It’s always tricky for a car manufacturer to pull off a cycle safety campaign and Ford doesn’t seem to have got off to a tremendous start with its Share the Road campaign.
Ford says it is trying “to encourage a spirit of understanding and respect between every road user, whether they’re travelling on four wheels or two.”
The launch featured, among other things, a virtual reality experience that allowed those drivers and cyclists who aren’t in the overlapping part of the Venn diagram to experience the roads from one other’s perspectives.
It’s called WheelSwap and Ford says it has been found to “breed empathy and defuse antagonism between cyclists and car drivers”.
However, the campaign’s central message – that if we all ‘Share The Road’ we can make every journey safer, whether on two wheels or four – has left many unimpressed.
The Guardian’s Peter Walker, tweeted:
1. It's called 'Share the Road'. The *whole* point of cycle safety is it's not about "sharing", it's about protecting one hugely vulnerable group (c80kg of unprotected flesh & bone) from one another hugely dangerous one (1 tonne+ of steel). As ever, it's not morals, it's physics
Any campaign which says "sharing" is the solution is fatally flawed from the start. Sure, a bit more mutual understanding and a bit less aggression would be great. But just asking everyone to be nice won't keep anyone safer.
He also took issue with some of the campaign material.
2. This nonsense. Any safety campaign predicated on cyclists having to dress up like Fukushima clean-up workers is approaching the issue from completely the wrong angle. Not in the top 50 most effective solutions, but easy to 'encourage' pic.twitter.com/kfkNQT7AXr
1/2 marks to @Brakecharity for its behaviour change poster #ShareTheRoad event. Would love to know evidence base for high vis better. And attempting to chastise both drivers and cyclists in panels creates false equivalence of responsibility. pic.twitter.com/nLfdHxD1rn
And he was particularly unimpressed by this element of the launch.
Just noticed this fake ghost bike tucked in a corner. Not cool. Not cool at all. And under a poster that talks about road users having "equal rights". Ugh. Tone deaf. We aren't equal. Some road users more vulnerable. Some cause more risk. Even on rights I'd argue against equal... pic.twitter.com/LbJsHFTbAk
President and CEO of Ford Europe, Middle East and Africa, Steven Armstrong commented: “As someone who frequently travels on both two wheels and four wheels, I have experienced first‑hand many of the frustrations – and dangers – that drivers and cyclists encounter on our roads today. The safe integration of increasingly diverse modes of transportation is key to how we make our cities safer and easier for everyone to get about in, now and in the future.”
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