05 October 2010

Blame the Cyclists and Pedestrians

Watch the Blind Angles
I got handed a boiled sweet the other day, which is nice. Some lovely young ladies in goofy reflective vests were handing out these packets to cyclists in Copenhagen. The spiral pattern kind of matches the large warning stickers that are currently on the bike lanes at selected intersections.

The text reads "Watch out for blind spots" meaning that cyclists are being warned to watch out for trucks turning right.
Fair enough. But I've been looking around at the stickered intersections, like the one below.
Watch Out for Angles/Angels
I can't for the life of me find any campaign material warning trucks and cars to watch out for cyclists and pedestrians. Not one sign. No electronic signals at an appropriate height to warn truck drivers of the prescence of cyclists on the right. Nada.

It's the City's Traffic Council - Byens Trafikråd who are involved in the campaign, which has been running on and off for a couple of years. A couple of years! Still no corresponding warnings for the drivers of the large, dangerous machines. But then these are the people who have previously warned cyclists to use lights in this happy, cycle-promoting way...

Such is the car-centric development in this country at the moment. Is it really so difficult to at the very least even the campaign playing field? Like this campaign that places the responsibility on the vulnerable traffic users but that has no corresponding campaign for the drivers of the vechicles that actually do the killing and injuring.

Human beings, whether choosing to propel themselves around their city on foot or on bicycle, should not be bullied by car-centric campaigns and certainly not by taxpayer funded organisations. Run by people with so little understanding of marketing and scientific data that it's embarassing.

In somewhat related news, there was a campaign recently for Danish trucking. It was a well-executed campaign, with a catchy music video and events on public squares to raise awareness about how important trucks are for the transport of goods. The campaign is called "Holder DK kørende" or "We keep Denmark rolling".

The tone was simultaneously indignant and pleading. They are itching to regain some respect for their work in this age of awareness about pollution, traffic congestion and bad press about trucks causing accidents. Despite the folksy rap, using actual truckers, the campaign was a bit desperate.

We do, however, approve, of the inclusion of cyclists being seen in the rear view mirror at 0:13 in the video. It's dark and rainy but at least the truckers are trying to win hearts and minds.

The lyrics around there include "We sometimes stop in the street. Sorry if we take up space... but goods need to be delivered!..."

This wasn't an inexpensive campaign. It is quite professional. I'd prefer professional, intelligent traffic safety campaigns ON THE STREET aimed at motorists - of the same quality as this - instead of getting handed a boiled sweet on a street corner with a wagging car-centric finger waved in my face.