SNP’s Nice Way Code made me nasty

The SNP tells me that doctors, lawyers, teachers, bin men and all the other people who are “the cyclists” are misbehaving. It’s made me nastier.

This morning I was not nice… just like everyone else

I won’t tell you what I’ve done, but safe to say it would upset people who are prejudiced against cycling and probably a few people who cycle themselves.

With the Nice Way Code, the Government is telling us (with our own taxes) that cyclists are a dodgy minority out-group who can be expected to misbehave.

The question that plagued my morning commute was this: has the Nice Way Code, ironically, made it easier for people cycling (including me) to bend or break the rules?

On the whole I like to consider myself more or less a model rider, and I’ve always put down attitudes like “cyclists jump red lights!” “don’t pay taxes!” “ride on pavements!” “get off the road!” to the frothing of old Tories desperately trying to be relevant or just the ignoramuses you’ll find in any cross-section of society. The same people who said women didn’t have the capacity to vote, or black people couldn’t sit on the bus, or immigrants had stolen all our jobs.

With cycling deaths in Scotland soaring to a ten year high, it wasn’t too surprising that the SNP wanted to launch some kind of road safety campaign.

What did come as a shock was the discovery that a huge chunk of the active travel budget has been spent on the embarrassing, counter-productive and frankly anti-cycling / anti-pedestrian material that makes up the Nice Way Code.

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 22.19.41

Yes, the Scottish Government has told me either that it too is populated by prejudiced fools and ignoramuses, or that the behaviour of my growing number of fellow cyclists is actually much “worse” than I’d realised. Almost nothing in the Nice Way Code is remotely relevant to me and the dangers I face or pose as a motorist, pedestrian or cycling about town.

Am I ‘disadvantaging’ myself (in the strict sense of the word) by being excessively nice relative to my peers?

People who cycle represent a fairly broad cross-section of society: politicians, finance chiefs, police and emergency services, military, teachers, doctors, bin men, students. Even some immigrants 😉

When the government tells me that these people are all at it, that definitely damages my resolve not to misbehave. After all, I now realise that a substantial proportion of people in my “group” are behaving in a different way to me. I’m an outlier of an out-group, and I can get back to the mainstream with a bit of nastiness.

This isn’t dissimilar to a change I think I’ve noticed when I ride off road.

Sustrans have harped on and on about people racing along these paths to the point where I feel if I want to put on a squirt of extra speed it doesn’t matter, because so many other people are doing the same. What I previously would have considered inconsiderate (but not dangerous) now seems temptingly like “what everyone else does”. Just how fast can I take the speed bumps and chicane gates on the canal?

Am I going crazy, or is this a natural reaction?

Nicewaycode to inspire child abuse campaign?

Rapists and paedophiles don’t like to be singled out. “We need them to listen, so we’ll be targeting the actions of victims as well,” said a fictitious government source.

Children will be told to ‘cover up’ and ‘respect elders’ in ads against paedophilia

“See child, think nun!”, abusers to be told

It’s been an interesting month for families in Scotland as the SNP’s flagship initiative on road safety, the Nice Way Code, has finally hit the streets.

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 22.27.27
credit: kenjonbro

With the number of Scots killed on their bikes soaring to a ten year high, Transport Minister Keith Brown clearly felt the need to take the bull by the horns and has invested almost half a million of Scotland’s slender £20m active travel budget on a hard hitting ad campaign.

Based on official police data suggesting that motorists are responsible for over 70% of serious collisions north of the border, agency Newhaven have produced a road safety campaign that has been hailed as “startling in its originality”, targeting dangerous drivers with exciting reverse-psychology advertising that focuses on criticism of pedestrians and cyclists.

One ad mocks cyclists who have been intimidated into riding on the pavement, while another admonishes those knocked off their bikes not to make any kind of rude gesture, lest they offend the motorists who are casually putting their lives in jeopardy.

Targeted messages directed at the motorists who are doing all the killing and maiming are almost wholly absent, but this is just part of the campaign’s subtle brilliance, organisers claim.

Screen shot 2013-08-21 at 22.19.41

Approach to be mirrored in bold new paedophilia campaign

Sources close to the government failed to deny allegations that the Nice Way Code strategy could be rolled out on other issues such as rape, paedophilia and sectarian violence.

“We‘re not saying all behaviours are equal,” said one fictitious source, who asked not to be named, “but based on our unpublished research, keeping the tone light and having messages for parents, children and paedophiles alike is the only way to get people to consider changing their own behaviour.”

In response to the suggestion that it just isn’t appropriate to criticise victims as well as their perpetrators, let alone with money from very limited victim support budgets, they said: “Rapists and paedophiles are obviously a hugely important part of this, but all of our testing showed if you single them out, they will not listen. We need them to listen, so we’ll be targeting the actions of victims as well.”

Strangely, justice and victim support groups have not rushed to embrace these new campaigns as readily as the CTC, Sustrans, the IAM and AA have moved to stamp their seal of approval on the Nice Way Code.

Perhaps they have more integrity – or just more backbone?