Thursday, August 08, 2013

NOPE it just doesn't work for me

I've tried to steer somewhat clear (forgive the pun) of the NiceWay Code since its launch on Monday ... it's not a campaign that the City Council is directly involved in.

But, as someone who is a daily cyclist myself, I can't not comment on the pictured bus poster that is currently on the streets of Edinburgh.

Personally, I do not like its messaging at all.

Just to be clear - there are some aspects of the NiceWay Code I do like ... if nothing else, it has most certainly got a vigorous debate going about road safety issues. And re-inforcing messages about visibility; sight-lines; leaving adequate space; and even being respectful of each other; are fine with me ... mind you, these are, of course, all in the Highway Code already ;-)

And - I do know that no amount of 'niceness' will have the same positive impact on the uptake of cycling that more, and better, infrastructure would lead to - and/or - the same impact on safety as the proper enforcement of (or reduction in) existing speed limits would make.

So, I do fully appreciate that many may take a different view on the 'overall' nicewaycode campaign, and its worth;

- but on the specifics of this one bus poster ...

... to the very best of my knowledge, it simply is not illegal to 'undertake' vehicles on a bike - and I am NOT equating what's legal with what's safe.

Every working day of my life I 'undertake' vehicles - cars, taxis, vans, buses and occasionally lorries. On every occasion I do so; I do it legally; I try and do it as safely as I can; and I do it VERY, VERY carefully.

My journey to, and from, work would take a considerably longer time to complete if I didn't do so - and I'm just not keen on being advised that, NOPE, I shouldn't undertake a bus?? And that - if I must - I can overtake it ... frankly, overtaking any vehicle - into an oncoming traffic lane - can be JUST as dangerous as irresponsibly undertaking a vehicle.

Now, I'm no marketing expert ... all references to Incredinburgh in the comments section will be automatically deleted :-(

... but surely it's not too late to make some adjustment (or even selective deletion?) to the pre-booked advertising space and/or any ongoing message development for the campaign??

That would be nice.


Kim Harding said...

Kim (@kim_harding) has left a new comment on your post "NOPE it just doesn't work for me":

The money has been spent and Cycling Scotland are committed to their campaign even though grass roots cycle campaigners advised them against.

The fundamental problem with the whole respect agenda is follows the Forester/Franklin vehicular cycling approach. This has never achieved mass cycling anywhere in the world. If the Scottish Government is serious about Scotland having a 10% modal share for cycling by 2020. Then we need to change to a Sustainable safety approach, which has been proven to work everywhere it has been tried.

There is so much to gain be Scotland achieving the goal of 10% modal share. The WHO has calculated that the health benefits alone would save Scotland £2Bn per year. We simply can not afford not to miss the 10% target.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment.

Appreciate the money may well be spent/committed; but was just ruminating as to whether - even at this stage - some of the messaging could be adjusted?

I don't know if it can be.


Ian B (@ianmb) said...

If the message is fundamentally wrong and, in this case, unsafe then the company responsible for the media space can remove the ads. Someone could have a word with Lothian Buses as this ad damages their good cycling reputation. They could refuse to accept any more Niceway Code ads but obviously lose revenue and would annoy the Scottish Government as the advertiser.

The Scottish Government could pull most of the campaign tomorrow if they wanted to and put it back to the agency to produce revised ads.

stateless21 said...

Is the point not that for a bus it's safer to overtake because it will pull out into a straight line and travel whereas it's not safe to undertake because the bus will pull in to the side quickly at times (quicker than it pulls out from a stop) and it will not only be the cyclist hurt but the pedestrians at the bus stop about to board?

Andrew said...


Completely take the points you're making - some revision/changes (not necessarily abandonment) would be very welcome I sense?


Andrew said...


Thanks for the comment - and for checking the blog ...

... take your point, and I'm certainly not suggesting any 'undertaking' at bus-stops: that is dangerous (and stupid); but merely that 'undertaking', if considered and actioned carefully, is perfectly safe and on many occasions (not all) safer than 'overtaking'.


Anonymous said...

The city council's Streets Ahead bus posters were a gazillion times better than the nicewaycode ones. Luckily some of them are still up.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the feedback.


stateless21 said...

Yeah, I agree with you but think the ad is making the point that you can get squished on the inside much easier than you'll get hit head on on the outside.

As ever it comes down to a bit of common sense on everybody's part I guess.

Take care.

Andrew said...


Thanks for the further comment - appreciated ...

... and yes, "a bit of common sense on everybody's part" would indeed be most welcome :-)