Comment on WA Road Safety Commission’s latest campaign
16 February 2018 | Government relations
We Ride Australia’s vision is to make cycling a positive, healthy and safe reality for children, adults and seniors everywhere … and in many, many countries around the World it is.
But when we see the latest road safety campaign from the Western Australian Road Safety Commission we are incredibly disappointed with the content that portrays the choice to ride a bike as social suicide, ridiculous and the choice of no one if they have an option to drive a car.
That the Commission faces serious problems addressing an intractable road toll and needs to find ways to stop people dying and being maimed on our roads is blindingly obvious.
But what is clearly not obvious to the Road Safety Commission is that in countries with almost half the road deaths and trauma of Australia, there can be up to ten times more people riding bikes than in Western Australia.
It’s hard to fathom that in all 3 campaign videos released online, the focus is on a single mode of transport as a form of punishment, reinforcing negative, entrenched pre-conceptions and myths around people who choose to ride bikes.
An entire nation of planners, advocates and Ministers and transport bureaucrats interested in addressing intractable traffic congestion have been battling for years to overcome these attitudes.
Support for bicycle riding through investment at a fraction of the cost of new highways yields significant benefits for people, communities AND drivers. Sadly, the campaign only tells the people of WA an inaccurate, negative and ridiculous story of why only ‘losers’ ride a bike.
We are very sorry to see such an ill-conceived campaign from the Road Safety Commission, but it’s not new or original. With its release on social media it has however travelled across the World a lot faster!
Sadly, the Commission may take the many comments in social media we have seen as an indicator of the successful reach and impact of the campaign.
Historical levels are being spent by the Western Australian Government to increase the participation of cycling in the State.
Minister Saffiotti recently committed $140 million to enhance the shared path network, they are also investing in Bike Week during March to normalise riding as a legitimate means of transport. The State Government recently regulated minimum passing distance laws. Sport and Recreation continue to invest into riding as a way to keep the community healthy and active.
These very significant commitments recognise the role that cycling can play in wider community benefits. If in the future the new roads costing billions are choked by congestion earlier than expected, then future governments might look back on this campaign and realise the impact it really did have.
* Link to campaign: https://www.rsc.wa.gov.au/Your-Safety/Safety-Topics/Speeding
We Ride Australia – Stephen Hodge, mob. 0411 149 910, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Australian Cycling Promotion Foundation – www.weride.org.au