Wednesday 22 August 2012

#sharetheroad vs Drive a car and insure it with us

A end-of-career sports pundit joins up with a car insurance company trying to get some press coverage by pushing for a "share the road" campaign -one that by saying "compulsory training" means "compulsory licensing"

Yeah -and compulsory training and licensing means that every cyclist killed by an HGV this year was killed by an illegally unlicensed HGV driver? Does it mean that cyclist awareness of the left hook dangers will stop lorries of death -like the terrifying one Gaz just filmed- killing them?


It's not like its the cyclists who have problems with "sharing the roads", its the fuckwits who complain about cyclists "being there", it's the drivers who cut in fast after passing a bicycle to make it clear they are unwelcome, to "teach cyclists a lesson", it's the idiots who spout cyclist hate on twitter.

Bikeradar are backing off, Garry Lineker blaming it on "extremists".

As for the insurance company -what's their story? Twofold

1. It gets an insurance company nobody has ever heard of publicity, possibly in the national press and cycling press -a potentially new market for them.

2. It tries to portray them as cyclist friendly.

The latter is possibly a sign of changing demographics -a fundamental threat to "Imperial Car"

The fat surburbanites who own two cars and still drive everywere are still the bread and buttter of the car companies -and the insurers - but once the current batch die of heart attacks, where will the rest come from?

Because the kids are cycling, not driving.

That's the best part of that mad "Cycle Danger" letter:
What makes it worse is that both children are now begging us for bicycles for Christmas.
The people who complain about cyclists may write into the piss-poor local papers to get their whine out the way. But the kids, the kids want bicycles.

Which must fuck up youth-centric can insurance companies no end. If the educated, the new workforce of society prefer bikes to cars, anyone whose money depends on getting them in cars at the age of 18 are fucked.

All they have left as customers are fiesta and corsa-driving Chavs from the chav-towns of Yate, Swindon and the like -and car insurers do not want to touch 18 year old fiesta drivers from those places.

Sitting in some meeting room with posters showing happy people driving on empty roads, the insurance sales team must have stared at power-point presentations showing that not only was their market base dropping with population decline and falling incomes, but those people who had money and were considered low risk to insurers weren't buying cars.

That graph must have scared them -"percentage of under 25s who do not own a car". Silence. Then someone in the room must have said "if they are cycling -why don't we try and become a cycle-friendly insurer?"

Hence the happy friendly "Share the road" bollocks. Press coverage, warm fuzzy cyclist feelings, no actual outlay by anyone at all.

Gary Lineker is just the lightning rod here -some investor/stockholder in the company who could be relied on face up the campaign and use his 1M twitter followers as people to advertise to.

Now he's blaming "extremists". We are not the extremists. We are the people who want it to be safe for children to cycle to school. Is that so extreme?


  1. You are dead right about the younger generation not wanting to drive.

    My eldest Granddaughter simply did not want to learn to drive even though I gave her all the money for all her lessons on her 18th. But, she really had to learn because of work. Too far to cycle and her shifts finished at 11pm where she works in the middle of the New Forest. She finally gave in, learnt and passed her test. Now she literally only drives to work and back. All other journeys are done on the bike.

    My Nephew, now 20 yrs old, is still refusing to learn to drive. He just doesn't want to know.

    The younger generation just don't see driving as fun.

  2. You have encapsulated my thoughts on #ShareTheRoad. But I actually think cyclists may have a potential ally in a tech-savvy motor insurance company. Ingenie doesn't want its boy racer customers to kill cyclists: that would mean expensive claims. so we have something in common.

    Their black boxes can be used to penalise or reward drivers based on their behaviour. Tweaking the algorithms used to weight premiums can thus modify driver behaviour. For example, one could make speeding in a 20 or 30 mph limit a very costly misdemeanor.

    Secondly, I'd hope that an insurer called Ingenie continuously innovates. There are numerous more things a technological insurer could do to distinguish potential killers and reward the careful. It won't be long until the majority of vehicle movements are captured on video in some form or other. A vast amount of information for insurers. If drivers accept big brother boxes in their cars, maybe they'd sign up for external monitoring too. Helmetcam videos on YouTube might be the first form of a spy-on-the-road. Challenge is distilling hours of footage to reliable metrics like: "there is a high chance that car LD14XYX will be the subject of a claim".

  3. Check out the stats on the drop in the number of driving tests being undertaken year on year, offset slightly by the increase in uninsured drivers (why no mention of that #sharetheroaduk?) but the trend is clear. FWIW I'm not sure that your analysis is right, it's not that the kids want bikes (they always did) it's that the kids can't afford to drive. The likes of Ingenie are working at the margin: even though they might be able to offer slightly cheaper insurance to youth, the cost of insurance is just one factor in forcing kids off the road. Long may it continue.