Karmarama has said that a RideSmart campaign which included roadsign limericks about the deaths of fictional cyclists was created by one individual, and had not been sanctioned by the agency or any of its clients.
The campaign also included this paragraph on the RideSmart website: “Every year in this country there are around 19,000 reported cycling accidents on our roads, and on average 3,000 cyclists who are killed or seriously injured. Cyclists riding like stupid twats cause a percentage of these accidents so lots of accidents, injuries and deaths could therefore be avoided.”
Christopher Peck, policy coordinator for national cycling charity CTC, told The Drum: “This appalling campaign trivialises cyclists’ deaths and seeks to pin the blame on the victims, rather than the perpetrators of road crime. We know that for adult cyclists the majority of deaths are blamed on motor vehicle operators, not cyclists.”
Karmarama apologised for the ‘well-intended but misjudged’ campaign, saying that the individual involved has apologised to cyclists and staff members.
A spokesperson told The Drum that HR will not allow any comment to be made on whether the individual will be dismissed by the company, or if it has been settled by the apology.
The roadsigns have now been removed, and an apology placed on the RideSmart website.
UPDATED: Leigh Marshall, founder and editor at Filles a Velo and editor at Women's Cycle Sport Scotland, told The Drum: "I think that the Ride Smart 'campaign' was extremely misguided and very ill thought out. There doesn't appear to have been any research into cycling accident statistics. It wasn't evidence based, merely one individual's opinion.
"The 'campaign' apportions blame for cycling accidents on the cyclists and their behaviour. However if you look at the statistics, you see that most incidents are due to the cyclist being hit by a vehicle from behind. A very small percentage of accidents occur due to inappropriate behaviour from cyclists (red light jumping etc).
"Increasing awareness of safety for all roads users is no bad thing but, I believe we should be undertaking this in a balanced, more evidence based (statistical) way. The Ride Smart 'campaign' served little more than to stir up hatred for cyclists. It was written in an aggressive and immature tone, offering very little credibility."