18 January 2012

New Campaign - Ignoring the Danish Bull

This campaign from the car-centric Danish Road Safety Council is a prime example of how they are maintaining the status quo and Ignoring the Bull in society's china shop.

According to their warped ideology, cars rule the streets and anyone who dares to challenge this indisputable fact will be eliminated. They use cars - portrayed as anonymous machines (no focus on the invisible driver and no focus on the responsibility of these drivers to take care in the traffic) - to hammer home their point that they are incapable of taming motorised traffic and, I fear, completely unwilling to do so.

The video, above, is a part of the Tag Chancen / Take the Chance campaign, which we had a sneak preview about last year and also here. "Take Chances, just not in the Traffic" is the slogan. It is focused on the foolish youth who dare to believe that cities should be liveable places with safe mobility - a basic human right - for it's citizens.

It features the Danish footballer Christian Eriksen, who plays for Ajax Amsterdam. Filmed in Amsterdam, the Road Safety Council and their cohorts - including the Danish insurance behemoth Tryg who would love you to be frightened into buying their insurance policies - even manage to infiltrate the Netherlands with their message by filming this in that country.

Ironically, Amsterdam, like many other European cities, takes traffic safety seriously by restricting the speed limits for cars and positively promoting urban cycling. The Road Safety Council has no plans for Denmark to follow suit - either on lower speed limits or positive cycling promotion. Which is why the 30 kbh campaign was started on Facebook. Cars are king in their eyes. Get used to it.

It's manipulated reality, which is always a bit desperate. Eriksen is struck down by a speeding motorist (and we're sorry to see him arriving at Ajax stadium in a car and not on a bicycle) even though it is unlikely that a car could get up to that speed on that stretch, or would even try given the lower speed limits. But fukkit. It's dramatic effect. When citizens dare to infiltrate the domain of the automobile, they must pay the price.

Another video in the series features some Danish rapper type named Joey Moe. Wham. He's struck down for daring to challenge the dominance of the automobile. Ironically, we can see him hanging out in front of Bobi Bar in the centre of Copenhagen. It's on this street, Klareboderne:
A traffic-calmed street that ends at Købmagergade pedestrian street, from whence the car apparently is coming from. So, again, fabricated reality. Here's the street on Google Maps.

Vis stort kort

With all the videos, the cars are clearly speeding. Ignoring speed limits and setting their own agenda, with the full backing of the Road Safety Council.

There is no commentary aimed at motorists making them aware of their responsibility as drivers of dangerous machines to take care and drive responsibly. We see this all to often in the current era of traffic campaigns in Denmark, like this one that ignores the traffic rules and goes after cyclists.

There's another film featuring a Danish comedian, Mick Øgendahl. Again, same message. This time with a bike involved, which probably makes this the Road Safety Council's favourite film in the series.

There are other films in the series featuring people you have never heard of if you're from outside of Denmark, so I won't bore with with non-celebrities.

This campaign is particularly tasteless given the fact that a 10 year old girl was mowed down and killed last November - by the same kind of speeding motorist that the Road Safety Council proudly portray in this film.

The point is, as always, that Denmark's journey to renewed car-centricity - we are more car-centric now than at any time since the 1960s - is sad. Not least because a so-called Road Safety Council (basically a communications bureau that doesn't employ anyone with the ability to read scientific research) is intent on ignoring the goal of liveable cities, safe streets, lower speed limits and all the ingredients for a positive urban future. In favour of their own ideology.

That these communication people are even allowed to use money to promote their personal vision of an automobile-based society - and in 2012 - baffles the mind. Ah, yes. The insurance company's fund helps finance it. Follow the money, as ever.

Like we often say, please come to Copenhagen to see how the City of Copenhagen's traffic and bicycle department has developed a fantastic bicycle infrastructure network with brilliant innovation and dedication regarding encouraging more people to cycle.

You needn't bother coming here for our bicycle advocacy or for our (non) promotion of cycling or liveable cities. We are farther from returning to the Anti-Automobile age than we've ever been.

For that, please go to the Netherlands. We never tire of highlighting this fine example of a road safety campaign that places the focus where it must be placed:

Drive With Your Heart