05 November 2010

Health Warnings on Cars - The Ball is Rolling

Driving can seriously harm you and others around you
Readers may recall Copenhagenize's call for logical campaigns - why not legislation - for health warning on cars, like the ones we see on cigarette packets.

This features in the talk I give in many cities: Four Goals for Promoting Urban Cycling. It always gets a laugh and often gets a mention in the press coverage of the talks.

You can then imagine my thrill upon recieving the following photo from our reader Marián, in the Czech Republic.
Driving Harms You and Your Environment

Look at that. What a billboard. Right there on the left, slapped bravely and boldly onto a gridlock photo is the health warning label for the new millenium. It reads, in Czech,

"Driving a car harms you and your environment"

Brilliant. Okay, it's a Czech Bicycle Industry advert at the Bike Brno 2010 Expo and not a government campaign but hey... this is a brilliant start. And much needed in the Czech Republic. Prague is a black hole on the map regarding urban cycling. Bicycles are returning to the strangest cities these days, but Prague hardly registers on the map.

It's really quite bizarre.
Health Warning for Cars
Anyway, when I was in the States last year I saw this at Office Depot - let's get producing them.


petterwr said...

I would love to get stickers with this and similar texts. If anyone starts selling them I'd buy immediately :)

(Preferably a bit smaller though so they fit into a pocket and can be handed out at any opportunity.)

Mikael said...

The stickers are actually available for purchase in the online shop

Daisy said...

I think you are wrong about Prague biking. I'm an American who has been living and cycling in Prague for about seven years and I can tell you that conditions for cycling are getting better and better here every year. Here is a blog post about new infrastructure that opened this year and that I use on my commute daily: http://praguebikeblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/taking-ride-on-europes-most-expensive.html.
Of course, Prague is making a lot of mistakes and has a long way to go. Czech drivers can be very bad and our narrow roads are full of outrageous SUVs. But more and more people are riding and the city does make some improvements every year. Cycling improvements and reducing car dependency were issues in our recent municipal elections and the most pro-cycling party actually won a plurality of council seats. In addition to improving conditions for urban cycling in Prague, the entire Czech Republic continues to actively develop its cyclo-tourism infrastructure, which does a lot to boost cycling generally. In all, this is a very good place to ride a bike and it is getting better all the time. Keep an eye on us!

Mikael said...

Having been there twice in the last year I was shocked, both times, to see so few people on bicycles. Of all the cities I have visited to give lectures, Prague is rock-bottom. Ironically, Pardubice has a whopping 18% modal share for bicycles.

There is some infrastructure in Prague, yes. There are lots of hobby cyclists on the weekend, yes. (The minister of transport told me there were something like 800,000 bicycles in the city - most used recreationally)

But there are hardly any Citizen Cyclists - or cyclists at all - on the streets of the city. The car drivers are the same as anywhere else and urban cycling is booming in cities across Central Europe. Just not in Prague.

At the conferences I've attended in Brno and Prague it seems that this cycle touring angle is getting all the attention and money. Little is being done for improving conditions for regular citizens to use bicycles. I hope there is political change that will reverse this.

Visit Pardubice for inspiration.

Lasse said...

You must feel proud!

townmouse said...

Love the stickers. Maybe the last one should read 'Get help to stop driving: consult your local bike shop'

Vic said...

I was in San Francisco recently, and noticed this sign prominently displayed at the entrance to a parking garage:

"Warning: Automobile fuel and its by-products contain chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm."

A step in the right direction. :)

Joe D said...

damn! i had just this week been thinking about health warning stickers for leaving on the car adverts that are imposed on london bus stops, and you've beaten me to it :(

Kirk said...

I saw this large sticker on a car in Minneapolis...

WARNING: Driving a car is addictive

very nice.

petterwr said...

Perfect place to put them must be on parkometers. There they will be exposed to as many drivers as possible.

Anonymous said...

I think the advertising campaign should read: "Yes, this car makes you look fat".

Hit 'em where it counts - their vanity!