribal 'us v them' attitude.

I really fail to see how encouraging cyclists to stop at red - for the sake of other cyclists if nothing else - and asking drivers to be considerate when overtaking cyclists, can be seen as a waste.

And road.cc...

"asking road users to all just get along and be lovely to each other."

Well actually yes, that's EXACTLY what's needed. It's interesting to see such a dismissive attitude towards being considerate to ALL road users.

'even handed' doesn't describe the road danger that's the fault of motorists and cyclists. so 'even handed' shouldn't be used as a yardstick to measure whether a campaign is fair. or if it is, an even handed campaign should be deemed a failure.

it's a 'waste' because it's half a million quid that could have been spent on something useful. rather than pissing it away on some jokes.

it's not 'exactly' what's needed. if it were, that's what we'd be seeing in countries that get this stuff right. is it what we're seeing? no. what we're seeing in those countries is big investment to design away conflict. we now have £0.5m less to spend on stuff that actually works.

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zanf [838 posts] 2 years ago
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notfastenough wrote:

@Rockplough, I think the issue is that we aren't collectively responsible for each other - I'm not at fault because someone else rides like an idiot, but that's the message of the first.

This exactly or you end up seeing that all black taxi drivers are rapists because of John Worboys

This is the one major thing I really dislike about 'cyclists' is that because we might both own bikes, it does not automatically make us part of a club or aligned in every other matter. The chances are I will disagree with your politics and ethical choices, dislike your literature and musical tastes. I am not responsible for your moral choices or actions, nor you for mine.

Therefore to even try and assert some kind of collective responsibility is not only ignorant, dumb and wrong but bordering on fascism.

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cactuscat [284 posts] 2 years ago
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Rockplough wrote:

@notfastenough No you're not responsible, or at fault if someone else rides like an idiot.

That said, cyclists are viewed by many motorists as a homogenous group. The view that 'cyclists run red lights' abounds. It serves to both de-humanise cyclists, and also absolve drivers (in their mind) of their responsibility towards cyclists on the road, thereby endangering them.

That's why it's important to address this. It's not an issue of right and wrong, or of equality. It's a pragmatic approach to a real problem.

it's important to address it, by pointing out that it's bullshit. not spending money on ads that reinforce the idea that some schoolkid is culpable for my actions on the road. people will always behave like idiots. car drivers do as well, can i key the cars of the innocent drivers if some twat in an audi cuts me up? no.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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Have we covered the fact that this campaign is supposedly for all road users, yet the £500k has come from the cycling budget?

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beej.a [40 posts] 2 years ago
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HAH! THIS IS PATHETIC... i had no idea the scottish government where putting on a fringe show this year . this doesn't demonstrate any thing to do with cycle safety.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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I lament the attitude that exists in society that doesn't show respect and responsibility we have to one another. The laws of the country are largely there to help enforce that, but where they don't societal norms, mores and customs should help. The problem is that with cycling that the credo is not easily passed on.

I was at the Ride London event yesterday and visited the road safety stand set up by the Met (it was a great presentation showing the blind spots on trucks - sadly it was poorly attended), but one thing the officer said to me was how cyclists applauded when they pulled over red light breakers, showing how much cyclists disliked this too. But his start point was that motorists become disgruntled at activity, they get annoyed at this law breaking and then they show less respect to other cyclists (less space, sitting in the cycle box etc). I'm not condoning the stereotyping that these motorists undertake or their behaviour, but as the advert suggests ones persons actions may have consequences for other people. If this makes people think twice about breaking a red and creates a credo for cyclists I think it is not a bad idea.

I think that contrary opinions on here are valid, but I also wish they had a constructive alternative. IMHO the first advert is a little too obscure and doesn't really make the punch it needs to. People will always stereotype people, it's a very human thing to do, so you can argue about the rights and wrongs of it, but that's what you have to deal with.

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notfastenough [3685 posts] 2 years ago
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Rockplough wrote:

@notfastenough No you're not responsible, or at fault if someone else rides like an idiot.

That said, cyclists are viewed by many motorists as a homogenous group. The view that 'cyclists run red lights' abounds. It serves to both de-humanise cyclists, and also absolve drivers (in their mind) of their responsibility towards cyclists on the road, thereby endangering them.

That's why it's important to address this. It's not an issue of right and wrong, or of equality. It's a pragmatic approach to a real problem.

