Scotland’s controversial Nice Way Code road safety campaign has ended. The government-sponsored effort to get road users to be nice to each other announced on Facebook yesterday that it was drawing to a close.
The campaign was widely criticised for pandering to stereotypes, victim-blaming, having no clear goals and failing to engage or coordinate with other road safety bodies and initiatives.
Despite repeated requests from cycling campaigners, it never published the research it claimed to have done in the run-up to the campaign, which was widely believed to have been simply focus group sessions.
On its Facebook page Nice Way Code said:
Our posters are now more or less down. Our last press ad has run. We're happy to report that printed supplies of our Nice Way Code are running low. And the slideshare version made it into slideshare's top presentations in the week of our campaign launch.
A big thank you for all of the support we've received from our stakeholders. And a bigger thank you to all of you for your comments, observations and sharing of our messages.
We set out to get people talking about how we can make our roads a safer place for everyone. And we've certainly done that.
Of course, nobody in Scotland was talking about road safety before the NiceWay Code spent £425,000 to get lampooned on Twitter and Facebook, so that was a big victory.
In case you umissed them, here are some of the ads that caused the campaign to be harshly criticised.
Cycling campaigners pointed out that horse riders are just as vulnerable as cyclists, with a similar rate of collisions with motor vehicles, and that 95 percent of incidents caused by road users jumping red lights were the fault of a driver not a cyclist.
We could fill a couple of pages with responses and criticisms of the code, but you can see them for yourself on Facebook, so here’s just one drubbing, from Jono Kenyon:
Well, I was patient and waited to see what your material was. Like nearly everyone else I was utterly dismayed at the total lack of thought, care or articulate process in this abysmal campaign. Like so many other failed road safety ideas, all that can be claimed to have been achieved is 'to get people talking'. Well that's not good enough. You had a brief and getting folk discussing safety was not it. Making our streets safer and reducing danger was. Glad to see the end of this charade.
John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.
He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.
Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for CyclingNews.com. Along with road.cc founder Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for BikeRadar.com and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.
John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of TotalWomensCycling.com before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.
He joined road.cc in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.