Monday 26 September 2016

THINK! Safety campaign. Moment of Genius?

Yes, its shit.

But as well as being shit, for reasons more than adequately explained elsewhere, is it, very quietly, a work of complete genius?

Obviously there must be no ambiguity in a simple safety message - if we're riding or driving along and an overtaking vehicle swerves in to us, or if we're at a junction and another road user pulls up on our right to turn left through the space we're in, then the other guy is in the wrong. Its that simple. 

But out there on the road, out in the wild, where life is complicated and full of consequences? Yes, its still that simple. The other guy is in the wrong. Don't be bloody stupid.

If, however, we bimble up the inside of a massive vehicle that's turning, and he pulls through the space we're in, we're in the wrong - I'd argue that such an error is not one that should be worthy of a death sentence, and that engineering and design consideration needs to be given to reducing the harm from such incidents, but I don't think that detracts the idea that such is a bad idea.

And that's where this video sits - the intention, the wordy approach, would be to tell us not to ride up the inside of massive vehicles, whereas the video shows a scenario in which, if we're generous, the events leading up to the incident are ambiguous. It looks like the truck comes past the cyclist and turns left through him. The video is entirely at odds with the message, and comes across as horrific victim blame. I get all that.

But maybe that IS the message. In the real world the cyclist will be blamed whether its his fault or not - there's often no other witness in incidents where the cyclist gets killed, and if the only eye witness is the driver the chance of a prosecution is slim. Were you riding along, minding your own business when a toe-rag turned through you and killed you? Haha, we're the Department for Transport, and we stand with the motor lobby in blaming YOU!

Is this video, unintentionally or via a moment of sublime genius, set up as a way of communicating just how hostile we are towards cycling in the UK? Is this actually telling us - 'you do nothing wrong and we'll still bend facts to blame you'? Is the Department for Transport funded Think! campaign actually aspiring to a work of tremendous and subtle art, turning the very act of trolling into a cunning tool for bringing transport inequalities to the public eye? The Man will read ambiguity into your death to find a reason to let the other guy off, so look the fuck out. We're coming for you.

Superbly trolled. Wonderfully executed. Masterfully unpleasant.

Naah, forget it, I'm obviously talking shite. These folk aren't that clever, its just crap.

1 comment:

  1. Continuity failures too HGV driver is alongside the cyclist less than 20m from Junction (scaling from truck =c.8m) yet fails to start signalling? The clips are too short to properly estimate vehicle speeds, and not much to scale-off against (dashed white lines (none) railings panels (no) 20mph logo (possibly)) but 20mph ... really? Looks a bit faster than that to me

    Headlights on as approaching 0'26" but no rear lights and no brake lights 0'27" - 0'28" with indicator clearly showing where the light cluster should be. A PG9 prohibition there I reckon...

    Almost every cyclist in that position (0'28") would be hitting the brakes as (fortunately in this case) the nearside repeaters (required by law) show the driver has decided to turn left, at speed and cut the corner (note shallow angle of steering and clear lack of slowing down by driver) The driver is lazily taking the loosest turn around a wide junction, and clearly failing to consider the possibility of stationary vehicles or pedestrians crossing in the area which only becomes visible barely a second before they drive into it on a left turn at c.15mph, due to the A pillar and mirrors blocking off the huge steradian (solid angle) which us generally where most cyclists are riding when an HGV driver hits them, making a full lock left turn - typically 80% of London HGV-cycle fatalities fit this pattern, a detail that Police investigations would have revealed - if DfT had actually done some decent objective research!