Road Safety News

Campaign challenges bikers to learn to anticipate mistakes made by others

Monday 7th April 2014

The second phase of a campaign to encourage PTW riders to enhance their skills comprises a series of short animated films and a database of regional training courses and safety information for bikers.

The TWIST campaign, developed by the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Road Safety Partnership (CPRSP), first launched in May 2013. The main element of the initial campaign is an animated video which has attracted almost 27,000 views on YouTube. The light-hearted film shows some of the daft and dangerous things that can get bikers into trouble – and encourages them to enhance their skills to make them better and safer riders.

The second phase, TWIST2, comprises a series of four shorter films which this time focus on the mistakes that drivers make which can have serious implications for riders. The films challenge riders to learn to anticipate mistakes made by others.

The first of the new films (see above) went live on Friday 4 April and the others will be released at three weekly intervals during April and May 2014.

As part of TWIST2, the project team has built a database of local and regional training courses and safety information for bikers. Road safety officers from across the UK have been invited to submit information for inclusion in the database.

Matt Staton, from the CPRSP, said: “While we’ve developed this campaign for use here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the films will be viewed on YouTube by bikers across the UK and further afield.

“As such, in order to maximize the campaign’s effectiveness it seemed logical to include details of local and regional training for bikers across the UK.”

Any road safety officer who would like to add or amend information about courses in their area should contact Simon Rawlings, TWIST project manager, on 01379 650112.


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Thanks everyone for your various comments – we are delighted that our campaign has prompted a lively debate on the subject of bikers' safety.

Just to be clear, the key objective of the films we are producing is to highlight the need for, and benefits of, additional post test training – and, crucially, to signpost people to where they can find out more about training opportunities in their local area. So the films are primarily designed to bring people to the campaign website and the database of local/regional training opportunities on the site.

With regard to the films themselves, there is research available which suggests that social threat and/or humour are effective in getting safety messages across. And like it or not, drivers and motorcyclists are often subject to stereotypes and the animation amplifies these for the purpose of humour.

The first film, released last year, focussed on motorcyclist stereotypes and stimulated discussion with groups of riders that we would never have otherwise engaged with traditional safety messages. Feedback from bikers suggested that for the next phase we should flip it round and caricature some of the driver errors that cause collisions with motorcyclists, which we have done.

We look forward to further discussion following the release of the next film on 25 April.
Matt Staton, Cambridgeshire

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)

If only those drivers that make errors of judgement were as easily spotted as the 'Bussy-Ness' man, not all drivers that collide with motorcyclists will have been carrying out an injudicious action prior to the collision.

There is of course the need for riders to manage thier own risk in order to avoid another road user's error but none of the videos give this message. They also exclude the majority of riders by suggesting it is only riders that behave inappropriately that are at risk and need to take action. Has stereotyping ever been succesful in another campaign?
Chris Gloucestershire

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Thanks for your words, Sue. I have for some time now promoted the BIKER THINK! attitude on motorcycle websites. I even have the first such sticker that I made up on the back of my car and that was about 4/5 years ago.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

Both Bob and Duncan make very good points. The key is to plant the following thought in to every biker's head - always keep control in your own hands and never rely on any other road user to do the right thing. Until this germinates no rider can ever be a real thinking biker.

How could this little gem of a thought be encouraged to grow? Some interventions have been based on the Transtheoretical Change Model (TTM) also known as States of Change (SoC).

I believe that an approach for the 21st century would be to develop new interventions based on professor Robert West's PRIME theory. The theory describes a hierarchy of motivation and a number of themes that unify it. I believe that this way forward holds great promise.
Mark - Wiltshire

Agree (3) | Disagree (0)

The video #1 is atrocious and offensive because it stereotypes all riders as complete idiots and lawbreakers. It would be far more effective if the pointed humour was kept out of this, and if the focus was instead on more realistic scenarios. I mean how many accidents occur due to riders deliverately diving up the pavement, knocking down pedestrians etc? How many accidents occur through riders wheelie-ing their 'bikes on the public roads? There are far more accidents caused by drivers being inattentive, distracted or asleep than by 2-wheeled riders. Video #2 is a bit better, but again keep the pointed humour and negative characterizations out of it.
Rob Sherratt

Agree (9) | Disagree (7)

Bob Craven:
From your lips to our signposts! This year Kent and Medway's Think Biker campaign has Biker Think posters at appropriate junctions throughout Medway.
Su, Medway

Agree (6) | Disagree (0)

Videos can be boring that is true, but I reckon that you could make a six second video that would get across a useful message. If it was done right then the message even stands a good chance of being retained and acted upon.

