Cycle awareness campaigns for drivers

Briefing
What Matters Most awareness campaign poster

Cycle awareness campaigns for drivers

Headline Message 
  • Sustained campaigns to improve road users’ behaviour can be beneficial, as long as they are well-designed and targeted. The Government has, for example, tackled drink-driving effectively over the years through an awareness campaign backed up by law enforcement.
  • To be effective, driver awareness campaigns need to convey positive, memorable and truthful messages, and avoid giving the misleading impression that problem behaviour from cyclists causes anything like as much harm as problem behaviour from drivers.
Policy Key Facts 
  • Detailed reporting on drink-drive crashes began in 1979, when there were 1,640 fatalities in drink drive incidents, out of 6,352 road deaths overall. Since then, drink drive deaths have gone down by 85%, compared to an overall drop of 72%. Strong public awareness campaigns contributed to this success.
Cycling UK View 
  • Driver awareness campaigns relating to cycle safety should either convey positive messages about considerate and respectful road sharing by both groups, or, if aimed at addressing problem behaviours, they should deliver simple memorable messages to one group or the other, based on understanding why those behaviours occur.
  • Campaigns purporting to be even-handed by urging both drivers and cyclists not to engage in problem behaviours, create a false equivalence between the offences of the two groups. They are also poorly targeted in terms of actually influencing behaviour.
  • Tackling offending behaviour by cyclists is best done by engaging positively with the cycling community to mobilise peer pressure, e.g. through the cycling press or cycle trainers, rather than by ‘pandering to the gallery’ using simplistic negative stereotypes in public awareness campaigns.
Download the full detailed campaign briefing 
Sustained campaigns to improve road users' behaviour can be beneficial, if well-designed and targeted. To be effective, they need to convey positive, memorable and truthful messages.