No, it's propogating the problem rather than dealing with it. Your first paragraph above re the homogenous group is spot on, so I'm interested to know why you think this propogation is a good move? Is it because trying to combat this line of thought is probably a bit more awkward/difficult to deliver using public-service-type adverts? (It's your use of the word 'pragmatic' that made me think this)

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Gazphillips [7 posts] 2 years ago
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Thats seriously what they have come up with?.. If anything, it makes a joke out of cyclists!.

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TeamCC [146 posts] 2 years ago
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Did you know, spending £500,000 on advertising versus proper bicycle lanes, gives your country a bad name? Let's get along. The Nice Way Code.

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dave atkinson [6223 posts] 2 years ago
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Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I also wish they had a constructive alternative.

better infrastructure. £0.5m won't buy you much. but it's better than wasting it on this.

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 2 years ago
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I am handing in my emigration papers now. I am NOT Scottish....  103 9

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a_to_the_j [118 posts] 2 years ago
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how about spending the 0.5million on Scottish public starter projects related to cycling safety, i dunno, say for example nice bright warning signs where local commuters feel in danger, not trying to be specific, but something that has a much more local effect on the roads being used for cycling frequently.

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Bez [594 posts] 2 years ago
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kcr [107 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

I also wish they had a constructive alternative.

Introduce strict liability. That would be a concrete change that would improve road safety for everyone (not just cyclists).

Just looked up the UK Road Accident stats for 2011:
Contributory factors: Vehicles in reported accidents by vehicle type:
Disobeyed automatic traffic signal
Pedal Cycles - 196
Cars - 1,786

Nine times as many cars as cycles causing accidents by jumping traffic lights? That just makes all car drives look bad, doesn't it? Someone should start a campaign...

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captain_slog [338 posts] 2 years ago
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I quite liked both ads. The problem I have is with this slavish pursuit of some fallacious idea of even-handedness.

Cyclists jump red lights, that annoys people. Motorists don't give cyclists enough space, that kills people. If you're looking for maximum return on investment, it makes no sense to spend equal amounts of time, effort and money on reducing these two misdemeanours.

Yes, cyclists jumping red lights makes people less likely to respect other cyclists, therefore potentially endangering the law-abiding. I buy that. I can see the psychology. But stopping them doing it can't be the most cost-effective way of improving cycle safety.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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Oh Jeez, what is it with people. You seem to act like some cycling tribe where everyone is either trying to kill you, waste 'your' cycling money or stereotype you.

You have to start seeing it half way if you want people onside. Ignoring, belittling or just dismissing others is counter productive. In this case the effort of showing a middle ground - that law abiding cyclists don't want to be tarred by the same brush as those who aren't...the corollary is that those who break the law think about how they affect others, and that narrow minded road users realise that all cyclists are not the same.

This largely treats cyclists in a positive light. £500,000 is a lot of money, I have no idea how much advertising costs, but I'm assuming its a going rate SET ASIDE FOR ADVERTISEMENT. If you don't like it then what else would you like to advertise?

The question over the cost is a different matter. As someone else has already said the money could go towards cycle lanes, cycle lanes which require upkeep, cycle lanes that I don't generally use because they're generally filled with road detritus. Cycle lanes I'm not fond of. I would rather have a solution which benefits all road users within the infrastructure limitations. I see road user education the main way to do this. We're not going to rip up our current roads and build new ones anytime soon, people are not going to melt down their cars and buy bicycles in a hurry. Live with, and abide with it.

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 2 years ago
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kcr wrote:
Quote:

I also wish they had a constructive alternative.

Introduce strict liability. That would be a concrete change that would improve road safety for everyone (not just cyclists).

Just looked up the UK Road Accident stats for 2011:
Contributory factors: Vehicles in reported accidents by vehicle type:
Disobeyed automatic traffic signal
Pedal Cycles - 196
Cars - 1,786

Nine times as many cars as cycles causing accidents by jumping traffic lights? That just makes all car drives look bad, doesn't it? Someone should start a campaign...

There are probably nine times as many car journeys as cycle journeys....so it is not so easy as that. Someone should start an ad campaign to help people understand statistics....

But seriously does it not annoy you to see people buzzing through on reds? The problem is that it sort of builds so that one person breaks the light and it encourages others to do so....then it becomes the norm. It winds up motorists whom rightly think why am I stuck at a red, and that cyclists disrespect the road laws....I see as many people here demonise truck and car drivers on here in the same way that they fear being tarred with the same brush by the media. I think we are better off seeking understanding.

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