Guest post: Safety ad treats bikers like drinkers and drug users

In this guest posting, motorbike rider Chris Hunter argues that Grey’s new road safety ad for TAC is money down the drain

Motorcyclists are resigned to getting a bad rap in Australia. But the latest shock-tactic motorcycle safety TVC has incensed many riders. Forums are running hot and letters are being fired off to editors.  

The ad shows five riders indulging in what appears to be ‘risky’ behaviour. In the final sequence, a bike mysteriously snaps sideways out of control while overtaking on a dry, well-surfaced road—flinging the rider into the path of an oncoming 4WD.

Grey Melbourne made this ad for the Transport Accident Commission. The production values are slick: Lance Kelleher of production company Curious and the guys at Postmodern have done a good job.

The strategy, according to the TAC’s Phil Reed, is to “reduce the number of motorcyclists killed and injured on our roads by engaging riders in a discussion about risk.”

Reed has certainly created discussion: the motorcycling community is enraged. And so is Tony Ellis of the Australian Motorcycle Council, an experienced safety expert who also sits on the Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee.

Ellis has highlighted several technical errors in the ad and reckons it is “Probably the second worst motorcycle safety commercial” he’s seen. “I imagine the brief was really about scaring people away from riding and making sure that riders are all branded as hoons—not making a commercial that is credible to riders.”

It looks like the TAC is branding motorcyclists as dangerous road users who bring death upon themselves. In reality, motorcyclists carry more risk because they’re not encased in a steel safety cage. And despite the gruesome final scene in the ad, the TAC’s own figures show that just two out of the 43 riders who died on Victoria’s roads in 2008 were killed during overtaking manoeuvres.

It looks like the TAC doesn’t care for motorcyclists: it doesn’t feel like an ad from an organisation with riders’ interests at heart. It puts motorcyclists in the same bucket as drink-drivers and drug abusers. And because it doesn’t engage its audience in a positive way, it’s already failed.

Motorcyclists, instead of being receptive to critical safety messages, are ostracised. And car drivers, whose attitudes towards two-wheelers of any description are notoriously negative, are now given official sanction to believe that all motorcyclists are hoons or speed freaks.

It’s not clear whether this strategy came from the TAC, or was developed in conjunction with Grey. But whoever created it has made an expensive miscalculation.

I don’t know how much the ad cost to make, but it looks like $250,000 down the drain to me.

  • Chris Hunter is the Direct Creative Director at Lowe Sydney. He also runs Bike EXIF, a motorcycle culture and design website.

Comments


  1. another rider perspective
    26 Oct 09
    12:58 pm

  2. While some of yr comments hold water I get the sense you have forgotten what works (historically) with such road safety campaigns. Shock value has long been used to get the issues out there and discussed. It seems to be working again. Kudos to the team involved.
    I think you need to concede some license may need to taken in portraying the circumstances riders may injure themselves in. This is advertising after all.
    I have ridden with riders who take risks and see risky behaviour by riders on a regular basis. Anything to open eyes to the potential outcome of bad riding is a a good thing to my mind. Good post though.

  3. Rog
    26 Oct 09
    1:17 pm

  4. Chris, I completely disagree with your post.

    I see pretty much everything shown in that ad everyday on my 30min ride to work, with people taking unnecessary risks to save 10 seconds stuck behind a car (myself included sometimes!).

    Having done my provisional test just recently, the key message from instructors about safe riding is to manage the risks as best as you possibly can, which is the exactly what this ad is about.

    Also if you want to criticise something, perhaps you should elaborate on how you think it should’ve been done instead of just saying it is rubbish or money down the drain.

  5. Chris
    26 Oct 09
    1:17 pm

  6. Hi anonymous Other Rider,

    My understanding is that many studies have shown that shock value doesn’t work.

    In ‘The Design And Evaluation of Road Safety Campaigns’ study, the World Bank says:

    “In general, it is better not to use fear, shock, horror or threat tactics. These should only be used carefully and when there is enough information to be able to predict how the audience will react.”

    Closer to home, it’s also the opinion of a leading Australian psychologist:

    “Campaigns which attempt to use fear as part of a punishment procedure are unlikely to succeed.”

    http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/78/2/163

    Chris

  7. Campbell
    26 Oct 09
    1:47 pm

  8. As a new rider, I *like* the ad because it displays things that happen to motorcyclists every day. ‘Cage’ drivers merge into you, cars fling their doors open while parked, et cetera… In my opinion, the ad effectively shows what happens day-to-day when you ride a motorcycle. The risks are clear and the advertisement prompts riders to manage their risks as much as possible.

