Norfolk’s bikers respond positively to ‘Hugger’

09.29 | 27 February 2012 | | 6 comments

A campaign developed in-house by Norfolk’s road safety team has been received positively by the county’s motorcyclists and the wider population.

The Think Norfolk partnership launched the ‘Hugger’ campaign in April 2009 on the back of statistics showing motorcyclists made up just 1% of traffic on Norfolk’s roads, but represented 26% of people killed or seriously injured.

The Hugger character is named after a rear mudguard and has his own Twitter and Facebook pages.

Hugger featured in an extensive media, marketing and educational campaign that included prominent advertising across Norfolk’s buses, newspapers, specialist magazines and petrol forecourts.

Much of the publicity was aimed at persuading motorcyclists to take the ‘Hugger Challenge’ which would identify gaps in their skills.

Iain Temperton, Norfolk’s county RSO, said: “The key to successful implementation was a positive character who could have resonance and change behaviour with two different road user groups.

“Motorists had to develop more respect and awareness of motorcyclists to help reduce collisions involving motorbikes. And bikers had to be convinced that their skills had to improve.

“Initially, the campaign was aimed at motorists so the motorcycling community could see that we were serious about changing motorists’ perception of them.

“Later in the year, as more motorcyclists took to Norfolk’s roads during the summer, the campaign concentrated on specific messages for them.”

All 39 motorcycle dealerships in Norfolk promoted Hugger and gave a Hugger Riding Pack to anyone buying a new bike or moped. The pack contained promotional material and details of the Hugger Challenge.

Between the end of 2008 (just prior to the launch of the scheme) and the end of 2011 there was a 16% drop in KSI (killed and seriously injured) powered two wheeler casualties.

The Driving Standards Agency has held Hugger’s Challenge up as an example of how other local authorities can promote ERS (DSA Enhanced Rider Certificate).

In post campaign evaluation, 50% of respondents knew the Hugger character. Awareness was higher in the younger age groups, with 90% of under 29s recognising the Hugger image and 67% of those aged between 30 and 44. Four in five motorcyclists recognise and value the Hugger campaign.

And 60% of Norfolk residents answered positively when asked if they feel more informed about road safety involving motorcyclists as a result of the Hugger images.

For more information contact Iain Temperton on 01603 223348.


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    If the statistics showed the true details as with other killings and injuries, then we would find that the majority of motorcyclists are the victims.

    My only son was riding his motorcycle on a straight road when a van driver ploughed into him and having knocked my son off his motorcycle, the van driver dove off leaving my son horrifically injured, fighting for his young life, helpless and unprotected in the road. My son bled to death lying in the road. A lady, travelling on the same road as my son, jumped out of her car and waved a lorry down to stop the lorry from running over my son.

    My son was a careful, responsible driver and motorcyclist who has had his young life wiped out, and I am left with a life sentence, and the torture of knowing my son’s killer walked with impunity.

    Our mode of transport is a potential lethal weapon, and we must all be aware of the fact that we are in charge and responsible for the way in which we drive or ride, and recognise that All road users have a right to use roads and pavements without feeling intimidated and endangered by other road users driving behaviour. We all have a responsibility and a duty of care to other road users – this means taking responsibility to drive carefully and to be accountable for the consequences of your actions.

    Judith Watkins, Norfolk
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    Stu, if we’re looking at commuting then consider the BMW F650GS – 65mpg combined cycle or Kawasaki 250 Ninja – 61mpg. And car consumption is tested in ideal conditions in the lab not on real roads as most bike figures are. But it’s not just about the fuel consumption it’s the emissions too and the reduced engine run time due to not sitting in traffic etc.

    Dave, Leeds
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    You’re being a bit unfair Stu. Most motorcycles have better mpg than most cars. Eg a hot hatch driven the way I drive gets 34mpg, a racing motorcycle over similar journeys gets 46mpg. And most fair comparisons would show a larger benefit.

    But you remind me that, when considering a brand new motorcycle, I was told that mpg figures are not required and customers never asked (I was the 1st) and therefore not available.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    Motorbikes? Environmentally friendly ?? Compare a Honda CB600F, quoted fuel consumption from MCN 41 mpg against a Honda Civic 1.4 SE quoted by CarPages at 42 mpg URBAN cycle! Even with single occupancy it beats the bike. And I speak as a motorcyclist also.

    I’d certainly agree with Bob’s point about ‘humanising’ motorcyclists/bikers and that was the thinking behind the recent safety campaign where the riders all had their names in lights…

    Stu, Ireland
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    Largely, Bob, yes.

    I was at a meeting discussing new targets for road safety over the next decade where the manager of a safer roads partnership stated we could meet those targets today just by banning motorcycles.

    Although the comment was probably tongue in cheek, how might we expect speed camera operators to implement a policy to deliberately discourage motorcycle use?

    With oil running out, congestion increasing and the dire financial crisis, we need to encourage and promote more environmentally-friendly transport such as cycling and motorcycling, but without demonising car drivers on whom a large part of the economy depends.

    I must declare an interest as I am a motorcyclist.

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    It’s one of the points of the trident to educate other motorists which is a good idea and it’s another point to get at wayward motorcyclists and others to become more aware of their dangers and the dangers they put others into. But the third point to the trident is to get the government involved and in a positive way as if a motorcyclist is just a bicyle with an engine. It’s a matter of perceptions and of changing attitudes from the old ways of thinking that all motorcyclists deserve what they get instead of appreciating them for what the majority are – and that is careful responsible citizens with families and responsibilities and persons who just want to be left alone to get on with their business without more hindrence and interference and to be treated as a minority special case on the road, because up to now they have not been.

    It seems to me that they are considered aggressive and violent and noisy and a nuisance because too many are killed and injured on our roads and that is ruining our statistics. So we must take a harder line on them.

    Does anyone else have the same opinion?

    bob craven Lancs
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