Bikers slam re-run of TAC motorcycle safety ad as showing ‘reckless disregard for riders’

TAC’s ‘The Ride’ TV ad, created in 2009

The Transport Accident Commission’s re-run of a motorbike safety commercial created four years ago has prompted the ire of Australia’s motorcycling community.

Motorcyclist activist group Stop SMIDSY has slammed the ad, created by Grey Melbourne in 2009, as “misleading” and said it shows “a reckless disregard for riders and road safety”.

The angry response from motorcyclists is yet another battle in the war with the TAC over the government body’s portrayal of riders in road safety advertising. 

John Voyage of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, the law firm that backs the Stop SMIDSY campaign, said the re-airing of ad “flies in the face” of government recommendations on motorcycle safety released in December last year.

He said: “The decision to re-run a widely condemned ad flies in the face of the hard work and strong recommendations of the recent Parliamentary Motorcycle Safety Inquiry.”

“It suggests that TAC is challenging the legitimacy of the state parliamentary road safety committee, whose report cites the Monash University Accident Research Centre’s Professor Mark Stevenson as saying the ‘38 times more likely figure’ is inaccurate.”

“The result is that money is being wasted on a campaign which alienates the target audience – riders will just tune out because the focus of the ad isn’t realistic or believable, it fails to deal with driver awareness and it reinforces negative stereotypes of motorcyclists,” he said.

Voyage called on the Victorian government to “pull its road safety authority in to line” and act in response to the report’s recommendations.

One poster on the Stop SMIDSY Facebook page took issue with the TAC’s re-introduction of a billboard on Melbourne roads that uses the line from the TV ad: ‘Motorcyclists have 38 times the risk of serious injury’.

A post on Stop SMIDSY’s Facebook page also accused the TAC of “hubris”:

The TAC hits new low by rerunning “The Ride” ad featuring the “it’s up to you to reduce the risks” line. To revisit this sentiment and ignore shared responsibility (despite this approach being savaged throughout Vic Parl’s M/C Inquiry) is astounding, counterproductive and antagonistic. Stop SMIDSY only hopes the hubris displayed stems from staffing issues – surely no one seriously thought this was going to engage riders … did they?!

But the TAC defended its decision to re-air the ad, telling Mumbrella:

Summer is a good time to ride and more motorcyclists are using the roads. That’s why it’s an opportune time to speak to both drivers and riders about looking out for each other.

The campaign currently on television – The Ride – was made in 2009. It features both rider and driver error which ultimately puts the rider at risk. The campaign is reminding motorcyclists that regardless of who is at fault in a crash, it will be them who comes off second best.

We know that most riders do the right thing, but we would like all the riding community to be safe.

That’s why this ad also encourages riders to make choices that reduce their risks each time they jump on their bike.

The government body said that it planned to air an ad called Vice Versa, that targets drivers urging them to see motorcyclists’ point of view, in “the next few months”.

The TAC also confronted motorcyclists’ claims that ‘The Ride’ went against the wishes of the government motorcycle safety enquiry.

A statement read:

The TAC understands that some riders are concerned that screening this ad goes against the wishes of the Parliamentary Road Safety Committee’s inquiry into motorcycle safety.

One of the recommendations is to consult with motorcycle groups at the inception, production and post-production stages of our campaigns. The TAC will be undertaking this consultation when developing new campaigns.

Until new campaigns are in development, we have a responsibility to keep all road users safe on our roads.

In November last year, the Stop SMIDSY campaign launched its own road safety campaign to hit back at the TAC, pointing out that in accidents between riders and cars, car drivers are usually at fault.


  1. Stakeholder
    11 Feb 13
    5:14 pm

  2. The TAC tells the people to get f’d. All eyes on Ted Baillieu.

  3. John Motorcycle Rider
    11 Feb 13
    5:19 pm

  4. TAC are not consulting with riders. Anything they are saying right now is an out and out lie. Riders are very angry – this is going to get nasty : (

    This ad conflicts with the Inquiry by creating negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers.