    Do we know why the bike in the final sequence ‘mysteriously snaps out of control’? No – because the rider was looking downwards at his instruments rather than at the road. The ad is educating (yes, it’s preachy; but it’s getting the point across) about the risks associated with riding – and it is definitely riskier when compared to sitting in a car pootling along – in the hope that riders will minimise their risks whenever possible. In a perfect world this would be accompanied by an advertisement educating car drivers on how to look out for motorcycles, but we take what we can get.

  9. sven
    26 Oct 09
    1:57 pm

  10. Chris you have to remember this communication is directed at riders not drivers. As a rider of some 20 years i found it sobering and painfully honest about the risks we often some of us take on the roads. Is it entirely representative? no. Will it help me be more cautious? yes. Job done. Effective advertising.

  11. another rider perspective
    26 Oct 09
    2:06 pm

  12. Anonymous? *chortle*

    Your ‘understanding’ is your own business. You can wheel out any old research to make a point (I was sorely tempted).

    The fact is many riders ride badly. Daily. Anything that can reasonably be used to present the possible outcomes of bad riding is worth putting out there.

    Riders know what can happen. They just need frequent, poignant reminders.

    Good to see people putting across their opinion with passion though Chris.

  13. Tom Dodson
    26 Oct 09
    2:49 pm

  14. Anyone who writes *chortle* deserves a swift kick up the arse.

    Im a motorcycle rider. This advert is insulting, targeting a group which has enough problems with bad driving by other road users. Shock value adverts can work, I agree, but this one is a remarkable failure.

  15. Tony Ellis
    26 Oct 09
    3:14 pm

  16. The issue here is that the riders “appear” to be doing something wrong. Leaving aside the continuity issues of not wearing gear and then wearing protective gear (twice – once with the first rider and later with the young woman on the scooter) we have:

    Rider shown overtaking a van – quite legally and properly to the right of the van and the left of the centre line.

    Rider going through an amber light – with a pillion it was sensible, a disproportionate amount of motorcyclists are injured in rear end collisions. Given the added braking distance and instability that can occur with a pillion I’d say it was the safest course of action.

    As for the last bit – in 40 years of riding I’ve not seen or heard of a bike high-siding in a straight line like that. (Actually I have, some late 60’s Japanese bikes were decidely dubious at high speed – but they at least had the decently to get a good wobble up as a warning) I’m not sure where “looking at the instruments” comes in, Campbell but as far as crash causes goes but its not one I’ve ever heard of.

    The whole sub-text of that advert is not aimed at riders – it’s aimed at friends and family and is meant to emphasise that motorcycling is always dangerous.

    The worst advert, by the way is at:
    http://www.spokes.com.au/#/rid.....-campaigns

    It even makes the TAC look good – which is probably why it’s on their website.

  17. Gezza
    26 Oct 09
    3:37 pm

  18. Tony – I think you prosteth too much. Do you have some other motivation?

    I’ve ridden bikes for over 30 years. The last 2 commuting every day through Sydney. The examples shown of risky riding are typical of many riders I see and serve as a reminder of just how lethal an apprently minor miscalculation can be.

    The majority or riders are relative novices – most on scooters and not weraing protective clothing and who ride scooters like they would a bycicle and act as if the risks are similar.

    As you and I both know they are anything but.

    I think this is decent attempt at getting the majority of bikers who are inexperineced and not very skillful to think about how they ride.

  19. Gezza
    26 Oct 09
    3:42 pm

  20. Tony – sorry I meant to address my response to Chris who wrote the post.

    And for what it’s worth I’m glad this ad is only running in Victoria as if my Mrs saw I’d be f%*&ked.

  21. Chris
    26 Oct 09
    3:48 pm

  22. Ha … yes, I’m glad it’s only running in Victoria too! If my kids saw it, my keys would mysteriously disappear.

  23. Gezza
    26 Oct 09
    3:53 pm

  24. And Chris – just checked you website – v. nice. Love that RD. I think you can age people from the first bike they fell in love with almost as accurately as their fave TV show. For me RD 350 and H2750.

