DFT, what are you on?

Once again I have to say a big thanks to MrC of Manchester Cycling for bringing this to my attention.

The Department for Transport (DFT) has, unbelieavably, decided that a site like this is a good idea!

Based on pure scaremongery and worse of all creating some sort of acceptability of dangerous driving by blaiming the victims for being hit… because they are not “BRIGHT ENOUGH”! Can you believe this?

I mean, if I had a child and I’d let him/her take this test, I would be highly surprised if he/she would want to leave the house ever again!

Slogans such as:

“Dress brightly, in cool gear if it’s hospital you fear”


“Oh dear, the car couldn’t see you…”

Excuse  me???

Oh dear, the car could’t see you???? So now it’s the victim fault if a car is doing 50 in a 30 miles zone and it hits you because of its dangerous driving?

Do you, DFT, really believe that a high-vis vest is going to stop a 50m/hr car (or whatever speed, 30m/hr is enough to be able kill a human)?

Instead of building a positive and constructive programmes for greener transport, with the aim of reducing the number of cars needed to go about daily life, especially in cities, you spend money on this? On making people so scared they’ll just end up locking themselves in their own homes and only step in their car to buy a pint of milk a mile down the road, because that’s the only way they’ll feel safe.

Shouldn’t you, DFT, fight to ensure our roads infrastructure is safe for all? But most of all, safer and enjoyable at human scale, not at car scale? We’ve seen the destructive power of things like the inner Ring Road in Birmingham, for example, how it divided the city and how it’s taking so long and so much money to restitch the city back to a pleasant human scale. I use Birmingham simply as an example, many cities suffer from the dominion of the car.

Is this really the world we want to shape for us and for future generations?

At first I get so angry when I come across this kind of regressive thinking, then I get incredbily depressed at the kind of incompetent, regressive people that must be heading important government departments such as DFT to approve such decisions and ideas.

Is anyone else out there outraged or do you think this is the way forward???

Please don’t tell me yes, to the latter, please!

[Images taken and credited to DFT]

16 responses to “DFT, what are you on?

  1. It’s very sad.
    I do think this kind of campaigns discourage people to cycle, walk and live.
    I feel powerless and very angry. How can politicians do that?

    • Unfortunately politicians follow where the votes are, and where the money are too. Lobbying of private firms who make their living in the car industry are well known, and that does not help for a fair and honest description of matters like this.

  2. I think the worst part is that it is aimed at children. It is terrible that the message the government sends to kids is that it is their fault if they get hit by a car. I can sympathise with a pragmatic parent wanting to minimise the risk of their own child being mowed down by a bad driver, after all the parent can’t change the roads, the level of traffic or the standard of drivers. The government however, shouldn’t be taking the same approach. On a grand, society wide scale the government has the power and the duty to tackle the root causes of the problem; roads with a speed limit which is too high, poor enforcement of speed limits and traffic law, too much capacity for private motor vehicles on roads, a standard of driving which is obviously too low and the reluctance of the judicial system to hand out bans (especially life bans) to people who have already proven that they shouldn’t be permitted to drive.

  3. Yes, I’m outraged. I have been for a long time, for all the reasons already said. Why is cycling being given such a damaging image? I have often asked why it is portrayed either as a sport or as a dangerous activity requiring the wearer to don geeky gear. Why are drivers so often not held to account even when cyclists have died? It has crossed my mind that it’s either a ploy to boost business for hi-vis manufacturers (which gvt officials have shares in) or it’s a ploy by those who manufacture cars or have a vested interest in road-building and the dominance of motor vehicles. That’s why I formed my start up business, The Cambridge Raincoat Company Ltd, launching later this month. I’ve started with what I know best:- designing stylish raincoats for women on upright bikes. According to a survey that Sustrans did in Autumn 2009, 80% of women in the UK NEVER cycle. And they said why:- 9000 women subsequently signed a petition calling for safer and separate cycling routes. I think another part of the problem is the image of cyling – who wants to go around looking like a geek in all the hi-vis rubbish? Not me and not thousands of other women. My raincoats are made of a lightweight, waterproof, breathable and windproof fabric and come in a range of bright colours in order to make the wearer noticeable to approaching drivers. I am a great fan of brightly coloured clothing so long as it is normal clothes. We don’t need the hi-vis uniform. Sorry about the plug but as I have been a commuter cyclist, cycling a round trip of 10 miles daily on average and occasionally being a driver myself, I have had a good deal of time to reflect on how we cyclists can best protect ourselves from governmental complacency. One thing we must do is all that we can to normalize the image of cycling and in doing so we will encourage as many people to make cycling part of their normal lifestyle as possible. We need to encourage critical mass on an ongoing basis in order to expose the ignorant and misguided efforts of those who purport to be working in the country’s best interests. I have brought my children up to cycle and as teenagers they are confident and competent cyclists because they know the rules of the road, to look over their shoulders before turning, to give clear signals, to be assertive etc. The wouldn’t be caught dead in hi-vis or a helmet but they know full well the importance of good lights on their bikes and keeping their wits about them.

