Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about road etiquette. That’s been the surprising response whenever we’ve mentioned our plans for a publication on bike law. It doesn’t matter whether the audience is bike riders or drivers, passions fly. And in usually pretty calm quarters. Can they really do that? Don’t I have the right of way?
That’s one of the reasons we’re launching our Bike Law publication – to take the heat out of debates about sharing the roads. And to provide a definitive guide that pedals no agenda, but instead explains what the road rules actually are for bike riders in Victoria.
But why did we take it on? Simply put, nothing like it exists that is comprehensive and easy to understand, and we saw a need – more riders, more accidents and more conflict.
A recent VicRoads survey found that a large percentage of riders either didn’t know the road rules or were confused about them. This only confirmed our view that it was about time such a guide existed.
Any good idea needs the facts and excellent research, so we talked to the people who know bike riders, the road rules and where people ride, and asked them to join our reference group. This included:
- Bicycle Network
- City of Melbourne
- City of Yarra
- Cycling Victoria
- Amy Gillett Foundation.
Working with our partners, we scoped the content, added safety tips and produced a polished version which we took to the readers and got their feedback on through focus testing.
Using reference groups and focus testing is a key step in developing a community publication that works. We can’t know everything and these processes help us get the breadth of the content right and ensure the users can understand it. This gives our publications the best chance of effectively delivering the message. (More information on this can be found in the Better information handbook.)
Launched on 7 December, Bike Law will be available in print, interactive PDF, Word and HTML formats. With initial pre-orders of over 50,000 copies we are working with our partners, local councils, cycling clubs, bike shops, and of course the legal sector, to put it at the fingertips of riders.
Projects like Bike Law might look easy, but you can’t imagine how complicated the road rules are until you try to write about them. Thanks to our partners and the team at the foundation who have put hundreds of hours of work into it. Look out for the taster video that's coming soon, interactive quizzes and infographics.
Do you know someone who would like a copy or do you get asked questions about bike law as part of your work? You or your organisation can order copies from www.bikelaw.org.au. And we also encourage you to link to the resource from your website or profile it in your next newsletter. After all, how many of your employees ride to work?