  25. stephen
    26 Oct 09
    4:03 pm

  26. Don’t make the mistake of thinking those bike riders on forums are representative of ALL bike riders.

    Those on forums are usually enthusiasts with strong opinions, possibly a lot of experience, and have a passionate interest in bikes

    I would suggest the ads are targetted at the greater volume of bike riders who simply use bikes as a cost effective means of transport – and are not hanging around internet bike forums all day

    As a number of comments above reflect, the ad perhaps does hit home to those who don’t neccessarily consider themselves to be hard core enthusiasts, but can see the value in reducing the risk.

  27. David
    26 Oct 09
    4:06 pm

  28. As a non-bike rider, it does not make me think anything less or more about bikers. This ad is made for them, not for me.

    I can see how this ad might be frustrating to many motorcycle riders, but again, this ad is not for you. Its for the idiots on the roads who do act stupid, do get themselves into accidents and do give motorcycle riders a bad name.

    Maybe this would be more effective if those ‘good’ motorcyclists diverted some of their anger against this campaign and turned it to those who are actually giving them a bad name. Some peer to peer campaigning might not only be more effective, it will also have a beneficial effect on the perception….

    Just my two-cents worth :)

    Dave

  29. The Dr
    26 Oct 09
    4:13 pm

  30. A few years ago I pulled out of a side road turning right and onto the main road crossing the white line. I was in a 50k zone. It was a built up suburban area. A fraction of a second after I pulled out a 22 year old guy on a 700cc motorbike came around a blind corner on my right. He was going so fast that his knee was only a 10 or so cm off the ground.

    He went straight into the side of my car. His head smashed into my quarter light, his helmet came off and he flipped over the car. I remember looking in my rear view mirror and seeing him lying in the road. Half a second later his helmet bounced off the boot of my car and rolled onto the road.

    He died on the road with myself and a few pedestrians desperately ringing the ambulance, helpless and unable to do anything.

    The police analyzed his skid marks – he was traveling in excess of 110 km/hr when he came around the blind corner in a 50km/hr zone.

    I see guys riding bikes like this everyday in Sydney. You are the same guys who pull the finger at every pedestrian and car driver who opens a door or accidentally steps out in front of your bike.

    When are you going to understand – PEOPLE CAN’T SEE YOU – THEY DON’T DO IT ON PURPOSE – you are riding an engine – it’s not very big – and most of you ride illegally whether it’s between moving cars, cars in traffic or between the footpath and cars – it’s not rare – it’s all day everyday – we all see you – so don’t pretend it’s not happening.

    THIS AD IS JUST SHOWING YOU WHAT YOU’RE REALLY LIKE AND YOU DON’T LIKE IT.

    You all think you’re so clever cutting corners and speeding – until you lie on the road bleeding from the head. Like the prick that hit my car, died and left me with the memories.

  31. Anonymous
    26 Oct 09
    4:25 pm

  32. It’s true that some motorcycle riders are their own worst enemy, and they do some truly stupid things. But do ads like this, that are supposed to target such riders, have any impact on their behaviour? I would be interested to know if there is any research on this.

    As a motorcyclist, these ads do deter me from doing stupid stuff, but then again, I probably wouldn’t be doing that stupid stuff now anyway! Not @35 and with a kid.

    As impactful as the TAC ad is, it’s got nothing on this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aasSulcZ4R0

    Then again, that footage did cost a life…

  33. Tom Dodson
    26 Oct 09
    4:26 pm

  34. Get over yourself, The DR, a little bit of an overreaction there.

    Like any group of motorists there are a bad element. I dont shout at you for all the 17 year old P platers going 150 km in their v8’s. I assume that they are a minority of all road users.

    Like me. Im a motorcyclist who, like the majority of other motorcycles, dont go “110km in a 50km zone” becuase we have some death wish. This advert maligns all other motorcylists on the road and makes it a LOT more difficult to be taken seriously.

    Im sorry that happened to you. I had a motorcylist friend who was wiped out by a car driver going 30 over the limit, who went through a red light and clipped him. Im not blaming all car drivers. Just the idiot who hit my friend.

  35. Scott Pettet
    26 Oct 09
    4:28 pm

  36. Me above… forgot to sign in.

    By-the-way… would that ad have saved me from being rear ended by a van whilst sitting stationary at a red traffic light? No, didn’t think so.

    How many times have riders heard the phrase ‘Sorry mate, didn’t see you.’?

