Motorcycle riders universally outraged at TAC "reconstruction ad campaign
The TAC’s “Reconstruction” ad campaign launched on 26thApril 2012 has riders and rider groups in an uproar, almost unanimously describing the ad as prejudicial and deplorable.
The ad depicts a SMIDSY (‘Sorry, mate, I didn’t see you’) collision with a car which fatally wounds the rider. Despite the motorist failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to indicate and failing to exercise due care, the ad effectively absolves the driver of any fault since the rider is shown to have exceeded the local speed limit by 8 km/h. The ad fails to acknowledge that even if the rider was at legal speeds, a fatal conflict could still have been created. The clear message from the TAC placing the onus on the rider to avoid the collision, fails to communicate to drivers that they have a duty of care and share responsibility for safety on the roads.
Riders are clearly fed up with the continual “Blame the rider” rhetoric.
The supporting material for the ad on the TAC Spokes website effectively states that a driver can’t be held liable for not giving way to an object they can’t see. Rider groups are justifiably alarmed that this "get out of jail free" card appears to give the green light for drivers to disregard the safety of a legitimate and vulnerable road user group, raising the questions how could the TAC authorise such a vilifying ad?
VMC Chairman Peter Baulch said, “ Continually reminding ALL road users of the need for vigilance is to be applauded, but for the TAC to deliberately distort facts, physics and data to produce such an Ad and then have their own Spokes website effectively absolve the car driver of any blame, is deplorable. Using Accident Reconstruction to get a message across requires credible re-enactment. When the credibility is missing, the message is lost completely”.
Australian Motorcycle Council Chairman Shaun Lennard commented, “I thought progress was being made in Victoria. This ad is misleading, and would be grossly offensive to the family of anyone seriously injured in a ‘fail-to-give-way’ crash. These same images could be used to produce an ad aimed at other road users - ‘You fail to see a motorcyclist; you could go to gaol…’ “
Mr Lennard also chairs the Federal Motorcycle Safety Consultative Committee. “I am also stunned and disappointed that this campaign was planned and developed with no input from Victoria’s Motorcycle Advisory Group. This flies in the face of key recommendations from the OECD’s Motorcycling Safety Workshop of 2008. Four years ago it was agreed that it was time to end the blame game… hello??”
VMC Research Analyst - Rob Salvatore said, “The ad is a dramatic and offensive work of fiction. Despite it invoking physics for an air of legitimacy, the depiction and the numbers simply don’t stack up. The ad disingenuously shows the rider failing to perform basic learner level skills thus involving himself in a fatal collision, while in the next scene capably displays the minimum skills thus avoiding the collision.”
Rider groups do not condone speeding, however expert motorcycling references demonstrate that the depicted scenario was readily avoidable. The ad is therefore seen to be reinforcing an anti-motorcycling sentiment which "represents a perplexing U-turn from the most recent TAC campaign featuring Watch out for Motorcyclists" Peter Baulch said.
The TAC media release references statistics without context and states that accepted claims have increased by 50% since 2003, despite the TAC’s own figures showing that serious injuries haven’t significantly changed despite an explosion in motorcycle participation. The media release also fails to acknowledge a real terms reduction in motorcycle fatality rate, the consistently lowest nationally.
Rider groups call upon the TAC to reign in its anti-motorcycling rhetoric, steer away from the negative sensationalism and work with riders as a genuine part of the transport policy mix for genuine safety outcomes.
For more information:
Peter Baulch Chairman – Victorian Motorcycle Council 0428 246 175
Rob Salvatore Victorian Motorcycle Council 0409 416 230
Shaun Lennard Chairman – Australian Motorcycle Council 0417 396 835
Damian Codognotto Independent Riders Group 0419 846 855
Stephen Bardsley Vic Scooter Riders Association 0409 848 428