British Cycling has cautiously welcomed the launch of a government Think! Cyclist awareness campaign that will take place across six cities in England.
"It is vital when talking about safety on the roads that we don’t get a ‘them and us’ mentality emerging between drivers and cyclists."
British Cycling Campaign Manager Martin Key
The campaign, a partnership between Transport for London and the Department for Transport, is the first paid-for media campaign aimed at both drivers and cyclists, giving practical advice on how to deal with certain situations on the road.
The advice from Think! consists of a series of tips designed to be balanced in their approach and to educate both drivers and cyclists about the correct way to drive and ride and therefore reduce the number of incidents on the road. British Cycling has campaigned for a nationwide mutual respect campaign for the past two years.
British Cycling’s Campaigns Manager, Martin Key, said: “British Cycling has long championed the need for a driver and cyclist awareness campaign. It is vital when talking about safety on the roads that we don’t get a ‘them and us’ mentality emerging between drivers and cyclists.
"We are all road users and I hope that this campaign can help foster mutual respect between everyone who uses the roads to make journeys safer, more pleasant experiences. We’d like to see an awareness campaign launched nationwide.”
“However, while the central messages behind the campaign are sensible – British Cycling, alongside other cycling organisations, remains concerned about the messaging that sits behind the campaign on the Think! website.
"The messaging suggests that there is an equivalent responsibility for cyclists to wear helmets as there is for cars to stop at red lights. It also ‘recommends’ that cars stop at advanced stop lines. Both are contrary to existing laws. We urge the Department for Transport to alter this messaging urgently and will be writing to the new Cycling Minister, Robert Goodwill, on this matter.”
The campaign’s central messaging focuses on the following four tips:
- Drivers look out (for cyclists) when getting out.
- Cyclists, ride a door’s width from parked cars
- Drivers, look out for cyclists at junctions
- Cyclists, ride central on narrow roads
The campaign, which has been running in London throughout October, is now being extended to cover Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cambridge.
The campaign consists of advertising in roadside locations enabling campaigners to reach and remind drivers and cyclists at the point when problems can occur and when the behaviour of both parties is most likely to be positively influenced.