A new Qld TMR motorcycle safety campaign was kicked off last night, titled “Out there” (“Be aware. Take care. Survive”). I didn’t see the TV advert last night but I got calls this morning from very unhappy riders who had seen it. I have since tried to view it but the TMR movie file will not play on any of 5 computers I’ve tried. The campaign will run for the next 4 weeks and I am interested in feedback. The members of the Qld Motorcycle Safety Advisory Group (QMSAG) were given basic info on this campaign which has been in the planning for nearly 12 months or more. TMR planned to air it initially prior to Christmas 2009 but they’ve delayed it a few times. Rider members of QMSAG thought the campaign theme looked okay but we certainly never saw the TV advert. The transcript of the TV advert is available online. The initial feedback on the TV advert has been mixed: while the main [intended] message is apparently clear and in itself understood (and generally accepted as reasonable), the underlying messages taken by rider viewers has struck a raw nerve in some cases ( abit like feedback on the Victorian TAC ads). The scenario depicted is unfortunately one that reinforces the claimed high percentage of motorcycle fatalities blamed on riders. The TV advert apparently shows a motorcyclist being cut off by a car driver (“I-didn’t-see-you”) with the message that the rider must create a better buffer and plan an escape route. The advert may have a narrow focus placing ALL the onus on the rider. Unfortunately in this case, the result can easily be deemed a “single vehicle accident”, putting responsibility entirely on the rider. The message construed to car drivers may be that they can perform illegal or dangerous maneuvers and if they can get away with it, the riders will be blamed (and charged and injured or killed). I think it would be a better approach to simply include a message to other road users (e.g. “look left, look right, look bike”). I wanted to leave this post until I'd seen the advert, but can’t count on seeing it on TV or the TMR web link being fixed. While I agree with the central message on riders doing more for themselves, there are a few other key issues. 1. I understand TMR staff have told at least one caller this morning that the QMSAG approved the TV advert. This in incorrect. We have not seen any TV adverts to give feedback on. Not happy Jan. 2. This seems to be a huge lost opportunity with the other 95% of road users who also view the TV advert - about their responsibility to look out for bikes. It would have cost little extra to have inserted something on the onus of drivers. Sure we riders have responsibilities, but maybe the message to the other 95% of viewers reinforces that the bike rider has the problem (not them). The stigma is attached to motorcycling, again. Maybe this an underlying intent? The focus in the TMR advert then is apparently in stark contrast to adverts like the recently aired "A Metre Matters" (by the Amy Gillett Foundation) - designed to raise awareness of cyclists in the minds of drivers. Their campaign has an underlying theme of "shared use" of the roads and responsibilities on drivers to look and leave a buffer; and they've received very positive feedback on their campaign. I like the offending driver being hauled off by the police > The issue then seems to be not what is said in the TMR advert, but what is NOT said. In response to punitive themes, rider members of the QMSAG (and its predecessor) have supported "shared road use" and "shared responsibility". Motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists are all vulnerable road users, but the focus needs to be balanced. How about a similar advert that compliments the current TMR advert: on placement of driver's wing mirrors and looking out for bikes? With no shared-road-use message or consequences for the driver, I expect many riders to be upset with the TV advert (but maybe I'll be found wrong?). On the strength of the initial feedback I’ve received, I am guessing the lack of balance in this TV campaign will result in mostly negative feedback from riders and the possibly a lost message. It even has the potential to be as negative as the previous failed Qld “tombstone” campaign. TMR needs to build bridges with the riding community if there is to be 2-way communication and if there is to be any hope of opening riders’ minds to taking more personal responsibility. Getting riders’ annoyed, even angry, most probably destroys the foundations that many are trying to build. I look forward to reviewing the advert myself and hope the entire campaign is better than I have heard this morning. So if you’ve seen the advert, do you think it assists in changing riders’ attitudes? Positive change? What was the message?