From Bike Portland:
On the topic of safety, Rohl had a particularly memorable insight. Of course it’s important, he said, but it’s even more important to not put too much focus on it. If you tell someone to think of an elephant, he said, they’ll think of an elephant. His point was that if advocates and planners are always talking about safety (which the U.S. is very guilty of) than people especially the ones advocates are trying to attract will assume it’s a dangerous activity.
We’ve brought this up in prior articles as it relates to the constant public message that cyclists must always wear a helmet.
Last month Copenhagenize noted the Dutch Bicycle Council’s collection of positive cycling promotions. Those photos certainly make cycling look safe, accessible, convenient and fun. There’s no lycra and almost no helmets.
Contrast that with the Ride of Silence events that mourn cyclists killed or injured while biking — putting the focus on how unsafe cycling can be.
Does this message encourage more people to ride a bicycle?
Does this message make it more or less likely that parents will let their kids bike to school?
Certainly there’s a time and place to remember our fellow cyclists who’ve been injured or worst. No one is opposed to that.
And that remembrance certainly could be part of an annual (and very positive) blessing of the bikes event. That could encourage more bicycling.
For that we say, “Amen.”
[In the next revision of m-bike, we will be looking at how we portray cycling safety to the non-cycling public despite that not being our target audience.]