  37. Scott Pettet
    26 Oct 09
    4:32 pm

  38. @ The Dr – I’m sure ‘the prick that hit my car’ would apologise, if he weren’t dead

  39. JeffD
    26 Oct 09
    4:50 pm

  40. They had a representative from the bikers talking on the radio about this this morning coming into work, he was trying to say the bikers have a bad wrap because of a few, and just as he said that a biker came in between my car and the car next to me in a traffic jam and leaned his knee against my fender to hold himself up. IT is a deserved reputation. If the bikers are good and patient with the rest of us we’re good with that, but when they start doing that or chopping cars off in traffic then we dont care, the respect goes both ways. The other day, same jam, a biker came past me in traffic, again, and my wheels were on the white line, he got rude with me telling ME to keep in my lane, I was ! he was the one running between the lanes and cars the moron. So I cut him off then told him he needs to keep in ‘his’ lane, shoudlve shoved and squeezed his sorry ass up onto the walkway.

  41. Dave from Albury
    26 Oct 09
    5:02 pm

  42. Compare this ad to the one promoting the use of protective equipment at all times. This one demonises bikers, the second is confronting, but is genuinely trying to educate and improve behaviour.

  43. Mick Doin' It
    26 Oct 09
    5:49 pm

  44. You know guys, the road toll still isn’t coming down like city hall wants it to … I propose a TV ad … a really shocking one … bring people to their senses …

    Right on, Simon!

    [Ad gets made]

    Hmmm .. that didn’t seem to work …

    I know! How about an ad that’s MORE graphic and shocking?!

    Great work Julian.

    [Ad gets made]

    Jeebus! Still no results? I know: how about an ad that’s EVEN MORE SHOCKING AND VIOLENT?

    That’s it, Ebony!

    [Ad gets made]

    The motorists aren’t getting it. We need to really get into their heads. How about it people?

    I have it! We’ll make an ad that’s EVEN MORE SHOCKING VIOLENT AND GRAPHIC.

    Man, that’s it! Why didn’t we think of that before?

    [Ad gets made]

    …. and so on, until the end of time.

    TAC: Thickwitted And Cretinous

  45. Anonymous
    26 Oct 09
    6:28 pm

  46. JeffD – Irrespective of the mode of transport, it is imbeciles with your attitude that cause many of the accidents we have on the roads.

    “So I cut him off then told him he needs to keep in ‘his’ lane, shoudlve shoved and squeezed his sorry ass up onto the walkway.”

    I bet that made you feel really tough.

    If every road user reacted the same way when they were frustrated by another driver/rider/cyclist, we would have chaos, you ignorant tool.

    As for the campaign, i don’t actually mind it. It does include a full spectrum of factors, from not wearing leathers, to riding like a hoon. Although the mysterious crash at the end still has me confused….

  47. Rik van Zuylekom
    26 Oct 09
    7:29 pm

  48. Couple of interesting comments. Firstly, there are a lot of very sensible riders out there who do not deserve this slighting of their good habits and excellent riding skills. Secondly the Dr comment. I am sorry for what he went through, noone deserves that. But to suggest that we all ride illegally and that it is basically “OK” to not see us, is precisely the reason this campaign is such a failure. All it does is reinforce the false steroetype of the “big bad BIKIE” who “disregards the law and gives the finger to all and sundry”. The latest statistics showed that something like 80% of all motorcycle sales are scooters and strangely, not a “BIKIE” amongst them. We do not deserve to die for using a motocycle to get around, nor is our size an excuse not to see us. Pedestrians and pushbikes are smaller and deserve to live just as much as all other road users. I rode a motorcycle around Europe and France, including Paris with twice the amount of traffic we experience. Not once was I not seen, or not given the space I needed. NOT ONCE!! Not seeing a rider is an admission of incompetence and nothing else! This ad campaign is certainly going to educate people, by reinforcing poor attitudes to motorcycles and justification of poor Car driver’s driving habits. This campaign is a disaster from start to finish and should be stopped immediately. It is likely to kill more riders, as opposed to saving us!

  49. David@luvyawork
    26 Oct 09
    7:56 pm

  50. Since this a marketing & media blog ,let’s try and bring the discussion back to whether this, as a communications strategy, is worth it or not.

    I’m an occasional, social rider. All of the things raised in this ad ARE legitimate risks, for a rider.

