The Department for Transport is hoping that their ongoing attempts to make Britain’s roads a safer place for motorcyclists may finally pay off thanks to their latest adverts.
Prompted by statistics that motorbikes make up only 1% of traffic, but account for 21% of deaths on British roads, the DfT decided that they had to act to stop other road users from carelessly endangering the lives of those who choose to go hurtling along at breakneck speeds, protected only by a helmet and leather clothing.
The battle first started with the ‘Think! Take extra time to look for bikes’ campaign, in which car drivers were encouraged to adapt the way they drive and constantly be aware that there may be a motorbike coming round the corner, on the wrong side of the road, at 80mph in a residential area. However, even with the help of a TV advert which seemed to suggest that the viewer hadn’t seen the oncoming bike at first glance, despite there quite clearly being no bike in the picture, the results were disappointing.
‘What didn’t help was that Top Gear had this character called the Stig’ said Secretary of State for Transport Philip Hammond, ‘The show hammered home the impression that anybody in a crash helmet was a pseudo-comedic, nameless, faceless, robot-like creature devoid of human emotions and feelings. We had to try to undo this impression with our ‘Think bike, think biker’ campaign, to reassure people that behind the darkened visor of the biker that has just cut in front of you at 120mph is a real flesh and blood person, just like you and me, and it’s just that they’re in a hurry.’
When this again failed to noticeably impact on the fact that bikers are 50 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident than car drivers the DfT decided to change approach.
‘We decided that we needed to do something new’ continued Mr Hammond ‘Perhaps other road users weren’t entirely to blame, perhaps bikers needed to take a share of the responsibility. That’s where the idea for the ‘Think! Bikers, don’t ride like a twat!’ adverts came from.’
The new adverts are aimed at pointing out to riders, that with little or nothing to prevent them from being seriously injured or killed in the event of an accident, it might not be such a good idea to be undertaking people at 95mph in a 50 limit, or attempting to overtake at 110 on a single carriageway road with oncoming traffic.
The adverts were launched last month, and so far haven’t made a bit of difference.