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Proviz face social media backlash for inflammatory post

Enhanced-visibility sportswear brand come under fire after asking followers to fill in a provocative blank

As anyone who posts regularly on social media will know, sometimes the things you share online can come back to bite you, and that's what's happened with Proviz this weekend after they aimed this provocative Facebook post at cyclists who choose not to wear light clothing whilst riding at night. 

The enhanced-visibility sportswear brand certainly got plenty of replies, but they perhaps hadn't accounted for the number of critical responses that would come their way on the worldwide web and eventually deleted the post after receiving a barrage of unwanted attention.

The post also found its way onto Twitter, via @2wheelsnot4 and not Proviz themselves, and here are just a selection of the many replies it received:

@1894restore: The same as driving a black car - you put lights on. Not impressed with this @ProvizSports there are better ways to promote your products than encourage drivers to use particular sticks to beat us with

@ibikeheathfield: "perfectly acceptable given nothing you wear can protect you from an inattentive, pi**ed, drugged, distracted, mobile phone using, SHONKY, driver." If they are looking they'll see you, if they aren't they won't, regardless of what you wear.

@RichardClinker: Other reflective kit is available. I think a lot of people here, who may be looking to purchase, may now look elsewhere first...

@Keefspark: In the 1980s TRRL looked at hiviz for motorcyclists and came to the conclusion that after a period of time it became the "norm" and lost it effect. It may also lose it potential for safety with the number of construction workers now wearing it around our streets.

@WilliamNB: Seriously, @ProvizSports? I have 1 of your backpacks, but as a result of this, you've lost any future custom from me. I don't support companies who fuel anti-cycling hatred!

@gfaz81: 90% of the time I cycle all in black. I don’t give a s**t what people think of it. You’re not telling the black car drivers to pop high viz on. Got my lights on.

@billhulley: Manufacturer of reflective sports wear victim blaming their prospective customers to promote their products. Not a good look. 

@beabikes: The answer to their question is - perfectly safe if you have lights in your bike. For clarity. My tweet is a tongue in cheek FU to dim witted advertising efforts. Of course cycling isn’t safe while people have cars.

We contacted Proviz themselves for a comment on the post and they kindly sent us this response: "We would like to apologise for our post and the offence it has caused. We have deleted it. It wasn't our intention to upset anyone.

"Our ethos has always been one of empowering people to run and cycle whenever - and in whatever gear - they choose. The question was posed to start a dialogue within the community. Our intention is to always engage positively and supportively, and we are very sorry if in this instance we missed the mark." 

What are your thoughts on Proviz's post? Should cyclists be called out for wearing dark clothes at night or are there more pressing concerns that need to be addressed when it comes to cycle safety? Let us know in the comments.

Nick has been entrenched in the world professional cycling since 2010. He spent six and a half years with Team Sky before becoming Communications Manager for both the Tour de Yorkshire and Yorkshire 2019 UCI Road World Championships. Since then he has worked for Velon and Rouleur and is now part of the team at road.cc. Still based in Yorkshire, he rides his road bike as much as he can, although those opportunities have been significantly diminished since becoming a father three years ago. 

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