    Whether shock is proven or otherwise as a strategy to change behavior, the fact is that there is nothing technically wrong with this ad. From that point of view I disagree with Chris, the poster.

    I don’t see anything in this ad that ostracises riders, that they don’t do to themselves.

    Riders, particularly every day riders, DO accept more risk. They ACCEPT more risk, which means they have a greater responsibility to do whatever they can to counter that risk and in my opinion, that’s all this ad appears to be communicating.

    If that’s the objective, then great, big tick. If the objective is to change behaviour, well then we’ll just have to wait and see.

    And as far as whether $250K is a waste of money Chris, if it saves one rider then maybe it ain’t.

  51. Chris
    26 Oct 09
    8:55 pm

  52. @David:

    Many advertising studies have shown that shock tactics rarely work. Politics and the need to be seen ‘doing something’ gets in the way. (The TAC people will now be congratulating themselves for “engaging riders in a discussion about risk”.)

    As Tony Ellis of the Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee has pointed out, there are many things technically wrong with this ad.

    The adverse reaction from many riders—not on this marketing blog—certainly shows that they are feeling ostracised.

    Your point about risk is valid. But mature riders accept risk, and they manage it as best they can.

    To me, spending $250k to save one life is a waste of money. You can save many more lives with that sort of production budget.

  53. Tony Ellis
    27 Oct 09
    9:21 am

  54. Gezza – it’s people like your missus that these ads are aimed at.

  55. Simon
    27 Oct 09
    9:43 am

  56. OK, after observing for the last 18 hours, I’ll chip in with a comment from both a marketer and rider’s point of view.
    I don’t think it’s a case of who this ad is aimed at, because both drivers and riders alike will see it (lets be honest, far more drivers are going to see it than riders). All this ad does is reinforce the negative sentiment towards motorcyclists given the majority of its audience are drivers. In reality that means 10s of thousands of people with sentiments like Dr above (or similar), is this the kind of behaviour we are trying promote??
    If shock treatment such as this ad are so effective why don’t shock our kids into learning their times table? Because that is exactly what we are talking about here DRIVER/RIDER EDUCATION, nothing else. From an education POV, this ad does not help me to make better decisions when I’m out on the road.

  57. Ali
    27 Oct 09
    1:36 pm

  58. One thing to remember is that we’ve all seen motorcyclists who speed, or pass us in traffic. They stand out, and we remember them. But they are a minority of riders. So why don’t we see all these other, safer riders? Because they stay with the flow of traffic. If they are behind you, then for the most part they stay behind you. If they are in front of you then they stay in front of you. In short, you don’t see them because you are moving in the same stream of traffic. The ones you remember are the ones who cut you off, or speed past you.

    As a rider and a driver I have to say that those riders annoy me too. But that doesn’t mean I want to be tarred with the same brush. As somebody else mentioned above, there are plenty of examples of car drivers who behave exactly the same way – they pull into a turning lane to get to the front of the queue and then try to merge back into their lane ahead of everybody else. We all see it, and most of us disapprove. But we don’t assume that all drivers are like that.

    I do think that this ad misrepresents riders. According to VicRoads, the number of motorcycle riders is increasing faster than any other class of vehicle on the road. Motorcycle registrations are up 50% in the past 5 years. But over the same time period the number of injuries and fatalities involving motorcyclists has decreased by 34% (from the TAC crash data website). Over the same time period the decrease in injuries and fatalities is only 7%.

    How about an ad that recognises the improvement? How about an ad that has well-known motorcyclists (such as Casey Stoner perhaps?) talking about the safety features of their gear, and what features they look out for when choosing safety gear for the road as well as the track? How about an ad that talks about choosing a safe entry speed and line through a corner, or that discusses the critical importance of positioning yourself on the road to maximise visibility – once again, using a well-known rider? Ads like this would appeal to those riders who think that going fast is what it is all about, rather than alienating them entirely. At the same time, they might promote a better understanding between car drivers and motorcyclists.

    After all – we share the roads. Surely it can’t hurt to share a little understanding.

  59. Another Rider (but the type with pedals)
    27 Oct 09
    1:38 pm

  60. Cyclists face a similar PR problem with motorists to engined riders on roads even though it can’t be claimed that were making anywhere near the same high-speed, dare-devil manouevres as some here suggest; we have to be the most defensive of all road users.

    I feel for The Dr but I have witnessed – and nearly fallen victim to – just as much hoon-like behaviour by drivers.

