The new THINK! motorcycle safety campaign encouraging drivers in an urban environment to "THINK! Take longer to look for bikes", through TV and radio ads was launched on 30 January 2006. At the same time, riders will be reminded how to make sure that they are seen via an outdoor poster campaign.
The first element of the new activity is a 30 second TV advert encouraging urban car drivers to look longer for bikes.
"How close" shows a typical accident at a T-junction. The car driver, coming from a side road, casts a quick glance to the right before pulling out and turning right onto the main road.
Suddenly, a motorbike travelling along the main road crashes into the side of the car, leaving the motorist confused and shocked. 'How close does a biker have to be before you see them?' asks a calm voice.
The scenario is replayed, this time with the car driver looking for longer - first right, left and then right again - while the bike passes harmlessly in front of the car. The end line reads: "THINK! Take longer to look for bikes".
Take longer to look for bikes (.mpg - 3,255kb)
The radio advert backs up the TV message and acts as an in-car reminder. There is a strong link between the two elements of the campaign.
"Don't take it in" focuses on common scenarios when people look but don't see. The advert reveals that every year an estimated 1500 motorcyclists are killed or seriously injured because drivers look but don't see.
Don't take it in (.mp3 - 469kb)
The third element is a six-sheet poster campaign using sites adjacent to petrol stations. The posters remind urban bikers to make sure they are seen.
This new campaign compliments a third year of THINK! sponsorship of the British Superbike Championship, which commences in March 2006 and targets leisure riders.
The first three-year review of the Government's casualty reduction targets (in 2003) confirmed that motorcyclists continue to be disproportionately represented in casualty statistics.
In fact, at that time biker casualty figures were the only ones going in the wrong direction.
Despite a welcome drop in casualties in 2004 (compared to 2003) bikers - who represent just 1% of road users - still accounted for 17% of fatalities.
With 585 bikers killed and 6,063 seriously injured in 2004, there is no room for complacency - and bringing the figures down is a top priority for THINK!
In 2003, 73% of all crashes involving a two-wheeled motor vehicle also involved a car.
The DfT report, In-Depth Study of Motorcycle Accidents (Adobe Acrobat), concluded that the most common cause of motorcycle crashes is a 'right of way violation'. The majority of these incidents occur at T-junctions and it is usually the motorist - rather than the biker - who is at fault.
In around 65% of these 'right of way' incidents, a driver somehow fails to see a motorcyclist who should be in clear view - a biker who is often is spotted by witnesses and other road users who are present at the time.
This figure of 65% does not include incidents where drivers fail to take a restricted view into account, or fail to judge the speed and/or distance of an approaching biker.
The THINK! team worked closely with key motorcycling stakeholders - including the Motorcycle Industry Association, the British Motorcyclists' Federation and the Motorcycle Action Group - to develop the new campaign.
Feedback from these stakeholders suggests that encouraging riders and drivers to 'look out for each other' reinforces the blame culture that exists between the two groups.
To overcome this, the new THINK! campaign targets drivers and riders separately with specific safety messages - to prevent either side opting out of the message. The new ad also contains a clear call to action to try and bring about behavioural change.