Thursday, 6 December 2012

The BBC and 'The War on Britain's Roads'

It was with some trepidation that I watched this Leopard films production last night.  Thank heavens for Michael Hutchinson on the Today programme this morning.  It is a great shame that he was not on last night's film to explain rather better certain aspects of cycling to a largely non-cycling public.
The shots from helmet camera cyclists has been done before (and I think rather better) on the BBC's One Show back in February 2011, without the false 'them and us' dichotomy which the programme makers took care to emphasise by, for example, filming all cyclists in cycling jerseys.
The positive side of the programme was the portrayal of the courageous way in which Cynthia Barlow, Chair of Roadpeace has worked tirelessly for the last 10 years, since the tragic death of her daughter, first to find out what happened to her and second to minimise the risk that the same happens to others.  The work done by her and also Kate Cairns (similarly affected by tragedy) and others would have made great television.
'War on Britain's Roads' has had a gestation longer than an elephant's.  I was approached by Leopard Films some 18 months ago and certainly got the impression then that the planned show would be more focussed on road safety.  It is almost as though someone has looked at a proposed script at some stage and required it to be spiced up with a lot more focus on the trading of insults.  Since happily no punches were thrown, I do not care what happened after the black taxi driver who had cut up a cyclist had stopped and I care nothing for his acknowledgement in subsequent interview that he had overreacted.  Having tracked him down I would have liked the filmmakers to ask why he apparently makes a habit of passing cyclists with inches to spare and whether he has any familiarity with rule 163 of the Highway Code.  Above all I would like to know whether he acknowledges that even if, by some good fortune, he has yet to run into a cyclist, his behaviour contributes to intimidating would be cyclists off the road.  The unfortunate fact is that it suited the program's thesis better to portray the taxidriver and cyclist as two sides of a coin whilst both were standing on tarmac having a row, rather than beforehand when the driver was driving a substantial vehicle badly around vulnerable roadusers and the cyclist was not presenting any danger to anybody.
Sadly many people will take from this programme whatever they like to reinforce their own existing prejudices.  My own view is that one group that come over badly are the Police, and particularly the Metropolitan Police.
-Why did Cynthia Barlow have to spend her money on a private investigator to find out what happened to her daughter?
-With all the clips of bad driving shown on that film, why is that only one has resulted in prosecution (and no, the one was not the dreadful tanker on the roundabout)?  The black cab driver referred to above was guilty of driving without due care and consideration when he passed cyclists who had nothing to do with his subsequent confrontation.  As it is he is left still believing that his driving is acceptable.
- Why did the police not investigate the Bexley assault properly, leaving it to the victims to identify the assailant?
- Why did the Cycle Task Force officer depicted  (the one who did not hesitate to thread through a junction against a red light to catch an errant cyclist) allow a taxi driver, who had intimidated a variety of cyclists and passed close enough to have his cab bashed, on his way with reassurance he had done nothing wrong?  (I thought the deferential tone adopted with the driver in contrast to the silly patronising 'get a whistle' tone he adopted with the cyclist spoke volumes).  Unfortunately, as Sgt Castle of the Task Force explained to me when I met them, they do not believe in taking motorists up on close passes because they regard it as 'too subjective'.
There is no 'war' on the roads in the conventional sense or in the sense that the programme implied, with two sides fighting it out.  The death and destruction is all on one side.  We do not need 'peacekeepers' to keep the two sides apart.  There is however a battle in getting the authorities (who after all encourage us onto two wheels) to do sufficient for our protection.  Cycling is reasonably safe but it has an image problem and is often not perceived as safe.  I have recently completed my submission to the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group and have tried to emphasise that there should be a very low level of tolerance towards those who harm, endanger or threaten vulnerable road users.

47 comments:

  1. Thanks, Martin. I couldn't bring myself to watch it (rightly it seems). I had to turn Today off when they announced a stand-up comedian as putting one side of the case. It's nearly 30 years since my father was killed in an RTI and it is still hard to take some of the 'reporting' and opinion pieces.

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  2. I decided against watching it after hearing reports from people who had seen the preview. I guessed it was going to be a sensationalised, unrealistic portrayal of a "war" that simply doesn't exist.

    The reality is that incidents are few and far between, in the 2000 miles I've cycled on public roads so far this year I can count the 'oh shit' moments on my fingers.

