AA Launches National 'Think Bikes!' Campaign supported by Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman and 20 times TT winner John McGuinness
Dramatic new figures show that nine out of ten drivers (93%) admit it is sometimes hard to see cyclists while driving and more than half (55%) are often ‘surprised when a cyclist appears from nowhere’.
These are the results of an AA-Populus poll of 17,629 drivers*. A previous AA-Populus poll** showed 85 per cent of drivers think motorcyclists are sometimes hard to see and more than half (57%) are often ‘surprised when a motorcycle appears from nowhere’.
As a result of these findings the AA and the AA Charitable Trust have got together, with support from British Cycling and The Motorcycle Industry Association, to launch a national 'Think Bikes!' awareness campaign.
Initially one million free stickers will be distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. It is proposed that the cycle sticker is placed on the passenger’s side and the motorcycle one on the driver’s side.
If you don't check your mirrors you don't know what you're missing
Failure to look properly is the most commonly cited (42%) contributory factor in UK road accidents***, adding further weight to the need for road users to have greater awareness of each other.
The campaign was launched on Friday 7 March at Marble Arch, London, with the help of famous Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, 20 times TT winner John McGuinness and with support from the Metropolitan Police.
Think bicycle sticker
The original sticker concept came from Tony Rich, AA Patrol of the Year, after his friend, Jack Bellis, was killed in a motorcycle crash. Tony and Jack’s family wanted to do something to help prevent such crashes in the future.
Think Bikes! is part of the AA’s ongoing commitment to improve road safety for all road users and forms part of its 'New Deal' for road users the organisation is championing; where all road users agree to stick to the rules of the road and treat each other with respect.
Almost one in five AA members cycle on a regular basis and some 90 per cent of British Cycling members also drive a car.
Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users and this is where our stickers act as a daily reminder
Edmund King, AA president
Commenting, Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA Think Bikes campaign is definitely needed when half of drivers are often surprised when a cyclist or motorcyclist ‘appears from nowhere’. Those on two wheels never appear from nowhere so as drivers we need to be more alert to other road users and this is where our stickers act as a daily reminder. Likewise riders need to be aware that they may not always be spotted by drivers. We hope that this campaign can reach the parts that other campaigns can’t reach.
”Greater awareness alongside education, enforcement and improved infrastructure will make our roads safer for all.”
The AA-Populus cycle survey found:
The main findings in relation to motorcyclists were:
The campaign has the support of the Transport Secretary, Road Safety Minister, Department for Transport, Police, Mayor of London Boris Johnson and a host of cycling and freight groups.
Chris Jansen, AA chief executive, said: “We are very pleased to be working with Chris Boardman, British Cycling, John McGuinness and The Motor Cycle Industry Association as we are keen to see a ‘New Deal’ on the roads where all road users abide by the rules and treat each other with respect.”
This sticker campaign reflects the importance of looking out for everyone on the road, regardless of what form of transport they use
Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser
Chris Boardman, British Cycling’s policy adviser, said: “This move by the AA – Britain’s largest motoring organisation – is a welcome step in creating a culture of mutual respect between all road users. We know that cyclists and drivers are often the same people – nine out of 10 British Cycling members also drive a car. This sticker campaign reflects the importance of looking out for everyone on the road, regardless of what form of transport they use.
“Looking left and giving way to cyclists is a crucial part of improving safety on the roads. This is what happens on the continent and it should become part of our culture too. Of course, this rule is already written into the Highway Code – we just need to ensure that people are following it.
“This campaign will undoubtedly contribute to promoting safer driving habits on the road.”
too many drivers simply don't 'see' bikes and this can create a dangerous situation. The AA Think Bikes stickers serve to remind drivers to use their mirrors and be more aware of bikers on the roads
John McGuinness, 20-time Isle of Man TT winner
John McGuinness, 20-time Isle of Man TT winner, said: "As a professional motorcycle racer, I definitely feel safer riding my bike on the track than I do on the open road. On the race track or at organised road racing events, you are riding alongside people who are acutely aware of their surroundings and the presence of other bikes. In the real world however, this is not always the case as too many drivers simply don't 'see' bikes and this can create a dangerous situation. The AA Think Bikes stickers serve to remind drivers to use their mirrors and be more aware of bikers on the roads."
This campaign perfectly complements our own because it will encourage motorists to take extra care in looking out for cyclists and motorbike riders
Robert Goodwill, Transport Minister
Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Last year we launched our campaign to give cyclists and motorists tips on how to be safe around one another – but these tips are only useful if a driver keeps a proper look out for people on two wheels so that they can adjust their driving accordingly. We also launched a campaign to encourage motorcyclists to ride defensively and for motorists to take extra care to look out for riders.
“It is of course vital that people on two wheels also do all they can to remain visible. This campaign perfectly complements our own because it will encourage motorists to take extra care in looking out for cyclists and motorbike riders.”
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “This is a brilliantly simple idea which if widely adopted will undoubtedly save lives - and it reminds us, too, that cyclists and drivers have a common interest in looking out for each other."
National Policing Lead on Roads Policing, Chief Constable Suzette Davenport, said:
“Recent incidents which have claimed the lives of cyclists and motorcyclists have, once again, highlighted the need for motorists to be aware of those who make use of our roads on two wheels, proving that additional care, attention and thoughtfulness can make all the difference.
“Therefore I am delighted to be able to support the AA in their ‘Think Once, Think Twice, Think Bikes’ campaign. I congratulate them on producing these simple, effective stickers and urge drivers to get them, use them and play their part in keeping our roads safe.”
Last summer the AA and BSM driving schools introduced a special cycle awareness module so that all learner drivers are taught how to share the roads with cyclists. AA DriveTech also offers bikeability cycle proficiency courses and training for HGV drivers.
The AA has worked extensively and continues to work with The Motorcycle Industry Association on a number of motorcycle safety initiatives.
(7 March 2014)
Photographs of the stickers and campaign can be downloaded from the AA Flickr account
The campaign will be supported on social media using #ThinkBikes
*17,629 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 12-17 December 2013. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
** 21,165 adults, aged 18+, responded to the AA-Populus online panel between 11-17 October 2013.
***Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2012