Terrible driving, poor riding, but not distracted
Russell Degnan

I really shouldn't be as annoyed by the advertisement as I am. The design is clever and attractive; and the message is straight-forward and not really in dispute; walking or cycling without your hearing sense (or visual sense if you are looking at your phone) makes your day unnecessarily dangerous; although in-car distractions and the sealing off of drivers from the outside world continues apace.

But the depiction of the cyclists sends terrible messages about cycling and driver responsibility, for three reasons.

Firstly, a cyclist should never be riding in amongst the parked cars, as it requires them to continually merge into traffic and makes them harder to see. Veering out into traffic like that just shouldn't happen, and the depiction of a cyclist in that situation sends a message that that is where the should be.

Likewise, a car coming up from behind a cyclist, travelling down the road, should have the awareness that they will move out and around impending obstacles. By putting the blame on an accident of this sort on "distractions", it simultaneously implies that the undistracted cyclist needs to stop before going around a parked car to wait for oncoming traffic.

Whereas an accident of this sort has nothing to do with distractions, unless it is by the driver. Rather the cyclist ought to ride in a manner that maintains their presence and visibility in the driver's zone of attention; and the driver, regardless, needs to be aware of the presence of the cyclist and give them space. To imply that the fault in an accident of this sort would fall on the cyclist is plainly wrong. Cyclists can be distracted, but riding through a give-way sign would have been an accurate depiction of an accident where a distraction and not poor driving was to blame.

Sterner Matters 6th August, 2013 01:25:35   [#]