The Wheels came out of a road safety campaign designed by Transport for London (TfL) after its portrayal of a cyclist and driver breaking up amicably following a near collision drew in accusations of “victim blame” by cyclists.

See their side depicts a driver slamming on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision with a passing cyclist, precipitating an altercation between the two. Rather than go into road rage, however, the campaign shows both sides stepping back and asking how their counterpart is feeling.

Designed by VCCP London, the contentious ad, which has now been withdrawn, was launched by Mayor Sadiq Khan last month as part of efforts to eliminate all fatalities and serious injuries resulting from traffic accidents from here 2041.

He sought to shatter the “us and them” mentality that can separate cyclists from motorists by describing an alternate reality where road users rely on those around them. Instead, it opened a box of worms about “false equivalence,” with viewers complaining that the driver was clearly wrong.

Supported by a local TV campaign on ITV, the public information campaign has now been suspended indefinitely by the mayor’s commissioner for cycling and walking, Will Norman, while the authority reflects on his messages.

Norman tweeted: “I know there have been a lot of concerns about the ‘See Their Side’ ad,” he said. “The campaign has been suspended to take into account the comments … City Hall and TfL remain committed to improving London’s road culture and reducing road hazards.”

A separate investigation could be launched by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after receiving 70 complaints centered on the illegality of a driver passing so close to a cyclist, although it has not yet determined whether it is illegal. there were grounds for doing so.

A TfL spokesperson said: “The aim of this campaign is to challenge the sometimes divergent nature of London’s road culture and to encourage all road users to be more empathetic when traveling. We know that pedestrians and cyclists are much more vulnerable on the roads than other groups of road users, and this campaign is not designed to suggest otherwise.

VCCP, which has worked to burst the London advertising bubble in UK advertising, has pulled the campaign from its website and social media.

The ad was helpfully cut by a Twitter user.

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