    Recommendation 22:
    That the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) focus its motorcycle safety advertising on **redressing the attitude that responsibility for rider safety is solely attributable to the rider**, by ensuring that campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise driver awareness and do not create negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers.

    It conflicts with how I manage my safety when riding. It is full of inaccuracies. It should be replaced by the Vice Versa campaign.

    TAC have lost all respect by most motorcycle riders – TAC animosity is high and their reputation is at an all time low : ( All because they refuse to work with riders on the Motorcycle Advisory Group – the Vic Govt appointed body to oversee motorcycle matters – who would be the best candidates to be involved, one would have thought.

  5. Rob
    11 Feb 13
    5:32 pm

  6. This ad received a number of complaints to the advertising standards board in 2009, however, the complaints were dismissed (btw, so has every single other TAC advert complaint for that matter).

    What’s interesting is that the ASB were so confused about why the rider fell off his motorcycle in the final few distressing seconds, that they made up a reason…

    “…The cyclist overtakes a car and IS HIT BY ONCOMING TRAFFIC and is thrown from his bike to the pathway of a large semitrailer….”

    The ASB, faced with the obvious credibility sapping flaw in the advert, made up something that wasn’t there. This opens up some serious questions about the board!

    In their response, the TAC confirms that they did not consult with any motorcycle expertise in the planning and development of the advert, relying instead on Victoria Police and reactions from Joe Public riders in focus groups.

    Many more riders are now aware of the flaws in this advert, and in the wake of the Reconstruction advert debacle, will simply ignore the TAC as a group of witless safetycrats that have nothing of benefit to say about their favourite pastime. This is a great great pity – it could have all been so very different.

  7. TonyE
    11 Feb 13
    6:11 pm

  8. Interestingly enough the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) evidence to the parliamentary inquiry put the lie to the “38 times” mantra and basically said that it was not a figure they would countenance.

    The other parliamentary committee recommendation that the TAC has totally ignored is number 22. “That the Transport Accident Commission focus it’s Motorcycle Safety advertising on redressing the attitude that responsibility for rider Safety is solely attributable to the rider, by ensuring that campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise driver awareness and do not create negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers”

    This appears to be a quite deliberate effort to do the opposite.

  9. Ross Daws
    11 Feb 13
    6:15 pm

  10. It’s hard not to conclude that the TAC are out and out lying in the quote they provided mumbrella about this ad. Recommendation 22 from the RSC expressly calls on the TAC to redress the attitude that motorcycle safety is solely the rider’s responsibility, and the TAC replays the ad with the slogan “Motorcyclists. It’s up to you to reduce the risk.” Recommendation 22 goes further, stating that TAC should ensure its campaigns “do not create negative stereotypes”.

    This kind of parochial antagonism from the TAC is both unnecessary and unwarranted. The level of community engagement in the parliamentary inquiry process seems to demonstrate a higher level of community awareness around safe motorcycling than we have ever seen before in this state. It’s getting hard to imagine what the TAC could do that could possibly undermine its brand value and credibility with motorcyclists more than it already has. The tragedy is that for an organisation that prides itself on creating behaviour-modifying PSAs, the TAC has time and again failed to understand their audience.

    Given that Queensland’s “Out here” motorcycle safety ad from 2010 achieved a 95% approval level from motorcyclists, it’s hard to accept the TAC’s refusal to import ads that have proven to be effective from other parts of the country. It seems that effective motorcycle safety campaigns must not be the TAC’s number one priority.

  11. Dan Rotman
    11 Feb 13
    6:53 pm

  12. Given that the TAC is tasked with changing behaviour to improve road safety, it has completely FAILED to engage with its target audience.
    This failure demonstrates the TAC’s waste of considerable amounts of taxpayers’ (read riders’) money. By its preachy tone, and gross misrepresentation of the facts, this advert (and sadly, far too many previous TAC campaigns) does not speak to riders, and instead puts the fear of God into anyone who might be contemplating becoming a motorcyclist.
    That appears to be the TAC’s sole intention. Reduce the number of riders until there are so few that we’ll disappear without a trace. Reject this and tell your Victorian Member of Parliament that you’re not happy with your money being spent like this.

