Australian road safety ads pulled after portraying cycling in negative light

Western Australian ads showed banned speeding driver having to cycle, which attracted derision from cycling campaigners

General cycling riding on road

A series of road safety adverts published by the Western Australia Road Safety Commission have been pulled after complaints from cycling groups highlighted that they portrayed cycling in a negative light.

The ads featured a driver who was caught speeding, lost his licence and was left using an old bicycle to travel around. The tone of the ads made it appear that cycling was a punishment.

Australian cycling campaign organisation We Ride Australia criticised the ads, saying that they depicted cycling as "social suicide, ridiculous and the choice of no one if they have an option to drive a car".

"It’s hard to fathom that in all three 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."

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"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."

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

WA road safety minister Michelle Roberts ordered that the adverts be removed from the Road Safety Commission's website and YouTube channel.

Roberts is quoted by Western Australia Today as saying in statement: "I did not see them before they went live and as soon as concerns were raised with me, I acted swiftly to have them taken down."

She continued: "I understand and appreciate the concerns raised by the cycling community and others".

"I approved the Road Safety Commission to develop a campaign addressing driver’s risk-taking behaviour and specifically requested further detail. This did not happen."

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Nigel Wynn
Nigel Wynn

Nigel Wynn worked as associate editor on CyclingWeekly.com, he worked almost single-handedly on the Cycling Weekly website in its early days. His passion for cycling, his writing and his creativity, as well as his hard work and dedication, were the original driving force behind the website’s success. Without him, CyclingWeekly.com would certainly not exist on the size and scale that it enjoys today. Nigel sadly passed away, following a brave battle with a cancer-related illness, in 2018. He was a highly valued colleague, and more importantly, n exceptional person to work with - his presence is sorely missed.