While their new uniforms may be a rip-off of 2013-era Team Sky, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) seems to have adopted the confused and outdated tactics of Movistar when it comes ensuring the safety of cyclists on the roads.
A cycling and motorcycling safety campaign endorsed by the PSNI yesterday has come in for criticism online after Twitter users pointed out that it is solely focuses on how cyclists can better protect themselves, rather than trying to change motorists’ behaviour, with a number of cyclists describing the campaign as evidence of ‘victim-blaming’.
Organised by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), the ‘2 Wheels’ campaign focuses on the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists. While other police forces used the campaign last year to raise motorists’ awareness of the danger of close passes and careless driving, as well as educating riders on how to stay safe, the PSNI appears to have forgotten about that crucial first part.
In a tweet that was accompanied by an strange, low-quality illustration (don’t worry, it’s not your eyes), Northern Ireland’s Road Policing and Safety unit wrote: “Over the next two weeks, we will place an additional focus on the safety of cyclists and motorcyclists to raise awareness about the dangers of not having the correct skills, knowledge and personal protection equipment.”
Unsurprisingly, the campaign’s focus on instructing vulnerable road users instantly backfired, with Cycling Twitter uniting to condemn the tweet as “embarrassing” and indicative of “car blindness”.
Graham Finlayson responded to the campaign by tweeting: “Drivers. The danger to me when I’m riding my bike is drivers, in oversized cars, on their phones. Police their behaviour instead of victim blaming. A helmet doesn’t help if you get run over by a 4x4.”
Patrick Eakin echoed Graham’s sentiments: “Motor vehicles. It's motor vehicles that cause the injuries. Every day, killing five people in the UK. Focus on them.”
Belfast bike rider wrote: “Wow - let’s talk to cyclists about how it’s their fault that car drivers kill them.”
Tom Flood said: “Same old weak and backwards messaging but this time they can’t even be bothered to use a hi-res/legible version of a terrible communication. This is how little we care. Checking boxes.”
“Two weeks instructing cyclists and motorcyclists on road danger. They must kill 50+ people on NI roads every year,” Brian Shannon sardonically noted.
And, finally, someone got around to analysing THAT image: