You have to spend some time around Australians to fully appreciate the culture that has been fostered on the ass-end of the world. Having spent more years than I can count competing in sports against Australians, I already had an appreciation for the direct no-bullshit approach to personal communication that comes from the land down under. It is the same trait that gets Casey Stoner in trouble with fans, as when the former (and soon-to-be?) World Champion calls a spade a spade, well…it rubs them the wrong way, especially us Americans (case in point, the 2011 Indianapolis GP asphalt debacle).

You see, Americans in a broad-stroke generality don’t like to be told our babies are ugly, or that the Emperor has no clothes. Similarly, when it comes to our highway safety campaigns, we are coddled with cute public service announcements that do little to speak honestly about the reality of situations. That’s not the case in Australia however, as for the past month I’ve been assaulted with healthy & safety messages concerning motorcycles that do anything but mince words.

I’m not sure if this is an atypical period of time, where Australia is trying to drive the message home about rider safety, but the Aussies are doing a good job of blitzing Google, highway billboards, and TV adverts on the realities of riding recklessly on a motorcycle. The images aren’t for the faint of heart either, and the message is virtually everywhere you turn near Phillip Island, though I’ve seen the ads up north in Sydney with abundance as well. More shock than awe, the image of man with full-body road rash (seen above) is a common one in the campaign, but the piece that takes the cake has to be a TV commercial I saw the other night.

I can’t do the advert justice by describing it, so watch it below, and be sure to watch it all the way to the end. It makes Mothers Against Drunk Driving look like a bunch of old maids who sit around and play Parcheesi. NTHSA take note, and good onya TAC.

Source: TAC

  • AK

    We should have ad campaign like this in US.

  • Scruby

    Good ad,but it will never air in the U.S.A.If it did air,the response would be to outlaw motorcycles.Just look at driver safety.There is never a mention about incompetent drivers causing accidents,the focus is always on building more crash resistant cars.Mercedes Benz even has an ad out now that “wakes up” a sleeping,or inattentive driver.Pathetic.

  • @scruby. I agree even though I’m from AU.

    The thing that gives me the sh irrits about reducing the risks, is that I’m responsible for all the morons out there.

    “Regardless of who’s fault it is”, “It’s up to you to reduce the risk” Shoot people on mobiles while driving? That’ll reduce the risk!

  • Bob

    The problem isn’t Americans that need to harden the fuck up, it’s the politicians and lawyers who are so worried about the public being offended. The public actually can handle the gruesomness. There are plenty of good adverts that I’ve seen over the years, some even while I was a rider coach for the MSF that the MSF wouldn’t allow us to show and tell the class.

    Nothing wrong with a dose of reality so people will better understand the consequences of their actions. If there is a problem with Americans and safety (and there is) it’s that the country does not promote safer driving…only safer crashing. Driver education needs to be mandatory in the shool system.

    Also, auto manufacturers need to work with mobile device manufacturers to automatically wirelessly disable many functions within a certain proximity of the drivers seat…like texting, browsing, etc. Far too many people on their phones sending texts while driving and now I see more and more iPads being used while driving. There needs to be a way where these devices become useless from the driver seat.

  • marky

    Straight up, fair dinkum…

  • @Bob – the idea of disabling a mobile device within the driver’s seat is great – “The invisible fence for irresponsible drivers”. With studies indicating these types of distractions are worse than drunk driving (or, at best, the same, which isn’t saying a whole lot!), hopefully this technology is not far away. Which automobile company will have the guts to do it first instead of the other marketing tricks stated above?

    On the other point of this article – good reality check. This regional, blunt advert brought to me in the US by the world wide web….without the hysterics & finger-pointing that the non-riding public in the States would have as a result if something like this was aired in the States.

  • AK

    what can you expect ??????? This is the nation who got offended by US flag flying in there neighborhood, and ban pledge of Allegiance in school.

  • Keith

    Hey, this is an easy one you fools…the full body rash one. “This is what happens to people not smart enough to wear proper protective gear”. Short simple and even our fellow MORONS ACROSS AMERICA@ can figure out that the problem is not the motorcycle it’s the people who refuse to wear proper gear. Now don’t get me started on what is the most imporatant gear becuase most of you lost before you could even THINK of typing… ;^) I prefer getting someones attention with a kick to the groin as opposed to a stick in the eye.

  • MrFancyPants

    great set of ads! it works in my world, but sadly what’s heard in America is people blaming others and not taking responsibility for their own actions. Instead we’ll see the driver blame the motorcyclist and vice versa so what will happen with an awesome-as-shit campaign like this is that you’ll have a small but loud group of douches using it as a reason to band lane-splitting or increase traffic enforcement on motorcyclist meanwhile ignoring other motorist on the roads infractions that are just as dangerous (if not more so)

  • Shaitan

    Here’s what I want: Ads like this that show ALL types of vehicles here in the U.S.A. I want them to show busted, scraped and decapitated people mangled in their vehicles or as mangle messes on the road. Red Dead Asphalt should be mandatory PSO’s on TV that show all motorist doing dangerous/stupid things AND showing then examples of what to do. We show all this stuff on jackass video reels like it’s funny… so we make light of the ugly reality. I commend AU for being balsy about motor safety.

    I’d like to counter this ad about lane splitting. I know here in California it’s legal (within limits) because it’s been shown to be safer at least according to studies. Are the CHiP/insurance stats wrong? Dunno.