  13. ashley ringrose
    11 Feb 13
    7:05 pm

  14. What about Vespa riders? Where’s an insulting ad for them!!

  15. John Motorcycle Rider
    12 Feb 13
    9:21 am

  16. From the link quoted by Rob

    “Some members of the Board, however, were of the view that this particular advertisement had pushed the boundaries of what was considered “acceptable community education”, that this type of advertising may had gone too far and that the degree of brutality and hazard depicted in the advertisement was not necessary.”

    TAC does push the boundaries, and some members of the ASB agree with the complaint put to them by motorcycle riders. If you take the time to read this document, you will see that TAC uses a process that suits them, not designed or facilitated by qualified motorcycle riders. Focus groups are very easy to manipulate – to garner the response that TAC wants to hear, that proves their approach is correct.

    The only people they reach in the end – are non-riders. Their goal is to use fear as the tool reduce the road toll. If that’s the best they can come up with – then I think that they have a problem. There are many better, and cheaper ways to achieve the goal and employing riders as part of the design and development would lead to a better, more cost effective outcome.

  17. Elbogrease
    12 Feb 13
    9:30 am

  18. Just how does the rider come off the bike in this add? Punctured front tyre?

  19. Cameron
    12 Feb 13
    9:49 am

  20. I am very hesitant to comment on this advert.

    If we talk about it then the TAC will claim it has reached its target audience and as such is a success.

    If we do not talk about it then they will say that we agree with what is happening and so the TAC are correct to show it and try and ‘educate’ us.

  21. Andrew
    12 Feb 13
    10:11 am

  22. Can completely understand SMIDYS POV but the ad they produced seems to be directed firmly at point-scoring against the TAC rather than at educating the driving public. What’s more important?

  23. Right for some
    12 Feb 13
    10:58 am

  24. I witnessed many acts like the ones depicted in the ad around St Kilda on Sunday. This included a guy doing a mono at around 80-100kmp/h on a crowded Barley street, riders with nothing more than a t-shirt on and some pretty hardcore ducking and weaving through traffic with a near miss only meters from me.

    Isn’t this ad aimed at this type of behavior and rider and not all riders? In the same way drink driving ads target drink drivers and dont point the finger at everyone that drives?

  25. Andrew
    12 Feb 13
    11:35 am

  26. @Right for some

    I think the point is; this ad does more harm than good. It reinforces stereotypes and fails to address the much larger issue of awareness.

  27. SMIDSY
    12 Feb 13
    11:37 am

  28. It seems from the above comments that unfortunately, the TAC has overestimated the intelligence of many motorcyclists, and that rather than take from this ad what a reasonable person might – which is, “I use a mode of transport that is hard to see, and has little to protect me from solid objects – maybe i should avoid risky behaviour like lane splitting and dangerous overtaking?”

    Instead – it seems many miss the point and scream “It was the drivers fault!!! He should have been looking for the motorcyclist!” Maybe so, but let’s face it – if i (stupidly and recklessly) don’t pay attention and drive into an intersection and take out a motorbike while driving my 4WD, I’m more than likely going to be fine. The rider is not. There’s no point in the right, but dead. Riding a motorcycle is riskier than driving a car, particularly if you are in a collision. Everyone needs to do their bit to avoid accidents, so why is it that rider seem to think this campaign is against them? The TAC have done advertisements in the past to educate drivers on the dangers of drivers not keeping an eye out for two-wheelers, so i don’t get why you’re all up in arms about when they ask you to watch out for yourselves and not engage in risky behaviour?

