It's hard to fault the nugget of logic that underpins Brake's new road awareness campaign, which calls for drivers to stick to 20mph in built-up areas to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. That's common sense.
What I do disagree with, however, is the campaign's overly simplistic notion that drivers are bad and other road users are all good. As some of you touched upon in your responses to James Ruppert's blog about cyclists last week, things in life are never quite as clear cut as Brake's campaign is suggesting.
My experience is this: just as there are car drivers who show poor road awareness, similarly there are cyclists and pedestrians who display a maddening lack of sense on our highways and byways.
On my daily commute near Kingston, it baffles me how many walkers insist on crossing busy roads within 50 metres of pedestrian crossings. At rush hour, those pedestrians often find themselves stranded between lanes of traffic as they wait for a break in the oncoming cars.
On the other hand, perhaps they are wary of using the official traffic-light-controlled crossings, because some cyclists seem to brazenly disregard red lights as if they only apply to drivers and walkers.
Another Autocar staff member tells me his wife – an experienced daily commuter on a bicycle – regards random pedestrians as more of a hazard on her journey than car drivers.
Of course, motorists are the ones with the heavy, fast objects at their disposal, and the number of road users injured by dangerous driving each year outweighs the few incidents of injuries caused by random cyclists.
Nevertheless, I would find more worth in Brake's campaign if it used the same platform to acknowledge the need for cyclists and pedestrians to adopt the same level of awareness as it is asking of drivers. In distilling its campaign to a overly simplistic slogan, I fear Brake risks alienating and patronising the people whom it is trying to target.
Brake has chosen to convey its message via the medium of billboards across London, using a series of posters that the charity describes as "head-turning".
With most billboard sites in the capital situated close to major thoroughfares, I would have thought the last thing the charity wants to do is turn the heads of road users and distract them from operating the car, bicycle or shoes they're using as a mode of transport.