Road Safety News

New THINK! campaign asks drivers and cyclists to ‘look out for each other’

Thursday 20th September 2012

A new THINK! campaign launched today (20/9/12) calls on drivers and cyclists to stay safe by looking out for each other – and points out that drivers and cyclists have more in common than is often realised.

The THINK CYCLIST campaign is launched on the back of a new DfT poll in which 25% of respondents said they have noticed more cyclists on the road following Team GB’s success in the London Olympics and Paralympics, and  Bradley Wiggins’ success in the Tour de France.

This is the first time that the THINK! team has produced a campaign talking to cyclists and drivers.

With 80% of cyclists holding a driving licence, and one in five drivers cycling at least once a month, the campaign is based on the premise that they are often the same people.

The DfT poll also showed that there are areas of agreement between cyclists and drivers on how to stay safe. Looking twice for each other at junctions came out top for both as the precaution that would avoid the most collisions (41% of cyclists, and 35% of car drivers). Both also agree on how to make things better, with 67% of cyclists and 59% of drivers saying that giving each other space on the road was in their top three ways of making cyclists and drivers more visible to road users.

Stephen Hammond, transport minister said: “We take the issue of cycle safety extremely seriously so we are launching ‘THINK CYCLIST’, a campaign aimed at cyclists and drivers.

 “With interest in cycling heightened by Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and our cyclists’ extraordinary success at the Olympics and Paralympics, we want to remind cyclists and drivers of the importance of looking out for each other to avoid accidents.

“Many people cycle and drive and a new THINK! poll shows both road user groups agree that looking twice at junctions, as well as giving each other space on the road, are practical things we can all do to help reduce the number of cyclists killed and seriously injured on our roads each year.”

FOOTNOTE: The THINK! team has produced a Stakeholder Toolkit to accompany this campaign. The Toolkit can be downloaded from the Members’ Area on this website. Road Safety GB members will find the toolkit in the Members Area under ‘DFT Communications’.


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With a whopping budget of £80,000 I don't think this campaign will go very far at all.
Steve, Merseyside

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I don't wish to gripe, or shoot the messenger, but it would have been useful if the DfT could have notified Road Safety Officers of the campaign prior to its launch.
Rebecca, Leeds

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Spot on, Hugh. If I should be unfortunate enough to be in a crash or scrape of any sort, and I was talking to any of my police driving instructor friends I would get that steady gaze which would say, 'How did you get into that vulnerable position in the first place?'. The key word is vulnerable and that leads to vulnerability. Too many people out there, whilst not actually having had a crash, are clearly very vulnerable to one and that's what they need to become aware of - and that's where RS campaigns need to come from if they are to make any serious impact on the situation.
Nigel Albright

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Nigel: I too have always promoted the same mind set to drivers - although 'defensive driving' has always seemed to me be an appropriate phrase - i.e defending yourself against other road users' mistakes/carelessness - expecting the unexpected; don't drive so fast that you can't stop etc. But the phrase doesn't matter - I'm just pleased that other people are tying to get the same message across. Its like one level above 'not causing a collision', called 'not being in one at all'.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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I am not in favour of the term ‘defensive driving’, which I feel has negative connotations. It’s a more positive mindset based on high awareness and forward observation and planning. In commentary I use the expression ‘Always looking out for areas of potential conflict in order to avoid them’, and ‘What you can’t see can hurt you’, related to adjusting speed so that no matter what situation occurs you can always stop in time, aka HC 126, ‘Drive at a speed so that you can stop well within the distance you can see to be clear'. Lord Montague of Beaulieu in his book The Art of Driving, written in 1906, wrote, ‘It is your job, not the other man’s to avoid danger’. That’s still as true today as it was then and it should the fundamental platform on which all road safety programmes are based.
Nigel Albright

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It's a starter for ten. In my workshops to advanced driving groups, and as training officer for some of the same, I have always promoted that your safety is your affair, no one elses. You trust no one until they prove they can be trusted. That is the only way to stay safe on the roads. So it's not just car drivers and cyclists; everyone should be 'looking out' for any situation which could compromise their safety. 'Looking out' for areas of potential conflict which could compromise ones safety is a fundamental principle which should be promoted across all road safety programmes, and particularly by ADIs who are are teaching the youngest element with all their road life ahead of them. The government (if they have any infinite wisdom) should be latching on to this.
Nigel Albright

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It may not be sufficient merely to ask “drivers and cyclists to ‘look out for each other’”, we may have to address the reasons why these groups have set upon each other.

At the core may be that cyclists have been encouraged to see drivers as “the enemy” who cause crashes and, while this may be largely true, crashes seem to occur because we are not so much cyclists and drivers, but road users making different choices of vehicle.

As a start, look at the top 20 factors attributed to cyclists and drivers in London, there were very similar types of actions by each, even speeding. Almost as many cyclists (24) were "exceeding the speed limit" as motorists (30).

Making people aware of the real causes of crashes may need more than this campaign, it could require almost a complete reversal of national policy.
Dave Finney - Slough

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Pete - the campaign toolkit says:

THINK CYCLIST is primarily a media campaign. We will be aiming to reach cyclists and drivers through national, local, specialist and social media. Our launch story on 20th September will highlight the common ground between cyclists and drivers, and how road users can look out for each other through adopting some simple advice. Following our launch, we will be aiming to get feature-led coverage in consumer media (mainly online) around the themes of commonality, visibility and shared responsibility.

Hope that helps.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed

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Anyone know whether this useful looking campaign will make use of TV, or radio, or is it just billboards?
pete, liverpool

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