  29. David
    12 Feb 13
    11:44 am

  30. I’m a motorcycle rider (old man BMW type), in my forties, been riding most days since I was 17.

    I used to roll my eyes at people who thought that the road laws and corresponding propaganda were a revenue raising exercise, but I find myself falling into their ranks.

    This ad and the previous one blaming a motorcyclist for running into a car that is going through a stop sign bring me to the conclusion that we’d be better off giving the money to a local high school production to produce a campaign. I suggest that both would have a similar degree of insight and experience.

    In the latter ad, the motorcyclists’ speed is of course a factor, but it is not about an arbitrary number, it is about the motorcyclist learning to ride to the conditions. Sometimes the speed limit is too fast for some conditions.

    You cannot legislate these things, you have to teach them. The TAC are failing in their part of this equation. And as far as legislating Vs teaching? Well there’s no ongoing revenue in teaching. Just ask the Victorian Teacher’s Union.

  31. Rob
    12 Feb 13
    12:21 pm

  32. @Elbogrease, one may very well ask. The ASB were so completely perplexed and confused, that they juxtaposed a head on with an invisible car. If you’re a non rider that fall seems plausible. To any thinking rider thoguh, that fall is utterly implausible particularly in the manner depicted.

    @Andrew, far be it from me to speak for MB and MA – but whilst the TAC may have given the impetus for the SMIDSY advert, the message in the advert is very clearly and entirely focussed at educating the driving public. How on earth you could interpret a “take a longer look” message as anything but an educating safety message is confounding.

  33. Rob
    12 Feb 13
    12:32 pm

  34. @SMIDSY – 10pts for trolling and 10pts for completion of your brainwashing cycle.

    You have aptly demonstrated that one single example of a PTW “risk” taking tars all riders, whilst one drinking driver tars only that driver. You get a gold star for seeing the actual problem and one of the main complaints riders have against the advert, but a rolled gold dunces cap for not recognising that you’ve been landed like a game fish.

    You may wish to characterise rider’s outrage as “it’s the car driver’s fault” however the advert absolutely places all motorcycle safety on the rider and does not in any way give any kind of message that road safety is a shared responsibility. The last time the ad was played, there was an increase in anecdotal reports of driver rage against riders, i.e., the roads became more hostile towards riders. That is an appalling outcome of a fatally flawed message and a predictable outcome given that the key message of the advert is that riders are their own safety issue on the roads. When laid side by side with the reconstruction advert, the blame the rider philosophy is utterly apparent.

    And the blame the rider philosophy is clear in other ways. The TAC and VicPol likes to make a noise about the percentage of PTW crashes that are single vehicle accidents, as if it’s some self evident barometer of risk taking behaviour. Barely anyone questions it, because the very statement utterly fit into their preprogrammed prejudice of riders. But the reality is that a much HIGHER PERCENTAGE of cars are involved in single vehicle accidents. That is a fact. So for consistency’s sake I ask you, where is the equivalent anti driver advert? Hmmm?

    Here’s something else. MUARC, VISU and CARS-Q research shows that between 50 – 67% of all motorcycle crashes involve another vehicle with the other vehicle at fault the majority of the time. This is backed up by other studies including the venerable HURT and MAIDS studies. When you rationally weigh that up, the anti motorcycle direction of recent times is pretty clear. Wagging the finger at a monoing rider is clearly not the lowest hanging fruit in motorcycle safety. It’s just apparently antisocial behaviour escalated beyond it’s station, such is the prejudicial skewing in the media of which you’re a clear graduate. Well done.

    No, we need to get real. Rider’s do have an important part to play in managing their self risks and there are better adverts around that give that message. The main thing they are managing though, are all the other risks the road system presents, particularly inept, blind and motorcycle ignorant drivers. I’d be happy to get you on the back of my motorcycle at take you for a half day’s riding through CBD, freeways and highways to demonstrate just how much effective risk management is required. Are you game?

  35. John Motorcycle Rider
    12 Feb 13
    1:03 pm

  36. @ Right for some The fact that you witnessed reckless rider behaviour in St Kilda recently, demonstrates the how ineffective the TAC are as regards changing rider behaviour. This is further proof that their ads are a total failure and that their approach to the subject is ill-concieved.

