Tuesday, 30 August 2011

All the wrong reasons

One of the most widely read bicycle blogs is Copenhagenize run by Mikhail Colville-Anderson. He's become a bit of a legend and has one of the coolest jobs around. He gets invited around the world to talk about bicycles.

Recently he was in Barcelona and he had plenty of positive things to say about it and what it was doing to encourage what he calls "citizen cyclists".

Today, it was South Australia's turn to get a mention. It coincided with the news that Adelaide is in the top ten most livable cities in the world, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit's latest survey. That survey measures "livability" by reference to a set of defined criteria. There is naturally a certain amount of subjectivity in choosing those things that are said to make a city livable. Low population density and crime rates seem to be things on which a city can score highly.

As we all know, if ease of getting places by bicycle were a criterion, Adelaide would alas not rate quite as highly as it does.

The mention on Copenhagenize was all about the new campaign from the Motor Accident Commission. It seems to be doing its best to make riding a bicycle have the image of something only losers do. Their latest "safety" campaign is called "Lose your licence and your screwed". The purpose seems to be to scare young drivers into obeying the rules because, as they say, without a licence you're screwed. It is literally impossible to live without a driver's licence and a car.

They have a series of banners, one of which has a picture of a couple on a bike:

Predictably, they have stupid looking helmets on that are obviously designed to make them look even more like dweebs. In any other country, you can see images of young people riding around giving their friends a lift. Scroll through the Amsterdamize website or his Flickr stream and you'll find dozens:

(One of thousands of great pictures on Amsterdamize)

There you go. Your tax dollars being spent on a campaign that effectively says you are a loser. Brilliant.


  1. Couldn't agree more dude

    You should contact the MAC. Or your local MP. Who is your local MP?

  2. The Attorney-General. I wrote to him 3 years ago about bus lanes and he still hasn't replied so I'm not hopeful.

  3. Yeah buit that was Atkinson. Now it's Rau (who used to be a member of the old centre-left faction). You may get a better response.

  4. Wow, that "you're screwed" thing is awful - guy on a lady's frame bike, neither of their helmets are adjusted to cover their forehead (can you even buy helmets which have exposed styrofoam anymore?), and the girl is sitting in a baby seat, usually recommended for people under four. Yes, us bikers are a bunch of loser nerds.