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April

Image of Limehouse Link Tunnel

Limehouse Link Tunnel in Department of Transport advert

Date posted: 01.04.2010

The Department for Transport’s latest campaign is on air this month. Think Bike is the latest awareness effort by THINK!, the road safety campaigning arm of the DfT. Created by Thomas Thomas, the new £3.5 million multi-media campaign was launched nationwide after research showed drivers are more likely to notice motorcyclists on the roads if they personally know a biker.

Despite only accounting for 1% of traffic, motorcyclists make up 19% of deaths on Britain’s roads. The new TV advert attempts to encourage drivers to see the person behind the helmet by showing ordinary bikers on their two wheels crowned with flashy neon signs that reveal their ‘identities’: 'Dave, New Dad'; 'Nick & Helen, Met Online' and 'Tom Shy, Retiring Type'.

The campaign was shot over two days around London and the large props required meant the technical challenge for any Location Manager was huge – as Rod Haak explains:

"The London-based director, Kevin Thomas wanted to build these 7ft x 8ft frames made entirely of neon lights. These were then to be attached to motorbikes that in turn had an "umbilical cord" linking them to a quad bike to enable them to drive round the streets of London at night.

In spite of the potential dangers involved with such a complex rig – once the police were onboard (the whole shoot involved both City Police & The Met Police Film Unit) there was a domino effect with TfL (Transport for London); Dominic Reeve Tucker (Islington Film Office); Mick Bagnall (City of London) all on board. Basically everyone just got caught up in wanting to make it happen".

One of the key locations was the Limehouse Link tunnel in East London. As the Tunnel Operations Director, Philip Smith, explains, the cause was worth the effort: "Our main duty is to operate the tunnel and road network to acceptable standards for all road users. However if we can assist the British film industry in any way, we are prepared to look at opportunities to assist with productions."

Over the years, the location has repeatedly been used in promotions, TV advertisements, music videos and movies such as 28 Days Later and Entrapment.

Of filming on his patch, City of London’s film officer, Mick Bagnall echoed: "The shoot went very well. The City Police bikers provided a 'bubble' escort around the action bikes to achieve the required shots in a safe and proper manner."

The shoot also covered areas around The Westway as well as the City, Shoreditch and Old Street.
 
Filming Contacts:
Limehouse Tunnel contact: Peter Pittman (020 7987 8996)
Islington (The Film Office): Dominic Reeve-Tucker (020 8980 8771/3)
City of London: Mick Bagnall (020 7332 3182) / Joanna Burnaby-Atkins (020 7332 3202)
Met Police Film Unit: 020 7918 3032

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