    As a rider, I have learned how to manage the risk. As I rider I want to share my experience with other riders and help new riders to avoid coming off their bikes – and I want to ultimately assist them to live to an old age. As do many other riders – those now locked out of the process by TAC – who refuse to work with them.

    I repeat – The problem is TAC refuse to work with riders. They tell the world they do – but the really don’t connect with “the right riders”.

    What is being discussed here – is not the safety message – but, the way the message is being communicated. A Govt Inquiry has identified that TAC are failing in their communications. So there must be a better way. That is what this discussion is all about…..

  37. Roger Colman
    12 Feb 13
    2:33 pm

  38. The issue with motorbikes is that accidents do happen no matter who is at fault. The issue then is, if accidents do happen between different transports types, which costs the community more when there is an accident? The motorbike rider.

    Given the danger of motorbike riding in the first place, even without another vehicle involved, the best thing for Government bodies to do is discourage riding and make motorbike riders acutely aware of their specific risk. It’s this specific risk – asymmetrical when it comes to cars – that should make bike riders the target of self awareness campaigns of the dangers of motorcycling.

    As a matter of road and social manners, the motorcyclists on the road system where I live behave despicably in terms of noise and speed. It seems as though all Harleys appear to have no mufflers, as do most of the other bikes. Never has the been such an anti social group as motorbikes without mufflers. I will naturally avoid accidents as best as possible, but the ability to add an extra accident avoidance alertness because a motorcycle rider would be injured much more severely than if the rider was in a car, is the riders responsibility.

  39. Beery
    12 Feb 13
    2:45 pm

  40. Why do we denegrate people when we don’t agree with them? Yes TAC is showing riders doing iresponsible stuff, but as a rider for more than 30 years I’m not getting precious or feel personally agrieved. Simply preaching ” be a good rider” before this type of ad came along never worked did it?

    Rather, I hope this TVC makes the riders out there who conduct themselves like in the examples shown actually modify their behaviour. TAC make a couple of great messages – (1) we motorcyclists are at higher risk by the nature of our choice of transport; and (2) people may get hurt or killed unless individuals avoid increasing the risk in the first place.

    Now if the ACT government did something as cutting in Canberra about the worst tail-gaters in the country, that would be something…

  41. Rob
    12 Feb 13
    5:35 pm

  42. @Roger and @Beery, are you seriously suggesting that motorcycle riders do not appreciate that they will come off second best in a prang?? Really? Are you going to give me some non representative throw away comment that some riders ride like they don’t recognise this fact? Will this be your justification for supporting the TAC?

    It seems that some folks here have swallowed the spin hook line and sinker, that riders are falling off the perch in ever greater numbers requiring the TAC to do something! Well, the truth is somewhat different.

    The TAC are responding to a very simple internal trigger, COSTS. For 30 years, riders have been recording a continually reducing, real terms trend of fewer fatalities and fewer injuries. That’s fact. However the TAC’s outgoings for riders has put riders in the spotlight and since medical costs are only going in one direction, the TAC has had to act to rein in it’s costs. Despite the massive safety gains made in the real world, marketing had to come into play and what a success it’s been. Both the RACV and VicPol are on record on their submissions to the recent inquiry stating that the motorcycle fatality numbers are rising. It just goes to show how powerful marketing can be. Repeat something often enough, it will be believed despite the evidence, and even by those who have the contrary evidence right in front of them.

    So, to the facts then. The TAC’s motorcycle safety strategy has five pillars, of which not a single one relates to reducing the incidence of crashing. Two pillars relate to injury mitigation which perfectly meets their requirement to mitigate/reduce injury costs and the other three relate to corporate motherhood / marketing goals. Let me ask you learned gents, if you were genuinely targetting road safety, would you focus on strategies that aimed to mitigate injury or would you focus on reducing the incidence of crashing altogether? And if it’s the latter, would your messages to a target group have been “the ride” and “reconstruction”?

