Car-dooring, the act of opening a car door into the path of a passing cyclist, was responsible for hundreds of injuries and even deaths every year in Victoria. Because cyclists felt unsafe and were demanding action, TAC (the Transport Accident Commission) wanted to tackle the problem directly rather than simply reinforce the well-known risks and shocking outcomes.
Research into driver behaviours showed that the moment a driver turned off the engine, they turned off to other risks on the roads. They simply forgot about cyclists.
What was required was a little ‘nudge’ to make them think bike at the exact moment they were about to open their door. The ‘nudge’ was ‘Rider Reminder’, a tactile rubber sticker drivers could easily fasten under a car door handle. Designed to feel like a bike-handle grip, it prompted latent memories of riding a bicycle, ensuring the brain thought ‘bike’ at that moment. The initiative was launched with an online film of Tour De France champion Cadel Evans describing the merits of the idea.
Influential cyclists and bloggers were mailed the Rider Reminder to share the idea with their social networks. Other key stakeholders in the taxi and Police forces were mailed. Rider Reminders were handed out at various cycling events.
In total, over 80,000 Rider Reminders were distributed. The Taxi Association and Victoria Police requested it to be installed in their fleets. It was embraced as a genuine and effective solution to a complex problem. Determining its effect on road safety has been difficult but there was a reduction in car-doorings of almost 40% compared to the same period of the previous year. If ‘Rider Reminder’ directly prevented just one injury, then it would have returned on investment.
Great advertising is about getting the right message to the right person at the right time and in the right place. That thinking has been applied to the very real world problem of car-dooring. Obviously someone at Clemenger BBDO has been reading up on behavioural economics because this idea of a psychological intervention at the very moment of opening the car door is straight out of the manual.
How to get people talking about it? Mail. Works every time.