    • Hi Sally. Thanks for your comment, I agree with you when you say “it’s a ploy by those who manufacture cars or have a vested interest in road-building and the dominance of motor vehicles”. However my blog is free of any advertising, please don’t use the comment box for advertising your product, I hope you can understand and respect my wish.

  4. Yep, a gristly campaign.

    Emma brought this pack home from her last school. Without beating around the bush, it was vile in every aspect. One of her mates gave it back to the teacher & refused to take it home (good on her).

    The council dug a pavement up a few weeks ago on a main road local to here, but despite being keen to dish out road safety crap to its local schoolkids, didn’t see fit to cone off a path for them it the roadway to get past. The Missus gave them a hammering down the phone which got them to make a half-hearted attempt which I widened walking our two home from school.

    It’s drivers that need educating. Despite signs warning of the roadworks, do you think anybody slowed down?

    P.S: When that campaign was originally launched, they had an online game designed to ‘encourage’ kids to wear helmets, whereby heads with & without helmets popped out of holes in the screen – to win, the player had to hit the unhelmeted heads with a mallet. Genius eh?!

    There’s a thread on the CTC forum about it somewhere – a member successfully complained and had the game removed.

    • Hi Ian and welcome back!

      Thanks for your comment as it’s good to hear a parent point of view and that this campaign is seen just tasteless by many. I’ll look into the CTC forum. I wonder if an arsy email to DFT maybe worth a shot (just as perhaps an added support if any other soul decided to air their frustration), although I have no children of my own (so I can just imagine an arsy reply back)?

      On a lighter note, how was Portugal?

      • I’ve just grunted their way via an email funnily enough. Will re-communicate any arsey replies if they bother.

        Yep, Portugal was great thanks. We left some brill weather behind too – plenty of blue sky :>)

        Things are definitely more laid back down there. Back to the chaos up here again till next time!

      • let me know if you get a reply! I’ve saved my draft email… just in case… ready to be sent ; )

  5. I was taught, when I learnt to drive, that when visibility is poor, you slow down.

    That includes the hours of darkness – and I still slow down & take more care when it’s dark. I’m genuinely not sure why so many drivers’ reaction to poor conditions is to carry on regardless, and why they aren’t punished for doing so.

    • I’m with you there.

      I was also taught not to splash pedestrians with water, although the zoned-out numpties that drove past me & my 2 daughters this afternoon obviously had not.

      Of course, had they been driving slower in accordance with the conditions they wouldn’t have given everybody a dousing. But then, it was probably the responsibility of my 4 year old to ensure that we were all wearing bright yellow waterproofs. The huge red golfing umbrella I was carrying wouldn’t count…lol

      • Super Ian : ) we should contact DFT perhaps too on this, see if some sparky genius can come up with a “Be waterproof, be safe” campaign!

        Have you ever had the sad experience of not only being splashed on purpose but also seeing the driver laughing his face off??? : (

      • I was also taught that way but these last years I’ve learned how to quickly move away when I see a car approaching (and there is water on the road).
        Why are people so thoughtless? I always try not to bother the other people but they don’t do so…

    • I have a theory that when driving/weather conditions are worse drivers get more cocky! (not all of course, but unfortunately enough to make it a problem).

      I was taught same as you, but I guess selfishness reigns supreme lately?

      • Thankfully not, but as a kid out with some mates, saw a Transit van driver deliberately soak an OAP along a main road. Despite being 14 yr old hoody types at the time, we were sickened by it.

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