I give up…on this

This text (i.e., announcement) is inspired by this tweet.

Anyone who reads Finnish newspapers and is active in social media will know that many people are not happy with the way police and media report on cycling crashes. People are not happy when they read, for example, “the car hit the pedestrian/cyclist.” They would rather like to see “the car driver hit the pedestrian/cyclist with his/her car.” They also don’t like when the media/police report whether a cyclist wore a helmet or not. They call it ‘victim blaming.’ There are also several research papers on this topic (ask me and I will share them with you).

As a traffic safety researcher whose aim is (also) to increase mutual respect between different road users, I believe something could and should be done about this. When I say this, I don’t mean that those who complain are indeed right; I mean that this issue should be addressed because it continues to produce strong emotional reactions. So my idea was to organize a one-day seminar consisting of several presentations and a panel discussion.

I had made a preliminary outline and have been trying to find partners and sponsors – as a one-man research group with limited (read: zero) funding I cannot organize it myself. I had no success. Perhaps I haven’t tried hard enough, perhaps I contacted wrong organizations and people…perhaps I am not the right person to push this. Therefore, I give up. I hope someone more qualified and skillful will take over and organize this. I am out. Good luck.

Please note that I haven’t asked any of these people…this is just what I had in mind.

8:30–9:00 Coffee and registration
9:00–9:15 Opening words, welcome (Igor Radun and XX)
9:15–10:00 Keynote: Katri Saarikivi, empathy researcher, University of Helsinki
10:00–10:15 Someone from Council for Mass Media (Julkisen sanan neuvosto)
10:15–10:30 Pasi Anteroinen, Director, Liikenneturva – Finnish Road Safety Council
10:30–10:45 Matti Koistinen, Pyöräliitto – Finnish Cyclists’ Federation
10:45–11:00 Igor Radun, Docent of traffic psychology, University of Helsinki (in English, traffic safety perspective)
11:00–11:15 Someone from Police
11:15–11:30 Someone from Autoliitto – the Automobile and Touring Club of Finland
11:30–11:45 Someone from professional drivers’ organizations (AKT or Rahtarit)
11:45–12:00 Prosecutor
12:00–12:45 Lunch
12:45–13:30 Keynote talk: a professor about communication
13:30–15:00 Panel discussion (is there a need to make a guideline for media?)

 

An update on 1.10.2020.

A few days ago, a draft Road Collision Reporting Guidelines has been published in the UK. “The draft guidelines are produced by the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy in collaboration with national roads policing, academics and experts in the field, road safety charities, and the National Union of Journalists’ ethics council, and advised by IMPRESS.”

It didn’t take too long that those excluded from these consultations start complaining. Of course they would because they were excluded. And of course a journalist who was involved in preparing of this document got the space in the Guardian… because she works for them.

 

And there you can see a difference between activism and genuinely trying to solve the problem(s). I wanted to organize a seminar and gather ALL interested parties, which include: cycling activists, journalists and media experts, police and prosecutors, representatives of professional and other driver organizations, researchers with background in communication, empathy and traffic safety ETC. The aim was to reach a consensus before going public with guidelines.

And what we have now? Heated discussion on Twitter accusing the authors of bias. More accusations and blames, more hate… Is that want we want?

 

 

Author: Igor Radun

Igor Radun is a university researcher, PhD (2009) and docent (2015) in traffic psychology. He completed two post-doc abroad (Chalmers University of Technology 2011-2013, and Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University 2013-2015). He has received a recognition medal (Ansiomitali) for traffic safety work from the Ministry of Transport and Communications in 2019 and twice (2017, 2019) the H. J. Eysenck Memorial Fund Award. He serves as editorial board member in the major journal in his field: Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour. I am on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Liikennepsykol1

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