The Kia Soul apparently comes with a feature that will harass motorcyclists… 

The Kia Soul has lane assist, a feature it advertises in this ill-conceived, potentially lethally inciteful ad that tries to show cars rule above all

Kia Soul Stupid Advert.png

UPDATE: The advertisement has been removed from Kia's official channels but can be found elsewhere on YouTube

Earlier in the week we ran an article surrounding the furore generated by an Italian oral hygiene company that implied its dental floss was so strong you could tie it around two trees in order to ‘clothes line’ oncoming motorcyclists…

It’s sinister rather than slapstick, it pokes fun at a genuine and potentially fatal issue and at worst is frankly inciteful for those dumb enough to copy what they see on television (there are plenty and it only takes one…). The Italian Motorcycle Federation threatened legal action, the ad has disappeared from the internet and lessons will no doubt be learned.

And yet, just days later, a United States-targeted advert - highlighted by RideApart - has again used motorcyclists as the prop to pedal its wares… and this time it’s from a company that really should know better. Time to name and shame… Kia.

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Now, car drivers and motorcyclists can often be viewed as having the Tom and Jerry dynamic of always being at loggerheads, but we occupy the same space and share a mentality that boils down to the fact neither wants to see the other harmed.

So it is a shame Kia - as a car company that should know its green cross code inside out - is perpetuating this image with its latest ad for the Soul.

It comes equipped with Lane Assist (itself not a new innovation) designed to alert drivers for when they are veering into another lane and really is isn’t even a bit of anti-biker tech as anyone unfortunate enough to come up alongside a driver erring to the side as they commit highway hypnosis or, worse, have nodded off at the wheel.

However, instead of it showing a driver correcting his mistake and returning to where he should be, Kia has spun this around to put the onus on the biker.

In the ad [which we have embedded below] we see a man driving his Kia - far too fast in what looks like an underground car park, just saying - before a motorcyclist pulls up alongside. We surmise they are supposed to be the ‘baddie’ of the piece looking like the latest faceless person to tackle/get killed by John Wick in all black, revving their motor and giving the side-eye. 

Personally, I prefer the narrative that the biker is in fact the car park attendant forced to go off in pursuit of said driver because, well, he’s driving too fast in a car park. But anyway...

The biker’s presence distracts Mr Soul man enough to ease him out of his lane, prompting the car to beep and inform him of such. This gives the driver confidence to swerve back into his lane, reeling off the quip ‘this lane is taken’, which is pointless because no-one but him would hear it. This is just as well because it’s lame and should be filed under ‘it sounded better in my head’.

Point is, because the driver is picking on something smaller than his 1800kg lump of metal, the motorcyclist is forced to pull on the brakes and skid out of the way, an occurrence that may be all too familiar to some of you out there.

Just to point out it has 1.2k thumbs down clicks and just 12 - yes 12! - thumbs up. Have you ever seen a more poorly received video?!

Now, we know people make mistakes and driving a car can be an assault on the senses when you’re surrounded by cars, bicycles, pedestrians and motorcyclists, but Kia appears to be amplifying the ill-advised notion that the car is king and has right of way.

Perhaps worse is it highlights the concerns over pre-dialled tech that makes a driver trust the robot in their car more than their own eyes, which is a worrying precedent for the onset of autonomous driving that leaves us motorcyclists not just second-guessing a human but also a computer brain that isn’t programmed for compassion or instinct.

Either way, this advert isn’t necessary and there are myriad ways to highlight such a feature without suggesting you can muscle motorcyclists out of the way because you have four wheels on your wagon. We all deserve our own piece of road, and we certainly deserve to not feel like someone - or something - has it in for us.

The Kia Soul doesn’t sell in large numbers over here in the UK so don’t expect to see this on British screens anyway, but the fact it made it through several regulation bodies to be viewed by the general populous is dumbfounding.

After all, back in the 90s an ad for the Fiat Seicento - showing a field of driver-less cars unrealistically playing football with its doors - was banned because it supposedly encouraged people to imitate it. And that was 25 years ago. 

Besides, I thought this was the era of political correctness. I don’t understand life sometimes.