    My favourite is the driver who can see you but has no care or concern about the dimensions of their car and how its impacting the safety of anyone else. Such twits are fond of doing things like pulling up in the left lane at lights to go around the car in the right (even though it’s not turning right) and accelerating hard to get that three second jump before the row of parked cars across the intersection …even though they’re sharing the lane with a cyclist. Their attention is always to their right during the manouevre and they don’t give a damn how they affect you. All for an immeasurably small reduction in travel time, if any.

    I’ve also seen people wander about the roads looking for parks without indicating, obliviously chatting away on mobiles, opening car doors with looking and pulling out into left lanes to go around right-turning traffic without looking for bikes (and that’s the bit of road we occupy)

    Admittedly some of this stuff is lower on the scale of road sins because I think cyclists (the pedal kind) don’t register in peripheral vision as easily other four wheeled vehicles and motorbikes, and I make allowances for that when anticipating cars.

    Also, I have to say that in the last few months or so I’ve noticed motorists to be a lot more polite and considerate during my little transactions with them on the road, so the message might be getting through.

    The only message should be not to avoid reckless behaviour on the road and we’re all much more likely to get off it alive.

  61. Joel Pearson
    27 Oct 09
    2:01 pm

  62. Why is everyone acting like there has never been an ad aimed at car drivers who drive recklessly?

    There is millions spent every year on anti-speeding/texting/drink driving commercials and you never hear a car driver cry about being unfairly painted as reckless.

    I think everyone in this thread needs to take a valium and settle down.

    Fact: There are a lot of motorcycle riders who drive recklessly. Yes, they are probably a minority, but they are, as already established, at a much greater risk than a car driver.

    So far all the biker comments in this thread are hung up on a “car drivers are bad as well” mentality, which completely misses the point.

  63. Anonymous
    27 Oct 09
    2:58 pm

  64. Jeff it’s people like you that scare the crap outta me. I’m a very vigilent L. I wear all the protective gear and I ride a scooter. Attitudes like yours are the ones that are the true menace. This ad has done nothing but scare me. I have had the necessary instructions with the do’s and don’ts and rather than educating the driving public to look out for bikes/ scooters, they’ve portrayed us as irresposible.

  65. Chris
    27 Oct 09
    3:13 pm

  66. @Joel

    Most car-related commercials show a single driver doing something stupid: the motorcycle ad shows several different motorcyclists.

    It implies that ‘all motorcyclists are hoons’, and leaves the average mature rider feeling tarred with the same brush. Hence the anger shown by many motorcyclists.

    This also means that motorcyclists don’t feel receptive to the message, which flunks Marketing 101.

  67. David@luvyawork
    27 Oct 09
    3:31 pm

  68. @Chris.
    We’re probably closer to agreeing than it looks.

    I honestly don’t think that this ad rates particularly as shock, and I’d venture that most of the so-called shock campaigns were just that, campaigns. And they they moved off in some other, often unrelated direction. Maybe consistency was missing.

    I agree. I don’t think shock ads always work for a variety of reasons (most shock ads are shocking to the non-whatever viewer, but to the people they’re meant to target they usually just present the risk that’s already been psychologically dealt with in whatever they’ve chosen to do). I’ve seen studies that support that but I’ve also seen ones that better analyse the psychological processes and how the campaign or communication fails to interrupt that process. Most suggest alternative medicine. In any case, that wasn’t my point.

    My point was that the ad presents behaviours that riders do engage in; some more than others, some all, some few but at one or another they have. Why wouldn’t you lane split if you’re on something that can? I’ve done it. Sure, you can argue that drivers need to be more aware and open their eyes to riders. I agree totally with that. But that’s not the point of this communication.

    The point is to say “hey, rider. Avoid doing these things. Have your wits about you”. From that angle I think the ad is valid and on message.

    As a postscript, I wouldn’t expect a spokesperson for a riders’ committee to have any other opinion on the technicalities, especially when they probably have a bunch of like-opinioned riders in their ear. No problem with that; they’re on one side of the debate, which is good, otherwise there’s no debate

  69. Tony Ellis
    27 Oct 09
    3:35 pm

  70. OK compare that to this UK advert – both supposedly aimed at making riders ride responsibly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-xK_t-A_8E

  71. A motorcycle rider called qwerty...
    27 Oct 09
    5:40 pm

  72. To Jeff D

    You clearly have some serious road rage issues and shouldn’t have a driving license, its people like you that cause avoidable deaths on the road.

