This article was published in 2008, in Newsletter 80.
You can now watch the DVD of ‘Do it by Cycle’ online.
Do it by Cycle is the title of a 60-minute DVD produced in partnership between Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Road Safety Partnership, Cambridgeshire County Council Road Safety Team, North Yorkshire County Council, City of York Council and Stockton Borough Council.
Although aimed at a school-age audience, it should be readily watchable by an older age group. The ‘Blue Peter’ style presenters introduce each of the dozen sections ranging from ‘Choosing a bike’ through ‘Helmets & Clothing’ and right up to ‘Advanced Cycling’.
The sections are accessed through a DVD menu and go into depth on each topic. For instance, the section on security explains the different types of lock, what to look for when buying a lock and how to lock the bike securely to an object.
What I appreciated most about on the DVD is the sequences of cyclists on the road in traffic. They’ve done a thorough job of covering the common situations that cyclists find themselves having to contend with day to day. These include:
- vehicles turning left across you into a side road
- right-turning vehicles going through a traffic queue
- car doors swinging open as you pass
- why not to weave in and out between parked cars
- avoiding cycling in the gutter and
- pedestrians stepping into the road.
There are repeated images of good practice, such as road positioning as you approach roundabouts. The sequences show how to get into those positions by looking in advance and signalling. All that is sound advice and surely comes from the everyday cyclists and cycling trainers who were consulted on this project. The presenters add that ‘most bike safety is a matter of what you pick up along the way in the real world’.
The amount of material covered by this DVD is impressive, and they’ve done a thorough job of taking the viewer through the seemingly daunting long lists of checks, and things to learn and know before you’re safe to be on the road. To do this in a video format is no mean feat and I think they’ve done a really good job. Yes, it is a little bit prescriptive in places, but I don’t think it is ever ‘heavy’. It is great to see real images of cyclists on the road riding in traffic, and I’m told these were filmed live with no special measures to alert other road users as to what was going on.
Producing an informative video is a real challenge of striking a balance between communicating safety messages, conveying a realistic image of what it is like to cycle in the real world and at the same time trying to encourage more people to think that cycling is a realistic option. I think they got it about right, but I would have liked to see some images of ordinary cyclists not wearing extraordinary clothing to legitimise their presence in the world. It would also be good to see a succinct five- or ten-minute version on youTube or for sending to mobile phones.
Copies of the DVD can be obtained from Cambridgeshire County Council Road Safety team by calling 01480 375105. The charge is £5.00 + £1.00 post and packing.