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Why are Thames Valley road safety wasting money spreading hoax “bike safety” videos?

One of the more unlikely YouTube videos of 2010 (and let’s face it, there are plenty of them) was a supposed live recording by a German TV news station which featured a “crash proof” motorcycle.

The video explained that the rider had various hazard detection aids on board, linked to his an in-helmet system.

The rider then pulled straight out in front of a truck.

Well, it did the rounds of various motorcycle forums and was detected by all and sundry as a fabrication.

Well, it’s now been revealed that it wasn’t a bunch of bored media course students behind it, but produced by the ST16 production company on behalf of Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership (TVSRP), as part of the Safer Rider campaign.

Says Craig McAlpine of TVSRP:

“Our aim was to produce a video that encouraged people to discuss the attitudes and ability involved when riding a motorcycle and for it to spread virally within the motorcycle community.

“The ‘Crashproof Motorbike’ viral campaign achieved this and the comments we have seen on motorcycle forums demonstrates that the underlying message has been clear,” McAlpine continued. “Encouraging people to look into advanced riding skills is now the key message we would like to push out via the Safer Rider website and of course ultimately reduce the number of casualties.”

The video managed to accumulate over four million hits on YouTube.

I’m not going to post the link, as I think the whole exercise pointless and counter-productive.

Whilst I’m not a huge fan of technology in cars and on bikes, the idea that the video effectively spread any kind of message about attitudes and ability is hard to swallow.

Virtually all the comments I saw (that is, the comments that didn’t instantly dismiss it as a hoax) reacted negatively to the perception that motorcyclists were once again a target for restrictions on the way we ride, this time by the imposition of ‘technological enhancements’ to the machine, something that many riders find deeply disturbing.

That’s far from encouraging an introspective viewpoint.

I’ve got a copy of Thames Valley’s excellent “Bikesafe 2000” video, which I still use to illustrate particular points of my training courses, but the value of this particular production is doubtful in the extreme.

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