'Think Bikes' campaign launched

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Cycling star Eddy Merckx interviewed by Belgian media
Cycling star Eddy Merckx interviewed by Belgian media
Olga Sehnalová MEP
Olga Sehnalová MEP
FIA Region I President, Thierry Willemarck
FIA Region I President, Thierry Willemarck
FIA Foundation's Saul Billingsley at the launch
FIA Foundation's Saul Billingsley at the launch

Motorists have been urged to 'Think Bikes' at the European launch of a major cycle and motorcycle safety campaign led by FIA automobile clubs with support from the FIA Foundation.

FIA Region I launched the Think Bikes campaign at the European Parliament in Brussels to raise awareness for vulnerable road users on bikes, motorcycles and scooters with the support of Belgian bike racing legend Eddy Merckx and MEP Wim van de Camp. The campaign will distribute millions of stickers for car wing mirrors reminding drivers to look out for cyclists and motorcyclists.

Belgian cycling star Eddy Merckx said: “In the past, thousands of people came to watch me as I rode at the head of the race. Today when I ride nobody comes to watch, but it doesn’t have to be a problem if drivers look out for cyclists and motorcyclists. I hope that we can all share the road and that many people will join us for this campaign.”

MEP Wim van de Camp said: “As a motorcyclist, I think this message is overdue. Drivers need reminders. I am happy to lend my support to this event on behalf of motorcycle users. It is my hope that today we can improve awareness and perhaps avoid accidents between cars and two-wheelers in the future.”

FIA Region I President, Thierry Willemarck, said: “In the spring the number of bikes, motorcycles and scooters multiplies and drivers need to be reminded that they share the road with vulnerable road users. Drivers must act responsibly. I hope to see our stickers on the side view mirrors of cars, serving as an everyday reminder for drivers to think bikes!”

The launch event took place in front of the European Parliament in Brussels in Place du Luxembourg. Additional supporters of the campaign included Belgian motorsport champion, Jacky Ickx; Belgian motorcycle racing champion Didier de Radiguès; MEP Olga Sehnalová; MEP Dieter-Lebrecht Koch; Belgian Federal Minister of Mobility, Jacqueline Galant; Brussels Region Minister for Mobility, Pascal Smet; Flemish Minister for Mobility, Ben Weyts; FIA Foundation Director General, Saul Billingsley; The AA UK President, Edmund King; and the support of the local Automobile Club, Touring Belgium. The event included the distribution of think bikes stickers to passers-by.

The event also served to launch Touring Belgium’s national Think Bikes campaign, entitled ‘Partageons nos routes’ (let’s share our roads). The campaign will continue in Belgium for the rest of the year. Think Bikes was originally launched as a road safety initiative of the AA UK in 2014. One million free stickers were distributed to drivers as a reminder to do a ‘double-take’ in their mirrors for cycles and motorcycles in their blind spots. Following the campaign’s success, it has been adopted by FIA Region I and will be carried out in at least 12 countries in Europe, and the Middle East.

Saul Billingsley, FIA Foundation Director General, said: "The FIA Foundation is pleased to support this Think Bikes campaign, which is encouraging motorists to share the road, reduce their speed and consider people riding on two wheels. But another important message of this campaign is that cycle safety shouldn't only be the responsibility of drivers. Public authorities can and must do more to create the conditions for mass cycling, providing equitable use of road space and decent cycling infrastructure."