Transport for London pauses new 'see their side' campaign after backlash against advert

TfL paused the campaign after facing a backlash on social media

(Image credit: TfL)

Transport for London have paused the new 'see their side' road safety campaign that wants both drivers and cyclists to see each other's point of view after a backlash on social media.

This all comes as the Highway Code changes to give more priority to cyclists and pedestrians. But the new campaign seems to have missed the mark.

The video, which was released on Wednesday, November 17, was of a woman driving her car before slamming on her brakes after realising she was about to turn into a cyclist. An argument flared up between the two with internal monologues questioning their actions before they ask each other if they are okay and apologise.

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The video has since been taken down on Twitter and Youtube by TfL and comments have been blocked on the YouTube video, but Cycling UK likened it to the previous THINK BIKE campaign in 2016 which was described by Chris Boardman as "woefully misguided."

This has resulted in the new campaign being paused and London's walking and cycling commissioner Will Norman tweeting: "I know there has been a lot of concern raised about the ‘see their side’ advert. The campaign has been paused to consider the feedback that has been received. City Hall and TfL remain committed to improving the road culture in London and reducing road danger."

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When the film came out Miranda Leedham, head of customer marketing and behaviour change at transport for London, said in a report by Campaign Live: "At TfL we want to make London safer for all. We’re incredibly passionate about this objective and 'See their side' is a film we wanted our audience to resonate with.

"The end product is a film which pulls at the heart-strings and really encourages all road users to wake up and think about the potential of their actions.

"We’re fully behind helping the mayor achieve his Vision Zero ambition to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from our roads and make London a safer place to live."

The film is focused on trying to make road users see life on the road from each others' perspective and encourages tolerance on London's roads.

But, according to Cycling UK the film "ignores the fundamental change the new Code introduces: the introduction of the 'Hierarchy of Users' or ‘Hierarchy of Responsibility’, recognising that road users who pose greater risks to others ought to have a higher level of responsibility."

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.