British Cycling, the Bicycle Association, and Cycling UK have all condemned the Department for Transport's THINK cycle safety campaign which was launched earlier today.
Cycling organisations were briefed about the campaign in advance, and were told it would be "balanced". [The balance appears to be another video, which is a list of tips for drivers and isn't anywhere near as polished or as professional as the HGV video.]
Steve Garidis, operations director of the industry organisation Bicycle Association said: “Whilst it is clearly welcome that the DfT’s Think campaign is looking to produce material which helps cyclists, the approach taken in the video is inappropriate in its style, and unhelpful in giving an impression of responsibility lying solely with the cyclist."
He added: "The Bicycle Association has funded highly successful road user awareness videos highlighting the space cyclists need on the road, and guidance on how drivers can overtake cyclists safely. The BA would be very happy to support the DfT to produce more effective content in future videos.”
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety and legal campaigns officer said:
“Cycling UK raised its concerns with this campaign at the earliest stage and we are very disappointed this was not taken on board. Hopefully, following the understandable widespread negative reaction THINK! has received from road safety campaigners, they will rethink and re-engage to learn from their mistakes.
“The THINK! campaign should be a powerful voice for helping to change road practice, but unfortunately sometimes its messaging is wrong."
British Cycling's campaigns manager Martin Key said: "It is important that people are made aware of how to share the road safely giving each other plenty of time and space, particularly at junctions. This video places all the responsibility on the cyclist by showing a dangerous overtaking manoeuvre resulting in a collision."
He added: "The campaign also needs to tackle the cause and not just the symptom. Safer driving, safer vehicles and better road layouts would have a much greater impact than relying on scare tactics. British Cycling has raised these concerns directly with the Department for Transport following the launch of its ‘hang back’ campaign.”
The West Midlands police traffic team has also commented on the HGV video: "Let's just say we won't be using it, we might use it to show drivers not what to do though."
Question: why is the cyclist shown carrying a bag hanging from his handlebar? Odd.