I have just watched the latest in a long series of gut-wrenching realistic Motorcycle v Car crunch ads (public service announcement type). One of those designed to remind us that cage drivers are blind. Well, these ads are ostensibly to encourage car drivers to look, but are inevitably more effective as scaremongering that dissuades biking. And why? I reckon the abolition of cars would make the roads safer, and reduce oil consumption, give us more space for trams, buses, trains, and – good thing – footpaths, so though we might still do the group transport thing, you also get more room to jump out of the way of the occasional hoon gunning a ride on one wheel from the lights… Ok Ok, I no longer need to do 100 metres in 6 seconds most days (nor can I) – but less cars would mean we could go with less tarmac dedicated to the auto industry, air-base bomber runways, and high street showrooms (though we do love the jackets used-car-salesmen wear, eh).
Travelling at 180 kpm down the Eastern freeway may have been unwise, but I was made fully aware of this when I stopped at the traffic light at the end of said freeway and the police helicopter overhead was soon followed up by two ‘divvy’ vans careening out of control (it was 6AM, gimme a break, there was no danger, except for the bugs that splat into my face at velocity). This was in the mid198Os, so the fines then were not so harsh, and I got to keep my license. By then we already knew that ‘bikes were bad’ – and these ads have been drumming the point home, ever since, in a way that is just nasty. I do not need to be told bikes are dangerous and that cage-drivers are either dreaming, on the phone, or dimwits – that is a default position, also known as learning to ride. The makers of such public announcement molly-coddle tripe leave me wondering about the coherence of anyone who pics up a camera to do something ‘worthy’ – I mean if any of my students have had to work on such ‘film-making’ because they have not yet got the big break and directed their own feature, I will get them a t-shirt right away (which says ‘I wanna direct’, and then stand them in Soho and wait for the break to run them down – brrmm brmmm).
Moral despair and the protocols of profit make these ads the most dubious, painful and hypocritical (war on terror, war on terror) scenes on tv. Aside from that Top Gear Gas Guzzler geezer that everyone hates so much now, and the news, buy Blair a croquet set.
The pic is the cover of “Outlaw Biker” Magazine. It is no rival to Easyriders (thank Zed – “Zed’s dead”), but the soft porn under guise of tattoo clubs in both does sting a bit. I suppose we can like the fact that they have an article on ‘why nazis are lousy lovers’… another one of those public service announcements. I guess.