02 February 2009

Worlds Apart

Fear Mongering for Profit
A visit to the supermarket the other day. Firstly, I spotted this 'fearmongering for profit' packaging. It's worth mentioning that the company selling this first aid kit isn't Danish [it's 3M]and while such large companies often produce packaging for the local market, it isn't always the case. In one fell swoop they are chipping away at established bike culture by portraying this healthy, life-extending transport option as 'dangerous'. Bloody ridiculous. Why don't they feature a photo of a motorist or a pedestrian? And since Copenhageners don't carry any tool kits, let alone first aid kits, on their bikes, what's the point in this stupid package?
Bling Bling Bike Lights
And then five metres farther along, these Bling Bling bike lights that you can decorate yourself with the shiny, sticky bits included. Marketing cycling as something fun, effortless and a part of daily life. Aimed at young cyclists, this packaging is pure, simple and positive.


Bristol Traffic said...

That is a truly awful photograph. If the parents were worried about child safety, they'd give them gloves. Whenever you come off a bike, its your hands that take it.

lehommeaulevelo said...

I can second that what Bristol Traffic says.

Only a couple of times in my Life have I come off a Bike and landed on my Hands on each occasion. Once I went down a Pothole and fell off the Bike that was in 1965.
Another I was in the Phoenix Park in Dublin as a Teenager around 1965,I went up a 3foot Mound and ended up in a Hole the other side . Wrecking my Bikes front Fork and Hurting my Hands.
About 10 Years ago I was going down the Narrow Roads in my Estate with a Hedge on one side and came to a Cross Road and had to Jam on the Brakes to avoid a Car and went over the Handlebars and Hurt my Hands. Result I am more careful now about Speeding down to Cross Roads.
It is cheaper to make up your own First Aid Box instead of buying their Kits in Shops. I have never had a First Aid KIt on my Bikes even when Touring,I just never thought of them. It is just a Money making Racket.

Adrienne Johnson said...

You are over reacting. It was a packaged helmet with bandages to help you after you have cut yourself on the superfluous packaging :)

I think the people of Copenhagen can spot garbage when they see it. I have faith.

Nphorcer said...

Agree with the first packaging critique - but number two? Come on? "pure, simple packaging". It's packaging!!! its wasteful and utterly at odds with the lifestyle of healthful environmentally sound transport. What's wrong with a bell or whistle in fun colours without this excess wrapping?

Kiwehtin said...

I wonder if those smiley happy models are even actually real-life cyclists? The picture looks painfully fake, not just the expressions but also the stances: they are clearly standing, not riding. And of course the huge, pointless helmets...

Mikael said...

um... it would be hard to sell dozens of tiny, shiny bits of jewelry with stick-on tape without packaging, wouldn't it?

anth said...

Interestingly I was reading a guidebook to Copenhagen ahead of our trip in March (the Rough Guide since the Lonely Planet, which we normally get, is due to be updated this year) and there was a section on cycling. Naturally it was mentioned as the best way to get around the city, and made sure you knew lights after dark were a legal requirement. It then mentioned that helmets weren't, but that they are 'recommended' for 'safety'.

Most pictures I see from Copenhagen the riders don't seem to bother with helmets - is it something that is promoted in Denmark?

Gary said...

The packaging is dumb and out of touch for sure, however I am sometimes a little turned off by how passionately safety precautions get reamed on this blog sometimes.

Maybe it just comes from living in Los Angeles where a cyclist who isn't looking out for their safety is almost assuredly preparing them self for injury and urban areas are so sprawled it is necessary to be riding pretty fast if you want to get anywhere in a timely fashion. I'm curious how many injuries happen in Copenhagen in spite of the great infrastructure and more cycling focused culture and urban planning.

I dream of riding there someday to see the great mecca of cycling for my self.

bloodline said...

bicycle helmets do indeed make one look stupid and of course are of little use in a truly horrific accident... what looks really stupid is a easily preventable head injury, when it could have been prevented,[caution, a sarcastic statement is upcoming] i wear a bicycle helmet so i can take more chances with a false sense of security, works for me, ... what if i had a different goal than looking good?

Mikael said...

if bicycle helmets were actually designed to prevent serious injury you might have a point. www.cyclehelemts.org

Gary: i merely object to this cultural import from another society. it doesn't reflect the norms of this country and it harms cycling.

Dottie said...

That reminds me of the silly "Bike Commuter Kit" I saw at the store the other day, complete with neon vest, reflective ankle strap, reflective stickers, blinky light, and body wipes (ew).

Jimm said...

"...since Copenhageners don't carry any tool kits..." (from article)

And this is a real shame as a little education, a tool kit, and 10-15 minutes is enough to make people be more self-sufficient in repairing a flat tire or minor mechanical problems.

All too often I see bikes dumped on the side of the road in Copenhagen due to minor issues that would keep the bikes in use.

Jimm said...

from anth: "...Most pictures I see from Copenhagen the riders don't seem to bother with helmets - is it something that is promoted in Denmark?"

Yes and no. There was an attempt not too long ago by the Danish Cycling Foundation to promote a goverment bill to make helmets the law, with the argument that wearing helmets is safer. Yet statistics around the world prove otherwise - injuries to cyclists have not lessened significantly when wearing a helmet.

A helmet is *not* going to protect you from being run over by a car/truck (one of the most common accidents with a bicycle) and when falling you tend to lands on hands/arms/other body parts.

Also, wearing a helmet has lead some people into a false feeling of security because it replaced common sense and erring on the side of caution.

Lastly, it's been documented that *forcing* people to wear helmets has actually dissuaded people from cycling (particularly in Australia).

People should have the right to choose what makes them feel safe.

Nphorcer said...

the dumping of functional, but slightly injured bicycles sounds like a good means of income redistribution - someone who can't afford a bike, but has the requisite skills could easily re-habilitate these "junkers"


julia said...

I saw the first picture and couldn't help smiling. I live in Minnesota, home to 3M (which actually means Minnesota Mining and Manufacture) and it's pretty loyal to the local lifestyle as I perceive it - I've been here for.

I won't discuss that it is, indeed, a ridiculous item. But it describes perfectly the "get ready for anything that may happen" philosophy the people here seem to embrace.

Funny enough, I haven't seen the 3M thingis in that packaging around. They come in a boring plastic or cardboard box (as in every other part of the planet).

julia said...

sorry, I meant to say that I'm not minnesotan. not that it is too important, but I like to finish what I start saying.

have a nice day!