Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Grow Up??? Sorry what???

Apparently I am immature.

If you read my blog, you are probably nodding.

If you know me then I have a steadfast confidence that you are going "no shit Sherlock".

That's fine.

You either 'know me' or you know me.

What I really object to, is some moron at an ad agency, telling me I am childish or immature.

Yes.....you guessed it......its those NICE PEOPLE again

I really don't know where to start.

I do cycle on the road.  Along a main arterial road that is 4 lanes of extremely busy and hostile traffic. Compounded by a huge amount of heavy goods vehicles and buses. Yes you are absolutely fucking right I use the pavement.  Especially when I am cycling with my toddler in his trailer or my 8yr old son.

Now don't get me wrong. I am happy to fly along this road on my road bike and keep up with the traffic on a Sunday morning, but if anyone is to suggest I am childish for not cycling in amongst rush hour traffic while I am with my son, leaves me apoplectic with fucking rage.

Not only am I fucking furious at being called immature, what I am doing is perfectly fine according to the Government.

"The arguments for including cycling on the footpath in the fixed penalty regime were given in a Home Office consultation paper issued in July 1996:

Cycling on the pavement is an offence which presents particular difficulties for enforcement. Many cyclists, not just children and teenagers, feel anxious and exposed when riding in traffic and therefore use the pavement for safety. This is understandable and must be taken into account in enforcement. But pedestrians also have the right to use the footway without facing the hazard of cyclists approaching them or coming up from behind. This practice can be especially worrying for the elderly, the infirm and the very young, and accidents have resulted.

Against this background, it is considered desirable to have a more flexible- system to respond to the varying nature of the situation. The existing enforcement arrangements are limited, in that the choice is normally between issuing a verbal warning and instigating prosecution in the courts. The provision of a fixed penalty would provide a middle course of action and greater flexibility of enforcement.

It is recognised that the enforcement of cycling offences can be more difficult than for motoring offences because of the absence of special identification for individuals and their cycles. But these difficulties can be taken into account by the police when deciding on their response to the problem. The police's discretion on how to enforce the law in this area will be particularly important in establishing the right balance. It is considered that the addition of a fixed penalty should help.

There is a letter from the then Home Office Minister, Paul Boateng, reproduced frequently on cycling sites on the Internet, which states that in relation to enforcement of this offence:

The introduction of the fixed penalty is not aimed at responsible cyclists who sometimes feel obliged to use the pavement out of fear of traffic and who show consideration to other pavement users when doing so. Chief police officers, who are responsible for enforcement, acknowledge that many cyclists, particularly children and young people, are afraid to cycle on the road, sensitivity and careful use of police discretion is required."

I consider myself responsible.  I am out cycling with the two most precious people in my life.  Why would I not be.  I don't whiz. I give pedestrians their legal right of way.

But here we have the same situation. The (not) Nice Way Code tarring all cyclists with one great big shitty brush. 

Maybe its not me that needs to GROW UP!

Thursday, 1 August 2013

The Nice Way Code

As pretty much everyone who has a vested interest in cycling, walking and sustainable travel will know, this week saw the launch (before the actual launch) of the Nice Way Code

I was a bit amused that a company entrusted with nearly £500K of public money chose to launch and have a press call before the actual launch.

It produced odd pictures such as this:

I believe it has since been removed. But it took a number of people to point out why it was a very much flawed picture for a road safety campaign.  I will leave you to play Highway Code Bingo with it.......

This was also part of its launch

The Nice Way Code is based on a theory of mutual respect.  I quote " Let’s face it we all have to share the roads. Until the world is a perfect place there are some simple rules we can all follow to make it safer for everyone out there"

I quote the video "targeting pedestrians, cyclists and motorists"

I won't spend my time pulling apart the Nice Way Code Campaign. That is been covered much much better than I ever can here The Car and The Kitten

What I will say is Keith Brown MSP goes on to say "trying to increase the tolerance that should exist between users of the road" and "trying to encourage people to be more tolerant of each others needs"


"Thats how we got good figures in terms of drink driving, over a period of time trying to change the culture"

Ohhhhh kaayyyyyy

Rewind there........

Back to ANY drink drive campaign you have EVER SEEN.

Yup, he IS RIGHT.  They do try and change the culture.


They did do a great job.

Because people were dying, they had a targeted campaign to explain to the people doing the killing, it just wasnt fucking on.

Can any of you remember one campaign for drink driving that said....

"Pedestrians, try not to walk around between the hours of 1 am and 6 am because there may well be drunk drivers about and you might get run over by them"

"cyclists, try not to run red lights because its illegal and a drunk driver might be coming through the opposite way and you will most likely be killed.  You are a vulnerable road user and you need to take responsibility for your own safety by not doing illegal shit"

"kids, always wear a helmet because you don't know when you are cycling in the morning if the person next to you in the huge car hasn't been drinking until 3 am the night before"

Putting the responsibility of the guilty party onto the shoulders of the vulnerable road users in this instance sounds perverse doesn't it?

But that is exactly what they are doing and exactly the parallels they are drawing, Not me.


Just when I thought it couldn't get much worse.

They actually launch.

And what was it we were all told to patiently wait for?


I am now patiently waiting for the videos that will play on other stereotypes.  The one of the 'White Van Man' followed by the usual parody of 'The BMW/Audi/Mec Driver'.

Because so far, that is all the Nice Way Code seems to have done.

Reinforce stereotypes and give misinformed motorists a mouth piece.

Beyond that they seem to be having fun with the twitter account

Lovely, just what a Road Safety campaign needs. People being sarcastic about people being killed by HGV's

Thank goodness the Nice Way Code is in Scotland. I think they would probably be lynched if they were in London where the death toll amongst cyclists continues to rise.

Next we try to compare the campaign to the Kick It Out Campaign

Seriously? This is getting beyond parody now.

I could not find a better analogy than one tweeted to me "I think the equivalent would have been asking black players to be less annoying as well as asking white fans not to abuse them"

If the people at the Nice Way Code can't see this, then I despair.