Transport for London (TfL) has been slammed on social media for an advert launched during Road Safety Week earlier this month, with Twitter users accusing it of “victim blaming” and promoting “false equivalence” by suggesting that all road users share the same responsibility for ensuring the safety of others.
The integrated campaign, entitled ‘See their Side’ and which will run “for a number of years,” aims to change the culture of road users and contribute towards Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero goal of having zero deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads by 2041.
It includes the above 60-second film that is currently airing on TV and which, according to the agency VCCP London, which drew up the campaign, “directly tackles the tribal culture which currently dominates London’s roads.”
The agency’s creative director, Simon Learman, says that the ad, directed by Simon Ratigan, “targets all London road users, and appeals to the audience’s emotions with the presentation of a very real, albeit disturbing interaction between a car driver and cyclist who narrowly escape a collision.
“The initial fury is drowned out by inner monologues, until the anger subsides, they both realise how their behaviour has affected the other’s, and they express genuine concern for one another. The film draws to an emotional conclusion with both road users who are visibly shaken up asking whether each other is ok.”
Among those criticising the ad on Twitter were a number of prominent active travel and road safety campaigners, including Dr Robert Davis, chair of the Road Danger Reduction Forum.
He wrote: “I really didn't like the ‘See their side. See safer roads’ advert just shown on ITV. Made by @TfL (+ @transportgovuk 's @THINKgovuk ) it’s the perfect slogan for the false equivalence of old style ‘road safety’.
“It won't reduce danger on the roads. It has no robust evidence base for doing so.
“‘Their side’ may be responsible for endangering others, or it might be relatively far less of a physical threat to others (and also more at risk from road danger).
“If we don't base our approach on understanding that difference, we're nowhere,” he added.
The “difference” that Dr Davis highlights is one now being acknowledged within government, with forthcoming changes to the Highway Code set to outline a hierarchy of road users aimed at protecting the most vulnerable.
The Ranty Highywayman, a traffic engineer by profession, described the spot as “crass, old fashioned ‘false equivalence’ nonsense.”
When the campaign launched last week, Miranda Leedham, head of customer marketing & behaviour change at TfL said: “At TfL we want to make London safer for all.
“We’re incredibly passionate about this objective and ‘See their side’ is a film we wanted our audience to resonate with.
“The end product is a film which pulls at the heart strings and really encourages all road users to wake up and think about the potential of their actions.
“We’re fully behind helping The Mayor achieve his Vision Zero ambition to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from our roads and make London a safer place to live,” she added.
3 hours ? Mine is good for at least 6 hours. Even the old just radar sensor could cope with that and the light + radar is meant to have a 10 hour...
I think space makes it more aero ? Like the Hope GB track bike ?
For the first time ever, I'm impressed with the overall weight of a Pinarello. Given this bike also tests very well aerodynamically, (and again...
I know! I've mentioned this before on here but in firearms training one of the first thing's one's told is that if you make an error that could...
Bike jackings -was rife in South Africa when i left and probably still is. Sad state of affairs, I hope the rider heals up quickly and suffers no...
Ah the old Bradley Terry model. An improvement to the Bradley Wiggins one. I'm not sure I really follow the methodology or if it is reliable.
What about Miguel Indurain?
Wow! I dream of getting 6,000km out of a chain! My bike has only just cleared 5,000km...
Maybe we need to take a note out of the drivists playbook and label the lack of secure bike storage as discriminatory against the disabled
Well, I passed this lot yesterday and they seemed to be enjoying the ride... (apparently it was the national chopper convention or something!).