£425,000 to 'get people talking' - mostly about pandering to stereotypes and victim-blaming...

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.

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.