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Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 19th 12, 07:33 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Mason
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,174
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster

QUOTE:
Earlier this week the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) issued a press
release headlined, "More than half of cyclists jump red lights", claiming
57% of cyclists had jumped a red light at least once. The figure came from a
poll on the IAM website to which many cyclists had responded, encouraged by
tweets and cycling forums to add their experience.

Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong rather than a case of the the IAM deliberately playing fast
and loose with statistics and using cyclists as the bait to catch some red
top headlines.

I'm also struggling to resist schadenfreude because, as a professional
pollster, I normally at least allow myself a wry smile when poor research
gets outed and usually laugh out loud when this type of home-cooked,
half-baked poll falls flat.

I'm trying not to gloat because even though I'm both a researcher and a
cyclist, I'm finding it difficult to put the IAM in the same sentence as the
phrase "fast and loose". In my mind, the IAM are sticklers, an organisation
of cardiganed uncles driving within the speed limit, hands at ten to two and
able to stop well within the necessary distance. Hardly the type of people
to take chances and act with any reckless disregard.

I'm struggling because I know from working with him on research projects for
Road Safety Scotland and the Scottish government that Neil Greig, the IAM's
director of policy and research, is a decent man, committed to improving
road safety, who gives good advice.

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.

I'm not angry because I've only just found out that this type of poll is not
a carefully crafted and systematically sampled survey of the cycling and
motoring population. I've designed those and I know they don't involve
tweeting your mates and sending them to a website where you can complete the
survey as many times as you like.

I'm not even angry because the IAM used the results for publicity. There's
absolutely nothing wrong with that. Who doesn't these days, especially when
newspapers will recycle press releases with barely an amendment?

But this one is different. First, because it misrepresents me personally and
many people like me. People who ride day in, day out, carefully doing what
it takes to get to work on time and home alive. I am one of the 57% although
my particular red light is part of Edinburgh's tram works and simply fails
to detect a cyclist. You either ride through it or sit there until a car
comes along. At 7.15am that could take a long time.

Second, I am angry because in spite of all the weaknesses in this type of
uncontrolled, self-selecting, online polling, the real dodge was to
accumulate the frequent, sometimes, rarely and "once or twice" and include
them all in the "over half of cyclists" headline. With this sleight of hand
sensible manoeuvres and distant misdemeanours are turned into a current
habit and whatever subsequent explanations follow, what sticks is that 57%
of cyclists jump red lights.

But most importantly, I am angry with IAM because while most of these polls
are silly PR fluff, this particular example is potentially dangerous. Many
cyclists already feel that they are treated with contempt by drivers and
that their safety is compromised on Britain's clogged and poorly designed
roads. Distorting the data and giving the impression of cyclists as serial
lawbreakers has real potential to bring those wing mirrors a little bit
closer, make the abuse a little louder and the cutting up a little more life
threatening.

The reality is that cyclists are being killed on Britain's roads to an
extent that has motivated thousands of cyclists to campaign for better
safety. IAM members, who represent the antithesis of the driving that
cyclists experience everyday, should be cyclists' allies. The organisation
had been making genuine attempts to contribute to improving safety.

One can only wonder what happened when the release was written but in what
seems like a momentary lapse in concentration, the trust that saw cyclists
help IAM's polling efforts has been thrown away. A familiar story: cyclists
hurt because someone wasn't paying attention.

.. Steven Hope regularly cycles between his home in Fife and his job as
managing director of Ipsos Mori's office in Edinburgh. He writes in a
personal capacity

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...?newsfeed=true

--
Simon Mason

Ads
  #2  
Old May 19th 12, 08:15 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Dave - Cyclists VOR
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 7,703
Default Numb-nuts Mason changes the subject again.

On 19/05/2012 19:33, Simon Mason wrote:
QUOTE:
Earlier this week the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) issued a press
release headlined, "More than half of cyclists jump red lights", claiming
57% of cyclists had jumped a red light at least once. The figure came
from a
poll on the IAM website to which many cyclists had responded, encouraged by
tweets and cycling forums to add their experience.

Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong rather than a case of the the IAM deliberately playing fast
and loose with statistics and using cyclists as the bait to catch some red
top headlines.

I'm also struggling to resist schadenfreude because, as a professional
pollster, I normally at least allow myself a wry smile when poor research
gets outed and usually laugh out loud when this type of home-cooked,
half-baked poll falls flat.

I'm trying not to gloat because even though I'm both a researcher and a
cyclist, I'm finding it difficult to put the IAM in the same sentence as
the
phrase "fast and loose". In my mind, the IAM are sticklers, an organisation
of cardiganed uncles driving within the speed limit, hands at ten to two
and
able to stop well within the necessary distance. Hardly the type of people
to take chances and act with any reckless disregard.

I'm struggling because I know from working with him on research projects
for
Road Safety Scotland and the Scottish government that Neil Greig, the IAM's
director of policy and research, is a decent man, committed to improving
road safety, who gives good advice.