  43. Rob
    12 Feb 13
    5:41 pm

  44. p.s. I’m somewhat bemused to read someone encouraging the discouragement of an efficient mode of transport, namely powered two wheelers.

    Twice a day our nation’s economy is being weighed down by gridlock that could be relieved substantially if only 10% of drivers switched to bikes that filtered through queueing traffic. Cage dwellers would get to work sooner and be less stressed, goods would get to where they need to be sooner reducing input costs, the environmental impact of peak hours would be substantially reduced, less fuel would be wasted, the wear on our roads would be reduced… it’s win win win win win win. The community economic benefit of this slight transport modal shift would be substantial. Another win… but instead the call is effectively for more cars, and why? …seemingly because a few riders ride aggressively.

  45. Dabug
    12 Feb 13
    10:10 pm

  46. I’m a rider. The vast majority of riders on the road are good, self aware riders. Our preservation demands it. It’s the ‘I’m in a World of my own’ car drivers that are the problem to everyone on the road.

  47. John Fraser
    13 Feb 13
    12:41 am

  48. I am a pedestrian. I am a cyclist. I am a motorcyclist. I am a motorist. Am I perfect in all that I do on or around the roads. No, I am not, but at least I recognise this. What I am, is someone that realises that people make mistakes. I am someone that realises that the blame game is never going to work. I am someone that realises that road safety is MY resposibility, as it is every other road user. I am someone that believes education within road safety is paramount, as opposed to being beaten into submission. I am someone that believes that people need to take responsibility for what they do. Be aware or your surroundings. Signal your intentions – sooner rather than later. Plan ahead, and if you suddenly realise that you need to turn NOW, realise you left it too late and take the next turn. Take care, people.

  49. Stephen Bardsley
    13 Feb 13
    1:11 pm

  50. It’s extremely disappointing these ads have appeared, they are just ensuring the hostility between authorities and motorcyclists is maintained. Is this the intention? Or is it just the TAC’s way of showing they do not intend to take any notice of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety, which specifically advises they have to stop making and running ads of this type as they illigitemately lay the blame for accidents solely on motorcyclists?

    I thought the TAC reported to the Victorian Government, I suspect until recently so did everyone else. How long then can the TAC continue to remain a law unto itself and continue to ignore Parliamentary recommendations? I think there is a name for this, it’s certainly not democracy. Looks like the heads of the TAC are intent on pulling off a nice little coup d’état right under the noses of the Victorian Government !

  51. JP
    13 Feb 13
    2:31 pm

  52. Can you indicate where in the Inquiry into Motorcycle Safety (2012) it specifically advises the TAC stop making and running ads of this type? It seems rather to recommend TAC consult with riders to produce (more effective) ads of this type.

  53. Dan Rotman
    13 Feb 13
    2:48 pm

  54. It is specifically because there is a caution against the TACs continuing advertising which is seen as anti-motorcycling, and the TACs response to this that the time has now come for all of us to write to our Members of Parliament and complain about the TACs waste of our money. Direct action using the existing systems in place to talk with our elected representatives is the only way that we are going to impact on the TAC’s attitude. Otherwise we’re just creating a whole lot of static involving mainly ourselves. The Pollies don’t read Mumbrella, or Netrider of Facebook or Twitter, unless that are specifically looking for an issue. Write to them now. They’ve gotta respond.
    You can email, modifying the letter on the Facebook page – Aussie Motorcyclists.

  55. NS
    13 Feb 13
    3:26 pm

  56. mumbrella can you pls stop running these stories although you love the eyeballs. The biker invasion puts off your key target audience (and i’m allowed to say that as i’ve ridden a motorcycle everyday for the last 20 years)

  57. Rob
    13 Feb 13
    3:52 pm

  58. @JP Everything between the ***’s answers your question.

