09 September 2008

Another Advert Promoting Cycling

And what does the esteemed panel think of this one?
Is is a corporation trying to win brownie points by getting on the bicycle trend or is it a good, pure message? I like the fact that it's normal people on normal bikes in normal clothes. People looking happy as they ride and transporting stuff around, including pets.

Generally a thumbs up from me. Although the right-wing pro-helmet website Helmets.org wants you to put helmets on your dogs if you cycle with them, so Kaiser Permanente must hate animals. :-)

And that shot of people running in the street without helmets seems a little irresponsible. They're in the street for god's sake. They're running faster than the bike. :-)

Okay, I'll shut up now. Although since this video has a feeling of bike share to it, at the beginning anyway, I'll mention the hurdle faced by cities - especially those with helmet laws - who wish to implement bike share programmes like the one in Copenhagen, Paris or 60 other European cities. They don't know what to do about helmets. You can't share helmets for obvious hygiene reasons. The whole idea about bike share programmes is the 'ease of use' and the spontaneity factor. Here's an article about it at The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. It's an interesting point.

Safety in Numbers
Daniel sent us this link to an article at Science Daily about the Safety in Numbers concept regarding cycling.

Dr Rissel says transport authorities should highlight the fun, convenience and health and environmental benefits of cycling, rather than what he views as an undue emphasis on danger and safety messages, which can deter cyclists: "We should create a cycling friendly environment and accentuate cycling's positives rather than stress negatives with 'safety campaigns' that focus on cyclists without addressing drivers and road conditions. Reminding people of injury rates and risks, to wear helmets and reflective visible clothes has the unintended effect of reinforcing fears of cycling which discourages people from cycling."


David Hembrow said...

When talking about bike sharing schemes, don't forget the OV-Fiets scheme in the Netherlands.

This is quite a large shared bike scheme, which operates nationwide. There are bikes in 170 different railway stations and other locations.

SteveL said...

To be fair to helmets.org, if you look at their

recommendations for skiing
, they say that ski helmets are only worth considering if you don't ski in the trees, because the collisions that kill skiers arent things ski helmets fix. So they've noticed that there are some places where helmets don't bring much to the table. Personally, I plan to start campaigning to make cycling with gloves mandatory. Whenever you fall of, its your hands that take the damage.

Zakkaliciousness said...

thanks david!

stevel: fairness is good.
remember the broken fingernails, too. :-) a much more important issue for the fashionable cyclists in cph.

stevo9er said...

My vote goes towards trying to earn brownie points. Here in the United States, even the non-profit health-care providers need to work on the bettering public's perception of them and their image.

I bet the VP of marketing at KP could probably gives a rats ass about people getting on bicycles.

Anonymous said...

Nice ad but the helmets magically appear, except for the dog. I suppose the positive feelings for KP are to magically appear too. Show the truth about the car culture to be fair and balanced.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that dog is not wearing a helmet. I am sending a link to PETA right now.

Yokota Fritz said...

It's not as if bike helmets for dogs aren't available!

Zakkalicious, you're apparently aware that the helmet issue has delayed bike share efforts in multiple cities in the USA. When I rented a bike to get around in Washington DC, I was required to put a helmet on (one of their loaners -- ewww!) before they let me have the bike.

Zakkaliciousness said...

fritz... who are 'they' when you try to get a bike in D.C.? is there a helmet law in that city? and the whole point of bike share programmes is that there is no 'they', there is just you, a touch screen and a bike.

Yokota Fritz said...

Zakka -- "They" were a commercial bike rental stand catering to tourists near the White House. The bike sharing operation is brand new and wasn't available when I visited last.

Anonymous said...

I really like this advertisement and think everyone wins here. Cycling is shown as useful and fun. You can get somewhere, transport your stuff, and be connected with your fellow citizen.

Note the diversity of characters and tasks that the creative director cleverly weaves in. The cyclists are different ages, races, and occupations. (There’s an easily identifiable doctor/nurse, businessman, student.) For tasks, there’s buying a plant, carrying recyclables, green market shopping, all of which show you can do a lot on a bike and they create a sub-conscious association between cycling and other rewarding activities.

In the end, the public that views this message and feels encouraged enough to get on a bike benefits from increased health and reduced transportation costs. Others benefit from less crowded roads and cleaner air. Kaiser Permanente benefits too as insurance companies are more profitable when their customers are healthy. I think we all win here.

CycloneCross said...

Stevo9r, While I wasn't able to find any cycling info on KP.org, some large healthcare providers such as Cleveland Clinic are beginning to make significant efforts to promote cycling to their employees and the community: Cleveland Clinic Bikes

Zak - thanks for posting both the KP commercial and the ScienceDaily article! One of our local bike shops has a bicycle rental program for the canal towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I've only had the occasion to rent one of their bikes once a few years ago. While the rental 'includes' a helmet, I don't recall people having to wear it. Ironically, the towpath is one of the few spots that I might not wear a helmet when riding.

Andy B from Jersey said...

The message about cycling being fun and healthy was excellent HOWEVER they showed people riding in a way that I would frankly describe as dangerous almost to the point of recklessness.

For the entire first half of the video they show the cyclists riding on the sidewalk or in the wrong direction of traffic (oddly enough in the entire second half the riding is legal and with no sidewalk riding). Now I'm not one of those "Vehicular Cycling" fanatics but there is quite a bit of evidence that riding on the sidewalk is MUCH more dangerous than on the street. Crashes at intersections and driveways are the most common car-bike crashes and these are MUCH, MUCH more likely to happen when one rides on the sidewalk. These intersection types of crashes are much more common than being hit from behind as one rides on the road. I don't think I need to talk about the hazards from riding on the wrong side of the road.

The intent was admirable but I feel the display of reckless bicycle riding in the beginning is so bad that it should be pulled. If this glaring oversight was corrected I would totally love it!

PS - I know they did it this way for the lighting and to make it easier to film, however...

Yokota Fritz said...

Cyclone: The "Freewheelin" bike share programs at the party conventions in Denver and MPLS were financed and run by another large health company -- Humana.

Nick said...

Helmets on dogs? Great idea; give the dogs the helmets and let the rest of us use our own judgment!

mel21clc said...

I went on a group bike ride with the DC Ministry of Bicycling here in Washington DC this weekend. (I think you'd like their stated goal of "making biking awesomer".)

Even in that setting, though, while we waited at a light in a bike lane downtown, some jackass rider (to be clear, not one of the organizers) had to interrupt my afternoon of awesome to say, "Excuse me, but I think you ought to know you should be wearing a helmet because it's safer." Do I go up to you when you're buying condoms and say, "Excuse me, but I think you ought to know that you would be a lot safer just not having sex"? No, I don't, because you're a capable adult, and it's none of my damned business.

Ugh. I take comfort that I don't think he harassed anyone else who was helmet-free after I politely told him off and threw some statistics his way. I don't think he was expecting that.