    Sure, there are a minority of people who are careless and endanger others (and they may be on a bike or in a car, bus, lorry etc) but these represent less than 1% of road users. I guess a documentary entitled "Man cycles to work, nothing happens" wouldn't do too well for the ratings though.

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    1. wow, then you sir are very lucky indeed. I cycle every week day and I can nearly count the number of incidents on two hands EVERY DAY.

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    2. A lot depends upon where and when you cycle. I agree with the estimate that less than 1% of road users are a problem at any given moment; so on a 100 mile Sunday country ride I am unlikely to encounter a problem but on a 28 mile rush hour commute I will be passed by thousands of vehicles and will almost invariably be affected by bad driving.
      It is not the same 1% though all the time and even an averagely good driver will fall into that category some of the time. There are aggressive hostile drivers out there who need to be dealt with but so too do average drivers who are occasionally careless.
      I have a bit of a suspicion that some cyclists underestimate the bad driving they experience because they think (quite wrongly) that is is a reflection of their skills as a cyclist.

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  3. I did watch the programme initially for only a minute until my wife asked me to turn it off stating that she didn't like seeing these incidents as she knew I cycled to work and was scared for my safety - she later dreamt she was in a race with a HGV driver - so obviously stuck in her mind.
    However her curiosity got the better of her and once it was back on it was clear as a non cyclist my wife was unaware of why cyclists (including myself) don't ride in the gutter etc... So awareness needed at a more general level.
    The policeman's actions on the film did him no favours and I am sure some of that would have been in the edit, however his tome i agree was dismissive to the cyclist.
    If anything i am hoping it will cause more debate and we get a proper safe infrastructure before my 1yr old daughter is out on a bike.
    A balanced view from the post above would have not been a ratings winner unfortunately but to not look at where this is working in europe was a real missed opportunity but given the budget for London and the rest of the country should i go and buy some of my own blue paint for the roads in Berkshire where any nod to cycle provision is poorly thought out and useless for actually using a bike as a mode of transport

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    1. The whistle comment was crazy. Even the cyclist was about to laugh. It was just another case of blame the victim and the vulnerable. The latest "short skirt, you were asking for it" attitude.

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  4. I know Gaz (the cyclist in the aforementioned black cab/cyclist encounter) personally, so prejudice declared.

    I was rather irritated in how they edited this documentary to try and portray both sides as having equal weight. Anyone with knowledge of the Highway Code would know, as you point out, that the cab driver was clearly in the wrong. He did not give Gaz enough space. Instead of mentioning this, the documentary decided to focus on the slapping of the vehicle - as if Gaz was trying to start a fight, instead of legitimately giving a warning. All this happened within the first 20 minutes, so it didn't bode well for the rest of the documentary.

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    1. As Gaz himself acknowledged there were elements of his own conduct which did him no favours, but I imagine most people would fail to appreciate how intimidating it is when you start by thinking that you're about to get crushed, and then, on top of that you're subjected to that kind of threatening behaviour. Hard to stay calm and collected when the adrenalin is coursing through your veins and you're understandably scared.

      In my book he also didn't help by being the first one (in the documentary at least) to describe the situation as a "war".

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  5. Unfortunately the war is coming to the states as well. Hopefully we can solve our differences without violence and hatred. Getting cyclists off the roads means safer roads, quicker commute times, and most importantly less families short one member who wanted to plow through red lights and ride 35 MPH under the speed limit.

    Let us make sure that we use non-violent means to get cyclists off the roads, write your local and state politicians and let them know to change the laws to get cyclists off our streets. Resorting to violence is never the answer.

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    1. I do not think your nutty policy will do much for the US obesity epidemic, though, will it?

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    2. Your implication is that cyclists cause slow traffic. This is wrong on every level. Cyclists might cause some slowing of your journey occasionally, but commute times are dictated by the overall number of cars on the road network. By banning cyclists you will not do one iota to improve commute times. Banning cars would help, though.

      It's interesting how your idea of 'safer roads' means allowing motor vehicles to run unchecked by the inconveniences of responsibility. Safer roads can be achieved by designing out conflict in the infrastructure itself, as well as designing infrastructure that is fit for purpose rather than forcing everyone through the same grinder. Your hypothesis is completely flawed and your ideas are facile.