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.

I'm not angry because I've only just found out that this type of poll is
not
a carefully crafted and systematically sampled survey of the cycling and
motoring population. I've designed those and I know they don't involve
tweeting your mates and sending them to a website where you can complete
the
survey as many times as you like.

I'm not even angry because the IAM used the results for publicity. There's
absolutely nothing wrong with that. Who doesn't these days, especially when
newspapers will recycle press releases with barely an amendment?

But this one is different. First, because it misrepresents me personally
and
many people like me. People who ride day in, day out, carefully doing what
it takes to get to work on time and home alive. I am one of the 57%
although
my particular red light is part of Edinburgh's tram works and simply fails
to detect a cyclist. You either ride through it or sit there until a car
comes along. At 7.15am that could take a long time.

Second, I am angry because in spite of all the weaknesses in this type of
uncontrolled, self-selecting, online polling, the real dodge was to
accumulate the frequent, sometimes, rarely and "once or twice" and include
them all in the "over half of cyclists" headline. With this sleight of hand
sensible manoeuvres and distant misdemeanours are turned into a current
habit and whatever subsequent explanations follow, what sticks is that 57%
of cyclists jump red lights.

But most importantly, I am angry with IAM because while most of these polls
are silly PR fluff, this particular example is potentially dangerous. Many
cyclists already feel that they are treated with contempt by drivers and
that their safety is compromised on Britain's clogged and poorly designed
roads. Distorting the data and giving the impression of cyclists as serial
lawbreakers has real potential to bring those wing mirrors a little bit
closer, make the abuse a little louder and the cutting up a little more
life
threatening.

The reality is that cyclists are being killed on Britain's roads to an
extent that has motivated thousands of cyclists to campaign for better
safety. IAM members, who represent the antithesis of the driving that
cyclists experience everyday, should be cyclists' allies. The organisation
had been making genuine attempts to contribute to improving safety.

One can only wonder what happened when the release was written but in what
seems like a momentary lapse in concentration, the trust that saw cyclists
help IAM's polling efforts has been thrown away. A familiar story: cyclists
hurt because someone wasn't paying attention.

. Steven Hope regularly cycles between his home in Fife and his job as
managing director of Ipsos Mori's office in Edinburgh. He writes in a
personal capacity

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...?newsfeed=true


--
Simon Mason



--
Dave - Cyclists VOR. "Many people barely recognise the bicycle as a
legitimate mode of transport; it is either a toy for children or a
vehicle fit only for the poor and/or strange," Dave Horton - Lancaster
University
  #3  
Old May 19th 12, 11:13 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Peter Parry
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,118
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster

On Sat, 19 May 2012 19:33:36 +0100, "Simon Mason"
wrote:


Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.


Funny how they didn't do this on any of the previous polls they had
encouraged cyclists to "participate" in, often many times.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong


You mean the cyclists took their eye off the ball and forgot to stuff
this vote?

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.


Ah, so the vote stuffing took place - but the result wasn't quite as
expected?

I've designed those and I know they don't involve
tweeting your mates and sending them to a website where you can complete the
survey as many times as you like.


As push bike riders have been doing for a long time. Where were the
objections then?

Distorting the data and giving the impression of cyclists as serial
lawbreakers


All the evidence is they are.
  #4  
Old May 20th 12, 12:09 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Mrcheerful[_3_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,662
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster


"Peter Parry" wrote in message
...
On Sat, 19 May 2012 19:33:36 +0100, "Simon Mason"
wrote:


Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.


Funny how they didn't do this on any of the previous polls they had
encouraged cyclists to "participate" in, often many times.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong


You mean the cyclists took their eye off the ball and forgot to stuff
this vote?

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.


Ah, so the vote stuffing took place - but the result wasn't quite as
expected?

I've designed those and I know they don't involve
tweeting your mates and sending them to a website where you can complete
the
survey as many times as you like.


As push bike riders have been doing for a long time. Where were the
objections then?

Distorting the data and giving the impression of cyclists as serial
lawbreakers


All the evidence is they are.


it also shows that cyclists are too dim to NOT self-incriminate


  #5  
Old May 20th 12, 07:36 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Mason[_4_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 9,242
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than asa pollster

On May 19, 11:13*pm, Peter Parry wrote:
On Sat, 19 May 2012 19:33:36 +0100, "Simon Mason"

wrote:
Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.


Funny how they didn't do this on any of the previous polls they had
encouraged cyclists to "participate" in, often many times.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong


You mean the cyclists took their eye off the ball and forgot to stuff
this vote?

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.


Ah, so the vote stuffing took place - but the result wasn't quite as
expected?

Since when have you been a Mori pollster?
When you have had his experience of conducting polls then perhaps you
can be qualified enough to dissect his criticism of the flawed survey
outcome.
Until then ...

