The Nice Way Code

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain is disappointed by the Scottish Government's latest safety campaign, the ‘Nice Way Code’Research shows that the most effective means to reduce road deaths are changes to the road environment and lower speeds. Education campaigns, especially where not backed up by visible enforcement, do very little.

Spending nearly £500,000 asking drivers, cyclists and pedestrians all to be nicer to one another offers poor value for money on its own. Coming on top of the Scottish government’s last education campaign ‘Give me Cycle Space’, which did little to reassure parents that their children would be safe on Scotland’s roads, this “words rather than actions” approach demonstrates the government’s lack of commitment to saving the lives of cyclists and other vulnerable road users. It is particularly urgent in light of five years of rising cycling deaths, with nine Scottish cyclists already killed in 2013; the same total as the whole of 2012 with five months of the year still to go. In 2009 the total was just four. 

Sally Hinchcliffe, Embassy Secretary and one of the organisers of Pedal On Parliament, commented 

While we don’t disagree that behaviour needs to improve between road users, simply asking us all to be nice to one another without backing it up with real changes and enforcement is a waste of taxpayers’ money. Most drivers don’t set out to harm anyone, whether they’re cyclists or not. It’s the way our roads are designed and policed that put drivers and people on bikes into conflict. We’d rather see that money spent on cutting speeds, or improving known accident black spots. It’s a drop in the ocean, but it would be a start.

Mark Treasure, Embassy Chair added,

It's difficult to see what a campaign like the Nice Way Code is going to achieve. Real safety for vulnerable road users comes from better road designs that reduce the potential for harm, and from stricter enforcement of the existing Highway Code. Merely asking for nice behaviour will do little to reduce the objective and subjective danger faced by those riding bikes in Scotland. Instead of focusing on the problem - the actual causes of death and serious injury - The Nice Way Code campaign has chosen to employ the language of 'mutual respect', implying that bad behaviour by a minority of people who ride bikes impinges on the way cyclists as a whole are treated.

It has also emerged that the funding for the Nice Way Code campaign is being taken from the Scottish Government's Sustainable Transport budget.