Cyclists have been up in arms this week over a road safety advert made by the Department of Transport. Released on Monday, the short film alerts cyclists to the danger of a lorry turning left.
Chris Boardman spoke to Cycling Weekly to express his concerns about the message it gives, which appears to absolve the lorry driver, who overtakes a cyclist before turning left and crushing him.
“British Cycling were involved beforehand and there were conversations advising the DfT not to go that way and they said ‘yeah, yeah, thanks for that but we’re going to do it,’” he told Cycling Weekly. “It’s so confusing…and puts it all on the vulnerable road user.”
The advert has generated a torrent of tweets, including from Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine who said, “Truck overtakes cyclist and turns left across him, and this awful road safety advert blames the cyclist.”
Meanwhile, London Assembly member Caroline Russell told The Evening Standard, “The government quite clearly shows they have not got the first idea about how to reduce danger for people cycling.” She has called on Think! to change the advert to aim the advice at lorry drivers “and ask them to stay back from people cycling.”
Messages from the general cycling public have included:
“Do not spend our taxes absolving lorry drivers of illegal left hooks.”
“That is an appalling misrepresentation of the relevant responsibilities of both parties in such a situation.”
“But the lorry overtook the cyclist, can I refer you to the highway code 163”
“Just another format of ‘cyclists stay back’ stickers. Tasteless victim blaming of the highest order.”
“Lorry Drivers: don’t overtake cyclists and then turn left.”
“So here we have @THINKgov in full victim blaming mode, ignoring the real problem, no thinking involved…”
A DfT spokesman defended the advert saying, “Any death on the road is a tragedy, and all road users have a responsibility to make our roads safer by being more vigilant.”