A pro-cyclist campaign by cyclists… go figure.

Bumbling around the interwebs on this glum, grey day, I came across a current campaign of the UK’s National Cyclists’ Organization– the CTC.  It’s an ancient group, founded in 1878 as the Bicycle Touring Club and later rebranded as the Cyclists’ Touring Club.  With over a century of experience, maybe the CTC feels endowed with the responsibility to protect cyclists’ rights.  Or maybe they’re just cool.  I don’t know.  But check out this cool campaign: Stop SMIDSY.  The acronym– sorry mate, I didn’t see you–  is a little strange but infinitely cuter when you see the bear on the bike.  Ah, is that SMIDSY?  Don’t hit that guy.  He’s bear on a bike.

Sorry mate, I love bears on bikes. Photo from Stop SMIDSY, stop-smidsy.org.uk

If you’re not one of furry fandom, well nevermind.  What the CTC gets right with the campaign is the placement of attention on reckless driving around vulnerable road users.  They’re lobbying all the legal players– cops, prosecutors and courts– to encourage safer and more considerate road use.  Smart, right?  And they’re compiling data from cyclists and pedestrians to present to the various entities to make the powerful point: it’s usually not cyclists hurting themselves in road collisions. They know that other campaigns and even the Highway Code requires visibility from cyclists.  They know that it isn’t just up to cyclists to protect themselves on the road; there’s other folks out there too.  What they want now is accountability from the other party in those devastating crashes that seem to always want to blame the soft-tissue over the car.  In their FAQs, they write:

The Stop SMIDSY campaign is more concerned with the response of the authorities when crashes and near-misses involving vulnerable roads users actually happen. It aims to address what our society can do to protect our most vulnerable road users, rather than putting the onus on cyclists and pedestrians to protect themselves.

Our society!  All of us.  We can all protect each other on the road.  Neat, huh?

On the Stop SMIDSY site, a rider or pedestrian can report a crash or near-miss and seek legal and practical assistance.  The stats compiled tell a story that is rarely reported in the media, especially after tragic crashes.  Maybe it’s time to take a cue from an elder statesman among cycling clubs?


2 thoughts on “A pro-cyclist campaign by cyclists… go figure.

  1. Simon Kennett

    It’s pretty well known in the road safety profession here in New Zealand that drivers are at fault about 67% of the time when a cyclist/motor vehicle crash is reported. That’s with the police attributing the blame in crash reports. And report after report reads something like ‘Driver failed to see cyclist’. Classic SMIDSY situation.

    If you have a crash while out riding, make sure you report it to police at your local station. Even if there is no hope of tracking down the driver, it is still good data for the roading engineers when they are wondering which areas could do with an improvement in cycle infrastructure.

    If you have a near-miss, you can report it to Community Roadwatch. Not much happens with that data (yet) but your report may result in a letter being sent to the driver (who may be genuinely clueless).

    And, as Megan says, we can all protect each other on the road. For the most part, defensive cycling is incredibly effective. I’ve had nothing more than occasional near-misses to report in my last 24 years of regular road riding. Being seen, being predictable, and being prepared to move out of harms way quickly – these are the keys to self-preservation.

    Unfortunately, changing driver attitudes to cyclists may take a decade or two. Changing cyclists attitudes to safety is much easier – cyclists are fast learners!


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