    To The Dr

    You have obviously had an horrendous experience, and I empathise for that.

    However I think I need to point out that there is NOTHING ILLEGAL with weaving through traffic on a motorcycle – or splitting lanes as you call it over here. The key point is that you should only do it when its SAFE.

    I do agree though that Sydner-siders (especially in Bondi) are all idiotsI have seen so many on their 1200cc speedsters, wearing nothing but thongs, a wife beater (bet you’ve got a few of those dontya Jeff) and shorts. But they look cool, so thats ok…..

  73. Jeff D
    27 Oct 09
    6:33 pm

  74. Stay in the lane with the cars and you wont be ‘challenged’. Dont squeeze between the cars putting your knee on others’ fenders and you wont be ignored. Dont try to ride up the left side of the cars, trying to go straight, when some of us are turning left -with our turn signal on. You can certainly be a bitter twisted soul who thinks all bike riders should be able to do what they please in traffic, then get mad when your being obnoxious and those of us in two-ton of car decide to do the same. Or you can get back in line, back in the lane and be a good person in traffic. You’ll stay alive that way. And we wont have to pull you out of the windscreen of a SUV like we did on a trip to Maine in the US, when a bike rider scooted around all the cars at speed to have a head-on with the SUV, and leave some body parts on the face and lap of a 10 year old girl. Then as we pull your body out see your neck bones poking through your half-sawed off neck. Ironically, there were 100 bikers on that ride that was to remember a biker that crashed the year before and was killed, so I guess the commemeorative rides will go one forever given that way of riding.

  75. Rog
    27 Oct 09
    6:33 pm

  76. Well my friend qwerty you are completely wrong because it is actually illegal to split lanes and the police can actually fine you for each car you overtake when splitting lanes.

  77. Chris
    27 Oct 09
    8:30 pm

  78. “Lane splitting” between moving cars is illegal in Australia, and in most US states apart from California.

    In Europe, BTW, lane splitting is usually legal. It’s also legal in Japan.

    In Australia, “lane filtering” between stationary cars, such as at a traffic light, is legal – unless the motorcyclist is riding irresponsibly.

  79. Tony Ellis
    28 Oct 09
    10:07 am

  80. The British publication “Motorcycle Roadcraft” *** ( The Police Riders Handbook to
    Better Motorcycling), notes the following under the topic of “overtaking”:-

    When traffic is stationary or moving slowly in queues, motorcyclists can use their
    manoeuvrability and limited space requirements to make progress. The advantages of filtering along or between stopped or slow moving traffic have to be weighed against the increased vulnerability while filtering.
    If you decide to filter:
    • Take extreme care
    • Keep your speed low- you need to be able to stop suddenly if circumstances
    change
    • Always identify a place where you can rejoin the traffic flow before you move
    out
    • Make yourself visible – consider using dipped headlight
    • Be ready to brake and/or use the horn
    • Use the opportunity to make progress but be courteous and avoid conflict with
    other road users
    Watch out for and anticipate:
    • Pedestrians crossing between vehicles
    • Vehicles emerging from junctions
    • Vehicles changing lanes or U-turning without warning
    • Doors opening
    • Reflective paint and studs which could throw the bike off line
    • Traffic islands
    • Other bikes also filtering

    ***Coyne, P. Motorcycle Roadcraft, The Police Foundation, Sixth impression 2001, The Stationery Office, UK ISBN 0 11 341143

    In fact – splitting is not illegal per se. You can split quite legally if you are to the right of the vehicle being overtaken and to the left of the lane marker/centre line.

    Proposed changes to the Australian Road Rules will mean that overtaking stationary traffic on the left will be legal – at present it’s specifically legal in only some state (Queensland for one)

  81. A motorcycle rider called qwerty...
    28 Oct 09
    10:18 am

  82. Apologies for my misinterpretation of the term “lane splitting”….as Tony has made very clear filtering / weaving is perfectly legal. Which was what I referring to. The key, as I said, is to do it sdafely. They even teach you how to do it during motorcycle lessons – or at least they do in the UK.

    Jeff D – you have some real issues mate. I think you should see someone about it.

    But let me guess though…you drive a 4×4…through the city….everyday…?

