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.