    Recommendation 22:
    That the Transport Accident Commission focus its motorcycle safety advertising on ***redressing the attitude that responsibility for rider safety is solely attributable to the rider, by ensuring that campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise driver awareness and do not create negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers.***

  59. Stop SMIDSY
    13 Feb 13
    4:32 pm

  60. Hi JP,

    Plesae see Recommendation 22 of the Road Safety Committee’s Report:

    That the Transport Accident Commission focus its motorcycle safety advertising on redressing the attitude that responsibility for rider safety is solely attributable to the rider, by ensuring that campaigns dealing with motorcycles raise driver awareness and do not create negative stereotypes, perceptions or attitudes among drivers.

  61. Stop SMIDSY
    13 Feb 13
    5:06 pm

  62. Mumbrella your forum to discuss everything under Australia’s media and marketing umbrella is greatly appreciated.

    It is heartening to know there is somewhere to explore the ramifications of a road safety organisation snubbing a Parliamentary Inquiry recommendation concerning their advertising strategies.

    Thank you.

  63. John Hollands
    13 Feb 13
    5:23 pm

  64. Does everyone understand what SMIDSY means?

    It’s “Sorry Mate, I Didn’t See You”. S.M.I.D.S.Y.

    People on roads are ALL at risk. Changing lanes suddenly without care or signals makes it hard for whoever is alongside. That’s why – on our roads – it is not just motorcyclists who are killed or injured.

    In fact, overwhelmingly it is Drivers who are killed and injured.

    Motorcycle fatalities are way down and dropping further (that’s the REAL figures, not the “carnage” Journalist’s cry). This is partly (and increasingly) because of the amount of training and testing motorcyclists undertake even before their Learner’s.

    I like to ask car drivers how they did in their licence test – especially the emergency stop, the u-turn in a box, the swerve-to-avoid test and if they remembered their head check before each part.

    I am amazed to learn that car drivers do no such thing. Nor, apparently, do they do six hours of simulator before their L plates. Who knew?

    The TAC approach when a gunman fires into a crowd, is to tell the crowd they shouldn’t cluster together. Might be better to ask the gunman not to shoot.

    Motorcyclists already know that to stay upright they must avoid the unthinking, the careless, the idiotic and incompetant behaviour of others on the road.

    I have even had pedestrians wander in front of my bike as though it wouldn’t hurt them to be hit by a 300kg BMW.

    BTW show me a self-help group of Drivers who meet up and all drive somewhere to hone and refine their skills. Monthly. Or weekly. Maybe it does happen and I just missed it.

    Seems to me all levels of publicly-funded entities would do well to seek and listen to the views of experts beyond their walls.

    Be safe.


  65. John Hollands
    13 Feb 13
    5:28 pm

  66. Oh oops.

    Disclosure: I’m on the Executive Committee of the Motorcycle Council of NSW.

    Wouldn’t want Tim on my tail for non-disclosure!!!

    I’m not representing the views, necessarily, of the MCC, merely my own views.


  67. Beery
    15 Feb 13
    9:20 am

  68. To answer Rob, despite all the arguments that riders know they will be injured in an accident, etc, people seem to be offended with the suggestion that some of our fellow riders are dickheads and consequently don’t think enough about the risks when doing dickhead things. So generally knowing you will be hurt and being conscious of this when riding and not act irresponsibly at the time do not always align (I witness stupid riding or high risk riding every second day – the girl in short skirt and singlet who wizzed past on the SV650 yesterday had me shaking my head). Hence the TAC approach.

  69. Beery
    15 Feb 13
    9:23 am

  70. By the way Tim, I’ve suggested before about not referring to ‘Bikers’ – we are motorcyclists.

  71. John Motorcycle Rider
    15 Feb 13
    10:11 am

  72. @Beery I wish people here would stop talking about the safety argument. We know and understand that – thoroughly. Riders don’t need to be reminded that.

    The fact is Riders agree with the safety messages that TAC wants to promote. We share the same attitudes and ideas as them.