    On an unrelated note, but regarding accidents… I wish that if you got busted without insurance and are at fault, you should be in indentured servitude until you pay off what you owe, so we stop floating cheap-ass morons driving/riding anything.

  • Keith

    Mr.FanacyPants, that isn’t hard to fix. You just be louder, more polite and take their daughters/sons out for rides on your motorcycle. ;^) BUT if they aren’t wearing boots, armored pants, gloves, helmet, jacket (textile/kangaro) they don’t get to ride and you be REAL loud about that.

    ATGATT or stay the hell off my motorcycle shall be the law of the land. Oh and aamof lane splitting / filtering IS safe, period end of discussion. IF somebody tries to tell you otherwise ask them to back it with facts. They can’t, but they will LIE like a rug about it.

  • Pietro

    Actually there’s some ads like this for texting while driving here in the US. One where you hear parents talking about where their kids are and you see one of them with his eyes open dead in his car with his cell phone in hand.

    Pretty straight to the point without the wham! factor this one has. They both sure shook me up.

  • Alexontwowheels

    Hardcore. Anyone ever see the one they did for kitchen oil fire awareness, with a chick that had her face horribly mutated? I couldn’t agree more, Americans are like 14 year old boys, act all tough and hard, but are actually giant pussies that bitch about exactly everything!

  • Bjorn

    Here is my favourite ad for protective gear.

    A little reminder for for the “Scooters are much safer,” crowd.

    And we do them for car drivers as well, this one’s 22 years old.

    I point these out to my kids 8, 7 and 5 to show why mum and dad wear proper gear when we ride and the consequences of doing the wrong thing. Then there was the graphic example of them coming out with the trailer to collect my smashed motorcycle, while I was fine due to my (now) torn up leathers.
    It’s great to have ads like these on TV, but it’s even better to have families educating their children about the importance of taking responsibility for your own personal safety.

    The U.S.A, Australia & most of the first world need to Harden the Fuck Up and take responsibility for our own well being, rather than allowing our freedoms to be eroded by those we have delegated that responsibility to. Being in the right when you are injured is OK, but surviving uninjured is better.
    I’m done ranting.

    Just as an aside, Australia’s most famous modern criminal, Chopper Reid, is credited with coining the phrase “Harden the Fuck Up.” It was then made famous by a very warped and very funny comedy show called the Ronnie Johns Half Hour.

  • Jake Fox

    The solution to distracted driving is to make cars impossible to drive without your full attention. Get rid of all the driver aids of the last 60 years, power steering, automatic transmissions, stability control, etc. and make the whole experience as frightening as flying a Cessna in a thunderstorm. Then people will start paying attention to what they’re doing at the wheel.

  • Bjorn

    @Jake Fox: A motorcycle journo posed the question years ago, “Would you drive more safely in a car where you couldn’t be hurt, or one with a steel spike inches from your head?” I agree with you in essence; all of those driver aids theoretically make driving safer, but in reality simply reduce the amount of attention people pay to the task of driving.

    The road safety campaigns in Australia are split roughly between personal safety and responsibility to others. The first ad in my post above makes the point perfectly as do most of the others; no matter whether it’s your fault or someone else, it’s you that gets hurt. I completely approve of dealing with the poor driving behaviour of others, but we need to take personal responsibility for our own safety. Anything else is delusional.

  • Tom

    Don’t Australians know that loud pipes save lives?

  • Tom !

    As an Australian, I can tell you that motorcyclists here don’t appreciate these ads. Don’t be fooled – this is not an organisation that is trying to look after us, the TAC has had it in for motorcyclists as a motoring group for years. They’re not interested in keeping us safe so much as reducing their expenditure in order to maximize profits – they’re our compulsory personal accident insurance provider you see.

    While some of these messages have merit (wear the appropriate gear, be aware of the risks), the agenda behind this campaign is not in our best interests. Notice that they put the entire burden of safety onto the motorcyclist. What does this say to the other road users? “If a bike crashes, it’s only their fault.” There’s nothing about the need for other motorists to be aware and look out for us, nothing about dangerous driver behaviors such as distracted driving.

    There’s been only negative media coverage of motorcyclists in Australia for the last 5-10 years – this is intentional as part of an ongoing (and documented) social engineering campaign. Ultimately, motorcyclists are already aware of the risks – we face them everyday. All these ads do is paint us in a bad light with the rest of the population, re-enforcing an already negative stereotype.

  • Beary

    While on the ride down south to Phillip Island this year, I saw this ad about a billion times on TV, on billboards, and it was playing on the superscreens at Phillip Island all day, every day. And I totally agree with Tom, here in Australia, TAC has always taken the view that the safety issue rests with Motorcyclists, never once do they tell car drivers to do a proper head check – and not just glance in your mirrors. Never once do they mention training for safety awareness – for either car drivers, or motorcycle riders. No, this stupid, laughable ad shows irresponsible riding behaviour, people wearing incorrect gear, and riding with no consideration to 1/other road users 2/ pedestrians 3/ themselves.

    TAC is considered worse than a joke here. Their print and road ads to absolutely nothing to effect change – as Tom has already stated they simply reinforce the old and outdated stereotype that motorcycle riding is a dangerous activity done by risk takers.

    TAC – you keep getting it wrong. I look forward to the day you actually get someone with brains on your advertising panel and not just shock-jocks.