Think Bike poster was edited ‘to get message across’

The bike’s so hard to see, you’d think the image had been manipulated. And it was

A GOVERNMENT road safety poster purporting to show how difficult motorcycles are to see was manipulated for effect, and the original image is being withheld.  

The poster shows a motorcycle that many viewers find difficult to make out from a tangle of tree branches behind it, with a lack of contrast between the two.

It has been posted on the Government’s Think Biker Facebook page, prompting calls for compulsory high-visibility clothing and even suggestions that drivers may not be to blame for failing to spot us. 

Now it’s emerged those calls are based on an image which was manipulated ‘to get the message across’.

Department for Transport Campaign Manager Juliet Owen said: ‘I worked on the poster and yes, we did make some minor changes to the original photo in order to get the clearest image to get the message across.

‘The shoot was early in the morning on a warm day and as such there was a lot of mist on the road, which had to be taken out so the main elements of the shot could easily be seen (ie the road and markings, the foliage and the biker).

‘The curve of the curb that indicates a junction at the front of the image was added in from a separate photo. We wanted the shot to be set in a junction as this is where many accidents occurred.’

Owen refused to provide the original image, saying: ‘We wanted to say, this is how the road was, even though there was a bit of in-house production, and we don’t want to compromise that idea.’

She later said the original image was held by an ad agency.

One comment on the Think Biker Facebook page said: 'Unfortunately while the poster may be trying to create increased driver awareness of riders, what it's done instead is only entrench the motorists' argument for mandatory rider hi-viz. They now have a poster that confirms that it's not their fault that they don't see riders.'


I don't see anything wrong in manipulating a photo to increase awareness among bikers. Ys of course, the tangled tree branches look line they need a Folsom arborist though :)


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This was a very interesting article. I have to admit, the first couple times that I looked at the picture, I didn't see the rider myself. I hope that this started a conversation that will help protect motorcyclists.
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