Don’t Think Bike – Think Rider.
A new press campaign is being launched to make drivers aware that the motorcycles they come across on the road are not just bikes, but people. See the person behind the motorcycle helmet seems to be the message sent out by road safety minister Mike Penning.
The campaign is going to cost a massive £1.2 million and will feature TV commercials with signs attached to their bikes with messages such as ‘new dad’ or ‘shy and retiring type’ or even just the riders name, whilst the adverts end by reminding us, or asking us to look out for motorcyclists when we drive.
This is a change of direction and by making it more personal, it’s hoped drivers will not just think of the bike as a machine, but realise it’s a human being sitting on it.
Statistics say that bikers account for around 1% of the traffic on our roads, but 22% of the deaths on the road and indeed these are stunning figures although its hard to believe that these numbers all relate to accidents caused by car drivers, so it would be interesting to know what part of these stats relate to bikers just throwing themselves off the road by travelling to quickly for the road or the road conditions. Don’t you think that’s a fair question?
Apparently, drivers are more likely to see bikers on the road if they know a biker themselves and I suppose that’s logical, because if ‘say’ a member of your family drives a bright blue Fiesta, you’re going to look at each bright blue Fiesta you see. However by inference this also says if we don’t know a biker, we don’t see bikes and that’s not true.
Nobody wants anyone to be injured on the roads, or worse, lose their lives, but that has to be an element of personal responsibility here and that goes for the riders of these machines and whilst every rider I know tells me they are 100% responsible when on their bikes, its clearly not them I see from my office window or when I am in my car.
What’s wrong with a biker simply staying in a line of traffic like cars do? I drive on an 8 mile stretch of single carriageway A road on my journey home and not once, in 20 years of doing that, has a biker that’s come up behind me, stayed behind me (even when driving at the legal limit of the road at 60mph). They always overtake; often narrowly missing oncoming vehicles and most definitely break the speed limit in the overtaking manoeuvre. My office is by a large junction with traffic lights and as we all know, bikers have to weave their way to the front of the line, so everyday, I hear and see bikers rocket away from the lights, and very often with the front wheel hanging a foot or so above the ground. Local TV or press often carry stories of bikers killed or injured on the country roads here in Norfolk and the article most often finishes by saying that no other vehicles were involved in the crash,
OK, this is just one snapshot, but drivers don’t have an axe to grind against motorcyclists, but drivers need to be given a chance and frankly, if motorcyclists rode their bikes as they drive their cars, casualty numbers would fall dramatically.
The TV campaign showing bikers with signs attached to their bikes, maybe should be followed by one with signs attached to cars, with such interesting messages as ‘slow down’ or ‘don’t overtake here’ or simply ‘stay behind me, as another car would’ just as a reminder to everyone that we all have responsibilities to each other and that to stay safe, you have to ride or drive ‘safe’ and its only then that casualty numbers will drop.
The official TV campaign begun on 2nd March with advertising on radio and petrol station forecourts starting on 10th March.