Having just blogged about cyclist safety in February, I was just made aware of a new Scottish campaign, Pedal on Parliament whose manifesto is posted on their site pedalonparliament.org. They have a second ride, targeted at Holyrood on 28th April 2012. The manifesto they’re compaigning for goes like this:
- Proper funding for cycling.
- Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
- Slower speeds where people live, work and play
- Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
- Improved road traffic law and enforcement
- Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
- A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
- Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy
Admirable though this is, I think its missing something. I believe that a media campaign whose purpose is to sell ‘cyclists’ to other road users through targeted education would mitigate a number of the safety issues we see today. Positive stereotypes and popular figures can do a great deal in this regard – as I’ve said before about Mark Cavendish’s fantastic success story, he’s raised the image of cycling in the UK, just as Lance did in the US.
Putting it another way, perhaps using the media to improve the public’s prevailing view of your average cyclist-in-lycra is a second and equally important target. We need to sell a positive image of ‘the cyclist’ as your average law abiding joe because its true.
The Think-Bike Think Biker TV campaign has adverts named after people to promote motor-cyclist safety and aims to make the ‘object-in-the-road’ not just an object, not just a bike, but a human being on a bike. We need something similar.