My wife saw a Metre Matters panel in a bus stop today in Norton St, must be part of the AGF campaign.
Take a photo of one and you can win a prize, might as well have a go

See they have merchandise for sale too if groups want to buy some A Metre Matters material, on the safe communities website.

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No. Sorry, you need to re-read your numbers and understand the issues more fully, and control for changes in cycling numbers. Those kind of raw figures are extremely unhelpful in assessing the actual risk faced per cyclist (which is the number that matters; absolute injury stats are meaningless), although I appreciate it takes a lot of diligent reading to come to a complete assessment that few have the time to do.

You might also consider the relative aspect too; cycling is about as dangerous as netball in terms of hospitalisations per hour undertaken, yet somehow the Australian Netball Association don't seem to have a bee in their bonnet about how dangerous netball is...

Remind me how many netballers have been killed in the last year by dangerous machines they share their courts with?

Well, not many, but that's because they all wear helmets.

Oh, wait...

No, nor are they required to wear seatbelts. But they do have safety requirements (such as short or taped up nails, no dangerous jewellery, wearing of appropriate footwear etc) along with a raft of rules to make sure the game is played fairly and safely. Furthermore, there are two referees for each game of 14 players to make sure they get along nicely. Imagine if that was our situation: seven bike riders and seven cars sharing the same piece of tarmac, and having two cops to make sure the rules are observed. Utopia, or nanny state?

No need for a "there needs to be enough room for a player to move between the hands of the thrower and receiver" posters around netball courts.

In other words, it's a pretty silly analogy.

Besides, netball is a silly and sexist sport.

They took basketball and made it for women. None of that unseemly running from end to end of the court. Hard to do in a long skirt, might excite the passions and all.

Not to mention how they now wear lycra... I don't recall seeing any calls for netball to de-lycra-fy itself how and there should be more people who just walk around netball courts in their normal clothes. I mean people can pass a ball to one another for fun or to get to the local shops, and it's not all about shooting it through a hoop for sport.

No, it's a very pertinent analogy, but the point of it seems to have passed you by,

Your risks of being hospitalised playing netball for an hour is about the same as riding a bike for an hour.

There are two things you can take from this:

1) Netball is rather dangerous, and should therefore be subject to more safety rules, and ad campaigns should be run to highlight the dangers of the sport


2) Riding a bike actually isn't that dangerous, and ad campaigns that relentlessly talk up the risks and paint cyclist as a very risky activity are unjustified and counter-productive.

I brought it up because AdsForBikes was using the raw hospitalisation statistics for cycling to justify their shock-horror-risk-of-death ad campaigns. You could look at the stats for pretty much any sports activity and come to the same conclusion. Sea fishing, for example, has a much higher fatality rate than cycling - why are we not getting our knickers in a twist about that, and mandating life-jackets for fishermen and running ads with drowned anglers?

You might like to remind yourself about The Whisperers...

Sure, but you need to consider the nature of the injuries.

I'd expect netball is mostly about knackered ankles (due again to it being a silly modification of basketball, so that you're required to stop in one step)

What's the annual fatality rate for netball? How many wind up crippled, losing limbs or brain damaged?

How about cheerleaders then (I know, I know... it's in the USA)?

(Warning: NSFW)

"raw hospitalisation statistics"

See there's the problem, refer to MO's comment below (or above, or wherever it is). Looking at "raw" data without drilling down to identify what is driving it is a "dangerous" (not in terms of health and safety) thing to do.

I completely agree with your other points, and don't think that Australia's most dangerous past times (e.g. fishing - in terms of absolute number of deaths, horse riding in terms of insurance claims) are free from safety requirements, have safety campaigns, or even had legislation considered to make them "safer". Fishing for example, requires a licence (although not for safety reasons) - something cycling on our roads doesn't! Try going to a horse riding school without having to sign your life away with a waiver. Look at all the media in the last year regarding brain injuries in contact sports such as rugby and AFL etc. Professional jockeys have the most dangerous occupation in the country - more of them die or are permanently injured (my preferred definition for "dangerous" - a netball twisted ankle, even if hospitalised, will usually heal without sequelae) than are professional cyclists, for example.

Netball is not "dangerous". It has a high injury rate. Riding a bike on the road isn't in itself dangerous. Getting hit by a car while doing so is. As Mr O' once wrote (and perhaps I paraphrase "it takes a fair bit of effort for a cyclist to put a car driver in hospital".

Ultimately it comes down to two things:

1) can we reasonably do anything to reduce the risk?

2) because nothing is completely risk free, what level of risk are we - both individually and as a society - willing to accept?

It depends whether we're classing cycling as a competitive sport, a recreation pastime or a means of transport as to what we should be comparing it.

My neighbour/friend/cyclist Ingrid (she who developed the rash after riding the M7) had an accident while dancing on Wednesday night and now she can't ride for at least a week (wtf?)

Thanks again for your feedback Dan.

Data is extremely helpful in assessing areas of safety and what communication is required to tackle it. There is no point in creating a communication strategy without the context of what is needed to communicate.

What we're talking about here is a difference in cycling user groups and generational change vs cultural change. We're also talking about many angles to tackle the issues. Cycling is growing, and shock campaigns will not discourage that, more so it will create awareness of the dangers on the road. Non-cyclists are quick to say 'I see the health benefits but don't ride because it is too dangerous.' Sure shock campaigns may discourage further, we agree with you, shock is not the only answer - activation/participation and safety require multi-faceted approaches.

In Australia, we face a learning curve for motorists for cyclist safety of which, aside from ourselves, present the greatest danger to cyclists - data fact! Quick change is needed to alter driver behaviour and mindsets for the safety of cyclists and encourage participation.

The AGF should be commended for putting a campaign out there, however as per the consensus in this post requires a different approach - learning experience!

The AGF AustCycle, CPF initiatives, community activation groups, state bicycle campaigns such as RideToSchool and Work are strong initiatives to encourage cycling. The fact is ADS FOR CYCLISTS initiatives differ.

Please take your time to look through our entire portfolio of campaigns ranging from awareness, education for motorists and cyclists. You will note our campaigns are wide ranging and tackle many issues, in many ways - Distracted driving, hoon/anti-social driving, activation/participation, red lights, wearing lights, driver education near cyclists, dooring, and many, many more.

Take your time to view before you judge based on one or two campaigns you have heard/read or seen -

We're all here to do the same thing, just in different ways.

Thank you, time to move on.


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