Perhaps you’ve seen some of the new billboards around town urging motorists to “See the person, share the road”, like this one on Adelaide Road.
This and other advertising including a radio ad form part of NZTA’s new campaign to raise awareness amongst motorists that cyclists are people too.
According to the NZTA website, “Some motorists feel negatively towards people who cycle on the roads.”. Their goal with this campaign is to “personalise and humanise people cycling so that motorists see them as real people who have a right to share the road safely”.
While many people believe that improved infrastructure is needed to address cycling safely issues, personally I think it’s at least a step in the right direction. NZTA’s investment in the campaign and acknowledgement that people do ride bikes provides visibility that I think we benefit from as cyclists.
Overall I’m pleased with the campaign but I know many people don’t feel the same way. Also sadly I haven’t seen any advertising featuring female cyclists (though apparently there is one with an “auntie”).
I’ve recently changed my commuting habits after moving from a carefree student lifestyle to a 9-to-5 office drone (essentially). I used to like my bike ride from Newtown to the Railway Station (on nice days at least) but now doing the same route during peak travel times I arrive at the railway station stressed out and full of hatred, anger, frustration and loathing for motorists. Surprisingly as easy as it is for motorists to de-humanise cyclists, it seems to be even easier for me to dehumanise them, after all they’re behind glass and I can’t even see their faces!
I’m really hoping this campaign will help the people in cars treat us with a bit more respect. While infrastructure does make a huge difference, it’s being ignored, cut-off, not given way, honked at, jeered at, crowded, pushed into a gutter, having exhaust fumes billowed into my face and generally treated as a sub-human that frustrates me the most. But that is just my opinion and I respect that fact that we all have different ones!