Tips from Tom Flood on road safety advocacy

May 05, 2022
Tips from Tom Flood on road safety advocacy


Tom Flood worked in advertising for many years in Toronto developing brand work on a variety of clients including work on large auto accounts and has most recently been developing creative, content and strategy through Rovélo Creative ( He has also been giving talks on communications specifically around strategies to help craft effective to advocate for road safety messaging.

Tom is a cyclist and great advocate for road safety and people on bikes on social twitter @tomflood1. His message also focuses on children’s rights for road safety and biking to school.

Bike Champions Forum knowledge sharing session with Tom Flood 

As part of Bike Auckland’s focus on developing Bike Champions to help make Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland a more bikeable city we asked if Tom would present to our audience. Tom very generously gave his time to present to Bike Auckland members and those passionate about making our region’s roads a safer place for people on bikes.

We have put together the key points from the presentation here.

Background to what led Tom to becoming a road safety advocate

Tom opened the presentation by giving his background and acknowledging that he can see the irony in the fact that he used to market cars. Tom came to road safety advocacy for people on bikes after he starting riding with his kids as a means of them getting to school. He realised that the bike journey to school consisted of him yelling at his kids to be careful while yelling at motorists to watch out. As he started to advocate for safer places for people and kids on bikes he wondered how the current situation could be OK with everybody? And how wanting to get his kids to school safely could be seen as radical? Tom went on to become more involved in advocating for road safety for everyone and speaking through the lense of a parent wanting my child on a bike to be able to get places safely.

How are is road safety framed now?

Tom initially discussed how road safety is framed now:

  • Responsibility is transferred from the person inside the car to the person on a bike.
  • Road violence is the cost of ‘doing business’
  • Road violence isn’t taken seriously because its not talked about seriously

How can the messaging be reframed?

  • Stop telling vulnerable road users to be safe, start telling people in motor vehicles to be more careful
  • When talking to an audience, consider who you are talking to and where they are at. 
    • Keep it simple
    • Use emotions to connect with people on a human level
    • Make it relatable.
  • Focus on reframing on what could be gained by giving back autocentric spaces.
  • Highlight what’s been lost…how many kids aren’t walking or riding to school because it’s not safe.
  • Look for commonalities with the people sitting on the opposite side of the argument. It’s hard for people to empathise with you if they don’t understand you.

To really see how Tom’s reframes road safety follow him on Twitter at Tom Flood1 and share, share, share to as wide an audience as you can.

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