--
Simon Mason
  #6  
Old May 20th 12, 10:00 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Peter Parry
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,118
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster

On Sat, 19 May 2012 23:36:23 -0700 (PDT), Simon Mason
wrote:

Since when have you been a Mori pollster?


The IAM polls are so completely inept that one does not need to work
for a polling company to know that. That is not the issue.

When you have had his experience of conducting polls then perhaps you
can be qualified enough to dissect his criticism of the flawed survey


The surveys have been equally flawed for years, and push bike riders
have been taking advantage of that to vote early and vote often to
produce results that suited them. On these occasions not a whisper
was heard about the flawed methods. Now one poll doesn't produce the
result the push bike riders want and they erupt in crocodile tears.


  #7  
Old May 20th 12, 02:40 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
jnugent
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,223
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist thanas a pollster

On 20/05/2012 07:36, Simon Mason wrote:
On May 19, 11:13 pm, Peter wrote:
On Sat, 19 May 2012 19:33:36 +0100, "Simon Mason"

wrote:
Unusually, BikeBiz.com, an industry newsletter, and the Guardian broke an
embargo to publicly criticise the IAM and its statistics in advance of
publication by the rest of the media. Reaction across cycling forums and
Twitter was quick to condemn the validity of the IAM's figures and to
question the organisation's motives and integrity.


Funny how they didn't do this on any of the previous polls they had
encouraged cyclists to "participate" in, often many times.

I'm trying hard to see this debacle as a case of good intentions gone
horribly wrong


You mean the cyclists took their eye off the ball and forgot to stuff
this vote?

But I'm also pretty angry with the IAM, for this reason: I am one of their
57%. I picked up the tweets, I read about the survey on my local cycling
forum, and I filled it in, wanting to add my experiences thinking, as I
suspect many others did, that it would add, in some way, to the calls for
improvements in cycling provision.


Ah, so the vote stuffing took place - but the result wasn't quite as
expected?


Since when have you been a Mori pollster?


Was he appointed at about the same time that you got your medical, legal and
science degrees?

When you have had his experience of conducting polls then perhaps you
can be qualified enough to dissect his criticism of the flawed survey
outcome.
Until then ...


.... do as you're told by Simon?
  #8  
Old May 20th 12, 08:58 PM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Simon Mason
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,174
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster



"Peter Parry" wrote in message
...
On Sat, 19 May 2012 23:36:23 -0700 (PDT), Simon Mason
wrote:

Since when have you been a Mori pollster?


The IAM polls are so completely inept that one does not need to work
for a polling company to know that. That is not the issue.

When you have had his experience of conducting polls then perhaps you
can be qualified enough to dissect his criticism of the flawed survey


The surveys have been equally flawed for years, and push bike riders
have been taking advantage of that to vote early and vote often to
produce results that suited them. On these occasions not a whisper
was heard about the flawed methods. Now one poll doesn't produce the
result the push bike riders want and they erupt in crocodile tears


Ah so, when it does not go "your way" it is because the cyclists have been
caught napping but oddly enough when a poll results go against you, it is
due to an unfair army of cyclists mobilising and skewing the polls their
way.

--
Simon Mason
  #9  
Old May 21st 12, 01:15 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
thirty-six
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 10,049
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than asa pollster

On May 20, 8:58*pm, "Simon Mason"
wrote:
"Peter Parry" wrote in message

...









On Sat, 19 May 2012 23:36:23 -0700 (PDT), Simon Mason
wrote:


Since when have you been a Mori pollster?


The IAM polls are so completely inept that one does not need to work
for a polling company to know that. *That is not the issue.


When you have had his experience of conducting polls then perhaps you
can be qualified enough to dissect his criticism of the flawed survey


The surveys have been equally flawed for years, and push bike riders
have been taking advantage of that to vote early and vote often to
produce results that suited them. *On these occasions not a whisper
was heard about the flawed methods. *Now one poll doesn't produce the
result the push bike riders want and they erupt in crocodile tears


Ah so, when it does not go "your way" it is because the cyclists have been
caught napping but oddly enough when a poll results go against you, it is
due to an unfair army of cyclists mobilising and skewing the polls their
way.

--
Simon Mason


Welcome to portrait politics where the camera never lies,the framing
defines the picture.
  #10  
Old May 21st 12, 09:50 AM posted to uk.rec.cycling
Peter Parry
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 1,118
Default Why the IAM red light survey annoyed me more as a cyclist than as a pollster

On Sun, 20 May 2012 20:58:26 +0100, "Simon Mason"
wrote:


Ah so, when it does not go "your way" it is because the cyclists have been
caught napping but oddly enough when a poll results go against you, it is
due to an unfair army of cyclists mobilising and skewing the polls their
way.


Do try to keep up, the IAM polls have been deeply flawed for years. It
is cyclist groups who for that time have encouraged multile voting and
then "announced" results they liked with no hint of criticism of the
polling methods. Now they get a result they don't like and are
running about criticising the very polls they lauded when they liked
the results.

 




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