Wednesday 29 January 2014

What are @ASA_UK going to do now?

Most adjudications by the ASA trickle out to little or no notice; relevant only to the complainant, the advertiser and their competitors.

The "cyclist riding 50cm away from kerb" judgement is a different story.

The ASA have taken it upon themselves to override a (regional) government safety organisation and define for themselves what constitutes safe cycling.

This is not some "postage fees on free offer not disclosed" judgement: it has placed the ASA directly into the argument about whether and how people should cycle round a city -and so, into the argument about what our cities should look like.

Will it be a Dutch/Danish city, where children can cycle to school safely, where congestion is low, pollution reduced, and deaths by car reduced?

Or will it be the worst parts of -say- London, amplified: speeding cars sounding their horn at cyclists "in the way", police pulling over cyclists for not having helmets or hi-viz -and all the while, pedestrian deaths from RTCs increasing, ignored by society.

The ASA must be discovering what they've done today.

Emails will be spinning round, saying "what to do?"

Which is a good question. What can they do?

  1. Immediate U-turn. Fixes the problem, but looks embarrassing.
  2. Stand by the decision. Either they believe it, or they don't want to lose face.
  3. Review the decision. Quietens down the argument. They then have two options in future: reverse it or repeat it. Either way, maybe they will hope the anger will have died down.
  4. Await an appeal -possibly with some discreet hints they'd be welcome. The appeal would have to come from Cycling Scotland itself.
If they don't announce action #1 today, what can the cycling campaigners do?

Provoke the ASA into reversing their decision or repeating it -with every repetition having them dig deeper and deeper into the hole they have already started to dig.

And how to do this? 

By complaining ourselves about road safety campaigns by TfL, DfT that show anyone on a bicycle more than 50 cm away from the kerb. 

Ignore helmets, ignore hi-viz: complaining there may just make things worse. But positioning on the road -something with Highway Code guidelines? That is something to highlight and repeat, so every time they repeat their bollocks, they get more bad press.

Then see what they do

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