How about this for an idea?

Filtering? Spot the gap, prepare for the trap!

That's a very valuable message, it rhymes so it is much easier to remember and recall, it doesn't preach or make judgements it simply shows a person that's filtering through traffic a potential danger. There are thousands of these little hints and tips that could be made into very short videos that would chime with the market that we are trying to reach.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

I concur with your view and that's one of an experienced motorcyclist. Car drivers cannot understand bikers and why we do what we do and what creates danger to us. What you have stated is in no way in the Police Riders Handbook but it's sound information, particularly for new and some experienced riders to have.

The film is of little value unless its backed up with a teaching programme that is available and cheap enough for newbies in particular. It seems that apart from advanced riding skills which is advised by a lot of volunteers we need to have paid qualified instructors and whilst car driving lessons are getting cheaper TWV training is very expensive.

A CBT costs in the region of £120 per candidate and that could be up to 6 for anything between 2 and 6 hours very basic training. It seems that anything after that is about £30 per hour compared with a series of car lessons that can be as low as £10 per hour.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (7) | Disagree (1)

We live in a sound-bite world, and a video that went on to explore the danger signs that you rightly mention would probably be seen as boring by many of the yoof of today. I think that this series of videos is meant to plant the seed in young riders' minds, and stimulate them to discover more. When they are on the hook, they can be fed the kind of detail you talk about without thinking that it is boring. I think that the campaign slogan is very catchy, and hopefully it will make a difference to some young riders.
David, Suffolk

Agree (7) | Disagree (0)

"Can you learn to spot them?" is a very sound campaign idea so it's a great shame that the video does not actually give any clues from a rider's perspective about what the tell-tale signs are.

Frustrated drivers that make sudden decisions to pull out of the queue are relatively common, but luckily there are one or two key indicators that might help a rider to spot them. The first is a slightly bigger gap than normal between cars which shows that the driver will have enough room to swing the front of his vehicle as he turns out of the queue. Most drivers in queues rarely leave such a large gap so it's a very good warning sign. The second indicator is that the driver has got to have somewhere to go. If there is nothing coming the other way then that's a warning sign, if there's a driveway adjacent to their current position then they will use that to do the first part of a three point turn.

Thirdly, drivers joining the end of a long queue are more likeley to make a U turn out of the queue than those drivers that have already spent some time in the queue.

Any of these little clues would be of considerable help to any rider that watches the video, but without such content the video is mostly pointless.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (10) | Disagree (2)

I prefer the words 'BIKER THINK' and it should be on every 'Think Biker' poster
Defensive riding techniques need to be taught and practised. Should be considered on a course such as my old RAC/ACU days in the 1960s.

We were brought up on anticipated dangers but so often nowadays it's the not my fault brigade who complain. I know that I have said in the past others feel we should jump through hoops but we must understand that in one hour of riding a twv we probably observe more danger or possible danger than a car driver would have to in a day. And that's the way it has to be.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (8) | Disagree (0)

I refer to the good advice I still remember (and apply) from my motorcycle instructor 45 years ago: ‘It’s no good lying in a pool of blood saying “I was in the right!”! ‘ Anything that helps bikers to learn to ride defensively is to be welcomed.
Pat, Wales

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As somebody pointed out the other day, the phrase "Think Biker!" works just as well with a comma: "Think, Biker!".
Pete, Northants

Agree (16) | Disagree (0)

These films could well prove to be a valuable tool when trying to get riders to realise that they can do something about their risk, even though it might be the driver who bears the majority of responsibility for causing the crash. Far too many riders, and not always the young ones by any means, tell me that it all the fault of the 'cagers' without realising that they too are responsible for their own safety.

Good campaign, Cambridgeshire.
David, Suffolk

Agree (15) | Disagree (0)