In its 25 year history, the Transport Accident Commission has based its public education campaigns on data and evidence.source: TAC
In 2001, motorcycle fatalities in Victoria were 64, the highest in more than a decade. In 2002, the TAC produced the Vice Versa campaign, which encouraged drivers and motorcyclists to "put yourself in their shoes." In that year, fatalities dropped to 56, and to 39 in 2003, and 37 in 2004.
The next four years saw fatalities in the high to mid 40s, then a drop in 2009 (the awful summer of 46.5 degrees and black Saturday).
Late in 2009 TAC released the "reduce the risks" campaign. The following year, fatalities were up to 49, and there were 49 fatalities again in 2011. 2012 has also had an horrific start in terms of motorcycle fatalities.
I am no statistician, and I shall not fall into the trap of correlation-therefore-causation and draw far reaching conclusions based upon these very broad numbers.
I will however ask one question, in light of the above trends: upon what evidence does the TAC base its approach of shock ads and single sentence sound-bites as the means of addressing motorcycle safety?
If we were to look for a correlation between TAC campaigns and motorcycle fatalities we can only conclude that the "reduce the risks" campaign failed to have a positive impact upon the fatality rate of motorcyclists, whereas in the years following the first release of the "vice versa" campaign, fatalities dropped.
So what evidence is the TAC using to choose its current message and approach?