One of an occasional series offering a satirical look at VC propaganda.
There’s something about this long-running campaign by Cycling Scotland that really irritates me.
“Thank you for giving me this much cycle space.” Ugh. Pathetic. “Thank you for not endangering my life.”
The biggest lie is how they pretend that children cycling to school is a normal thing nowadays, and that the cherry on the cake would be if they were given a vague amount of space on the very rare occasions that an automobile is encountered.
Note the holes in the wool they’re trying to pull over your eyes though: The car-sick housing estate the children are on their bikes in at the end, including a car parked on the footway. I expect that normally this street is full of parked cars which would prevent such a textbook overtake, and that the producers of this advert had to ask people to move their cars for the filming. More propaganda.
The 2015 version goes even further, suggesting that cycling is a normal and common way for anyone of any age to get around in Scotland:
To the Dutch this advert probably looks like a normal everyday scene. But anybody in Britain knows that this isn’t based on reality. Perhaps there’s a couple of places that vaguely resemble this, but they’re few and far between.
Doesn’t even do what it says on the rusty old tin
Though for me the oddest thing about this campaign is that it doesn’t even communicate its message clearly. The outstretched arms seems to suggest that drivers should make sure to give an arms’ length gap when overtaking, but we know that’s actually far too close.
No actual passing distance in feet or metres is given, the message “give as least as much space as you would give a car” is open to interpretation. Some drivers would happily overtake another car – or a bin lorry – with only a few inches clearance. They might see this advert and assume their driving is just fine.
So in short, it’s wasted time and wasted money. This sort of thing has been tried again and again for decades, with nothing to show for it as far as I can tell.But unfortunately there’s a whole industry that’s been built up around this kind of crap, whole armies of people whose jobs rely on the continuing failure of their dismal propaganda, so we can expect more of the same.
There’s that saying, usually attributed to Einstein, about how repeating the same thing but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity – but when people’s wages depend on the repetition of failed ideas, perhaps that’s enough of an incentive to be cynically insane.