'Think once, think twice, think bikes’: this is what the AA’s new awareness campaign is urging its members to do before they make manoeuvres in their vehicles that could be hazardous to cyclists and motorcyclists.
The AA will distribute stickers to its 15 million members for them to attach to their wing mirrors as a reminder to keep an eye out for cyclists and motorcyclists. This is a welcome alternative to the approach used by Transport for London with their ‘cyclists stay back’ stickers  on the ends of buses, vans and taxis.
Half of the stickers show a cyclist inside a warning triangle and should be put on the left hand-side wing mirror to remind drivers to look out for cyclists as they make left turns. The other half of the stickers show a motorcyclist and should be put on the right hand-side to warn drivers to be vigilant for motorcycles when pulling out of their lane to overtake.
The AA is also urging drivers to give cyclists enough space when overtaking and to check their mirrors when parking and opening a car door.
The AA has conducted road tests which show motorists’ vision is not affected by the stickers, although no independent tests have been carried out.
Whether or not these stickers work, what matters most is that the AA is pressing home the message to drivers to 'think bike'. This is extremely valuable coming from a motoring organisation.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director
The AA’s chief executive, Chris Jansen, who cycles and competes in triathlons, reiterated a call made by AA president Edmund King in 2012 in which he said that cyclists and motorists should not be seen as two different tribes, when they are in fact often the same person depending on which mode of transport they choose to use at any time.
Mr Jansen added that “it is not a one-way street, it is not all about the motorist looking out for cyclists. The cyclists have to obey the Highway Code, not go through red lights and recognise when they have been well looked after on Britain’s roads by motorists."
CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Director, Roger Geffen, commented:
"Let's not overstate the risks arising from bad cycling, however, but focus on the need for all road users to respect each other and follow the rules of the road. CTC absolutely agrees that this is the right approach, but this doesn’t mean cyclists should be doffing their caps to drivers when drivers behave responsibly - responsible behaviour should be the norm."
CTC's awareness campaigns briefing
The campaign is launched on the day CTC publishes its policy briefing on cycle awareness campaigns for drivers, which can be downloaded from the link at the bottom of this page. The briefing states that to be effective, driver awareness campaigns need to convey positive, memorable and truthful messages, and avoid giving the misleading impression that problem behaviour from cyclists causes anything like as much harm as problem behaviour for cyclists.
The briefing also outlines how experience shows that awareness campaigns work best when supported by related enforcement activity. Campaigns such as the Government's long-term campaign to tackle drink-driving strengthen public support for enforcement activity, while the related enforcement activity re-enforces the impact of the campaign by punishing irresponsible drivers who ignore the message.