    Its the Method of Delivery where we differ. You have no idea what its like to experience what I describe as Motorcycle Racism, which is derived from the TAC method of delivery.

    Non riders need to see it through our eyes, and experience the dumb, insensitive, insulting and derogatory things people who do not ride say to us. Over nearly 40 years riding, I have heard so many insults to my riding skills, and my motorcycle passion – that I have had to revert to tactful responses (while internally feeling that I would just like to go up to some and punch their lights out).

    My point? Its a Car Centric world. TAC are an insurance company – and take an insurer’s approach to reducing injury.

    Riders, if given the role, would take a slightly different approach. Surprisingly, not all that different to TAC, but just enough to make it balanced – so the Motorcycle Racism would be removed.

    To those non riders reading this are you a Motorcycle Racist? You probably think you are not – but, think about what you are saying…….you may be insulting someone who doesn’t deserve it.

  73. Beery
    15 Feb 13
    12:00 pm

  74. I’ve tried not to be insulting to fellow riders – in fact an earlier post of mine questioned why we need to denegrate others when discussing this issue. So I am not going to denegrate John Motorcycle Rider now. I will say that: (a) I have been riding since 1979 – that’s 34 years so I think I understand motorcycle racism as he described; (b) suggesting I am a motorcycle racist because I have a slighlty different opinion in not helpful; and (c) people should try and understand the arguments i and others presented, not get precious about it as seeing it as insulting, rather than constructive as I do.

  75. John Motorcycle Rider
    15 Feb 13
    1:41 pm

  76. @Beery I actually changed my original draft, because I noted that you and I share the same length of riding experience. If you read what I said in the last paragraph – you will note that I directed my comments at Non-riders, of which I know you are not one (because you already told us you are a rider).

    My point is getting away from the Safety debate, because what the TAC have done is commit a Method of Delivery mistake not a Safety mistake. In doing so they have lost the confidence and respect of the target audience they are trying to reach.

    You and I understand Rider Safety – why can’t TAC utilise you and I to work for them? TAC’s error has been that they believed they didn’t need to talk to certain riders – they use non-riders to do the majority – and resort to focus testing to verify their work. The problem with focus testing? It’s open to errors and manipulation by the testers to satisfy the TAC hypothesis. Riders can see through this sort of thing, and that is why TAC has no credibility in the eyes of many riders.

  77. Rob
    15 Feb 13
    4:03 pm

  78. @Beery, no sorry mate, I don’t believe that you understand motorcycle racism despite your protestations. A few people calling you a temporary Australian or a bit of grief from colleagues isn’t an understanding of the problem.

    The TAC’s media message tars all riders the same way (even you), encourages non riders to see all riders the same way (even you) and worse, depicts a completely implausible crash which can’t help to put a completely false understanding of motorcycling in the non rider’s mind… This advert encourages drivers and non riders to view all safety risks a motorcyclist faces as a problem of the motorcyclist. If you understood motorcycle racism, you might not support such a media message.

    Ok… If we could wind back the clock and YOU were the one to design a risk and responsibility campaign, and YOU wanted to deliver a message to that minority risky riding element (that obviously doesn’t comply with your motorcycling rules of conduct given your above observations), how would you design it?

  79. MatthewTitanium
    16 Feb 13
    7:29 am

  80. “The TAC approach when a gunman fires into a crowd, is to tell the crowd they shouldn’t cluster together. Might be better to ask the gunman not to shoot.”

    Genius. Spot on – exactly how I see the problem. I have often imagined that the best road safety ad would feature a guy going up to random people in a kind of vox-pop manner and handing them a loaded assault rifle and saying to them –
    “would you mind firing off a few rounds down that way – just down the street there..?”

    After showing a few stunned reactions, the voiceover says –
    “you wouldn’t do that there…”

    Then cut to a montage of people putting their cars into stupid places, dangerous merging, unsafe illegal uturns, etc, as the voiceover continues –
    “ why do this here?”