We all remember the advert. A child is being filmed by his friend on a camera phone playing around. As he crosses the street he doesn’t look left and a car runs him over. The advert still sends shivers up my spine.
Some will claim the advert is a good and dramatic way to get the message across about crossing the road safely. The opposite camp will argue that the advert places the responsibility on the victim as opposed to the driver. In particular you may argue that with better street design and a stricter speed limit the accident would never have occurred.
Another advert called Think Bike : Think Biker aims to remind people there’s a person behind the motorbike helmet with ambitions, a family and so forth.
Adverts such as these are becoming less common after being subjected to austerity cuts. However, with the growing focus on cyclist safety, should an advertising campaign form part of the solution?
A recent video clip of a cyclist being run over by a Bristol bus driver is evidence of an undercurrent of anger towards cyclists as a group. This is further exacerbated by sensationalist articles in newspapers which go as far as provoking running cyclists off the road.
If the problem lies in peoples’ perception of cyclists, then it could be an opportunity to remind drivers that cyclists are not villains or a faceless inconvenience.
The advert could focus on the person on the bike and the dangers created by careless driving.
Would such an advert be effective? How could funding be raised to create it and buy advertising spots?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.