Cycling campaigners have criticised the Department for Transport’s (DfT) new THINK! advertisement on cycle safety, with an Olympic cycling legend calling it ‘desperately misguided’.
The advert features a cyclist being caught by a left-turning lorry as one of a number of ‘things you shouldn’t get caught between’, including a piano falling from the sky and a gunfight in the wild west.
In response Chris Boardman, a former Olympic gold medallist, who is now a policy adviser for British Cycling campaigns on cycle safety, said on Twitter: ‘Desperately misguided campaign that a) tries to make death fun b) vulnerable road user responsible for vehicle not fit for road’.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s senior road safety and legal campaigns officer said: 'The THINK! campaign should be a powerful voice for helping to change road practice, but unfortunately sometimes its messaging is wrong.
'Cycling UK raised its concerns with this campaign at the earliest stage and we are very disappointed this was not taken on board. Hopefully, following the understandable widespread negative reaction THINK! has received from road safety campaigners, they will rethink and re-engage to learn from their mistakes.'
The campaign points out that a high proportion of deaths involving cyclists happen when a cyclist is at the front left of the truck, while almost a third of all crashes between cyclists and HGVs happen when the lorry is turning left.
The DfT said the campaign will also target HGV drivers through partnership activity with the Freight Transport Association and will include tips for car drivers in general to raise awareness of cycle safety on the roads.
Transport minister Andrew Jones said: ‘Reducing the number of cyclists killed on our roads is a key priority. Since 2010 the number has decreased to its lowest level. This campaign will raise awareness amongst urban cyclists and help make our roads safer for those on two wheels.’