Have you considered the possibility that you’ve simply completely misdiagnosed the problem? The problem isn’t that cyclists, pedestrians and motorists are treating each other with too little respect. It’s surely that motor vehicles kill lots of other road users and motorists don’t realise that’s mostly motorists’ fault. Under those circumstances, “addressing all road users” is an insult. It’s like addressing rapists and their victims as equal parties.
All the research I’ve seen says the majority of cyclist/motorist crashes are the motorist’s fault. I’m not so sure on pedestrians but I’d bet that motor vehicle speed and inattention are the main issues there too. You’re legitimising motorist misbehaviour by addressing the victims as if they were also perpetrators.
That’s pretty much it. This comment on Twitter from Michael Macleod expressed much the same point, but more succinctly.
Amazing that with five years of rising cycle deaths (nine cyclists already killed in 2013) in Scotland, the response is “be nicer.”
People walking and cycling about are not killing or injuring motorists in great numbers. By contrast, motor vehicles are killing and seriously injuring pedestrians and cyclists in large numbers, and in the majority of cases, it is the motorist’s fault.
In the light of these facts, it seems completely bizarre to focus on asking all parties to behave nicely, instead of focusing on a root cause of the problem – poor behaviour from motorists, ranging from inattention, right up to dangerous driving. (This is to say nothing of how the Nice Way Code is being funded from the Sustainable Transport budget, instead of from funding that might impinge upon motoring).
The Nice Way Code website responded to Robert Wright’s comment –
Our research showed that an even-handed approach would be the most effective way to reach to all road users, rather than singling out any one group. Drivers are obviously a hugely important part of this, but all of our testing showed if you single them out, they will not listen. We need them to listen, so we’re speaking to all road users. We ‘re not saying all behaviours are equal – we’re just saying everyone can play a part in making the roads a safer place.
The claim here is that a road safety campaign that targets drivers – and drivers alone – would be ineffective, because drivers ‘will not listen’. In order to get drivers to pay attention, the Nice Way Code therefore has to simultaneously present messages to pedestrians and bicycle users (like ‘tolerate HGVs’ and ‘don’t cycle on the pavement’). That’s why the Nice Way Code is so ‘even-handed’, asking everyone to play their part in making the roads a safer place – because apparently drivers won’t respond to a campaign that doesn’t ask pedestrians and cyclists to play nicely too. It seems the Nice Way Code don’t think drivers can be asked to behave without messages about cyclists riding on the pavement being tacked on too.
I find this quite odd – safety campaigns are frequently aimed solely at drivers (for instance on drink driving) – and said so in a comment that remains in moderation long after many others have been approved.
So my question about the testing that has informed the Nice Way Code that drivers ‘will not listen’ to a safety campaign that happens to target them, and not pedestrians, remains unanswered.
Gary Dawes subsequently asked if the research was going to be published, but didn’t receive an answer either.
Given that this campaign is costing £424,000 of public money, it would be ‘nice’ to see the research which has justified its approach. Where is it?