  83. Laurie
    28 Oct 09
    10:31 am

  84. Chris,
    I think you may need to do your riders test again. Australia changed the laws many years ago and made it illegal to lane split and filter regardless of whether vehicle is moving or stationary. Even though everyone stills does it because people like yourself are unsure about the rules.

  85. Rog
    28 Oct 09
    10:49 am

  86. Yeah let’s all ride our bikes by the British book, sure that’s a great idea.

  87. Tony Ellis
    28 Oct 09
    10:55 am

  88. Laurie – there was an attempt at altering the Australian Road Rules several years ago. The National Transport Commission put up a proposal to explicitly ban it. After a lot of lobbying that proposal (Section 13) was withdrawn. I’m afraid it’s you who is totally unsure of the rules.

    Victoria’s recently released Road Safety and Transport Strategic Action Plan for Powered Two Wheelers 2009-2013 has the following listed in its actions:

    Conduct research into both the road safety and transport impacts of road space management opportunities, such as lane filtering, advanced stop lines and use of bus and transit lanes to identify possible initiatives for trialling. This will include monitoring developments internationally.

  89. John Karmouche
    2 Nov 09
    1:11 pm

  90. To all you non-riders, and some of you who don’t ride very often. I can assure you that this ad has hit the wrong audience. I take passengers for motorcycle joyrides as a business. The TAC ad re-enforces their un-educated view, which I so often manage to change after they have spent an hour riding as a passenger of my Harley Davidson.

    A 60 something lady got on the back of my bike at a Family Day where I was taking people for free rides. She was scared shitless – “I think I’m going to fall off,” she said. Even though I had a sidecar fitted to the bike that day she was convoked that she was going to die – but I managed to help her overcome her fear and demonstrated that her belief was absolutely false. This woman is representative of 99% of my customers.

    You see – the TAC has perpetuated a myth here – that its easy to fall off a bike. The fact is you can’t “fall” of a bike when it is in motion. It doesn’t just happen that way. You can lose control for various reasons – but you really have to try hard sometimes.

    Did you realise that very few motorcycle riders have ever undertaken any formal rider education? If they have its been rudimentary at best. Now equate that to the number of motorcycle crashes – no education significantly increases the risk.

    This ad has been mocked by many riders – many do not relate to it. It like being beaten with a stick – that’s not good leadership – its a waste of time and money.

    Would we good riders like to work closely with the TAC. We have tried hard (I am president of the Motorcycle Riders Association of Victoria) but they keep spurning our advances….

  91. Simon
    4 Nov 09
    1:46 pm

  92. South Australia seems to get the idea with this great ad
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXCy6vw0dkI
    Even the British site, http://www.motorcyclenews.com is featuring this ad as exemplary.

  93. Chris
    4 Nov 09
    10:14 pm

  94. That’s a cracker – and it shows how it can be done. Congratulations to the SA people (and Mick Doohan!).

  95. Cin
    15 Nov 09
    9:32 am

  96. As a 41-year old female who took up riding 1 year ago, I am incensed at the way this ad portrays all riders.

    As a communications professional I think it will prove to be ineffective at engaging its target audience and sending the message about safety to riders. If motorcycles represent 3% of registered vehicles, the decision to show this on mainstream TV inappropriately communicates a messages to the vast majority of people who have little understanding of what constitutes safe riding. This ad reinforces negative attitudes held by many and justification for unsafe behaviours and actions by car drivers towards motorcyclists.

    Using more targeted means of communication and allocating greater resources to rider training and education would be money better spent.

  97. John Karmouche
    15 Nov 09
    10:44 am

  98. The TAC ad was aired at the same time as other ads were put on TV about recent changes to the Road Rules. Rider feedback to the MRA(Vic) has been that many car drivers now believe that all the things portrayed in the TAC ad are against the law. Consequently riders are copping increased road rage and aggression. Car drivers are expecting motorcycles to obey the law – “as interpreted from the car driver point of view”. This is not a healthy situation and certainly not the intended outcome. But, in an indirect manner it has made things worse and more dangerous all round for riders. Now, car drivers think if they switch lanes that they will be in the right if an accident occurs – as but one example. This has increased the likelihood that more cars will not look for bikes – as opposed to keeping their yes peeled etc. This is what happens when the person who writes the ad brief gets their facts wrong. In this case the ad brief should have been written by an experienced rider. Clearly it was not – and therein lies the problem with this ad.