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    3. In the UK the speed limit is an *upper* limit, not a lower limit. I have little experience of driving in the US, but as far as I recall it (and this was pre- 9/11) the same rule applies. Did it change?

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    4. Fuck off yank.

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    5. They're a spoof, a bit like Bristol Traffic except they do their trolling on twitter and comments.

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    6. Funny how an innocuous comment like "lycra clad lunatic" gets deleted but apparently it is ok to say "Fuck off Yank". Depends which side of the argument you are sitting I suppose.

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  6. I haven't seen the programme yet (will watch on iplayer) but have heard a rumour that all the video of cyclists riding dangerously was from a commercially shot film six years ago featuring professional stunt cyclists, passed off as being ordinary behaviour. If so, that's shabby and misleading.

    Um, Spare The Road: couldn't you achieve safer roads more effectively by getting motorised vehicles off the road? That way you would have 2,500 fewer people killed each year in the UK, get rid of people driving 20mph over speed limits and stop anyone texting and driving at the same time? It's daft to suggest either course of action really, don't you think? We have to allow space for all road users including pedestrians.

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    1. Psychology is interesting, when there is a major train crash more people drive their cars even though it is more dangerous. Despite the fact that the statistics show that driving is a dangerous activity people feel safer in their cars because they have control of the vehicle. You're absolutely right that one way to reduce those deaths is to do away with motor vehicles!

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  7. I did not watch the programme, but I did read all the crits, and agree it seems shoddy and provocative. Just reading about it felt like pouring acid syrup over my head. As if cycling every day on London's s&^t roads with London's s&^t drivers is not bad enough, the BBC then wants me to sit and bathe in vitriol when I get home to relax.

    I am so pleased I do not pay for a TV licence.

    But anyway, this morning yet another poor cyclist in Stepney is killed by an HGV driver and another cyclist in south London is really seriously injured. Their families and friends will be grief-stricken and besides themselves with anger, I have no doubt. Readers of the Evening Standard will be wondering if they were wearing crash helmets and high-vis. The authorities will meanwhile allow this carnage to continue, as long as we allow homicidal maniacs and dozy t*&&$rs to drive huge metal missiles through our streets.

    I think the weather is affecting my mood, sorry.

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  8. Nutty he may be, Martin, but "Spare the Road" is by no means untypical. His views represent those of a sizable minority of my fellow Americans -- with this one exception: many of his coreligionists in the Church of Perpetual Automobility seem quite content, even eager, to resort to violence.

    My wife and I are car-free (a matter of income, rather than choice) in a rural county with very limited public transport. We are therefore obligate year-round cyclists. To date we've survived the best (or worst) efforts of our neighbors to kill us, but we know that our good fortune can't be counted on to last forever.

    To be sure, only a minority of the motorists with whom we "share the road" are actively malevolent -- though it is also true that a single psychopath is more than enough to write the closing chapter to either of our stories. The majority of drivers are merely indifferent or incompetent. In practice, of course, this is a distinction without a difference. A killer's motives mean nothing to the corpse.

    Nor does the law condescend to offer us any protection. When it takes notice of us at all, it is to condemn us for "obstructing traffic" or chide us for failing to cede our place on the public highway to our would-be killers. This is the reality that underpins "Spare the Road"'s self-serving homiletic. He may be devoid of moral sensibility, but he is possessed of very clear vision, indeed. And he sees which way the wind is blowing.

    The bottom line? In the States, a driver's license is not infrequently a license to kill or maim, more or less at will, without consequence to the holder. Any cyclist who ignores this inconvenient truth does so at his (or her) peril.

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    1. "Spare the Roads" is a spoof -a reflection of the US world view, one where people will pull over to just tell you off for being there. Only Australia seems worse.

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  9. Your review matches my own feelings - the program would have been better with fewer incidents, more analysis and explanation, and a conclusion that highlighted that cycling is nowhere near as dangerous, or anything like the 'war' they tried to portray.

    I would like to point out that the tanker driver in Magnatom's incident was charged, but the charges were later dropped because he was interviewed without being given the opportunity to have a lawyer present.

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  10. I believe that the tanker driver was not prosecuted because the Procurator Fiscal took the view that there was insufficient evidence corroborating his identity. It is all very curious (at least to an English lawyer) and I consider it fair to represent it as another failure of the criminal justice system.

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  11. Actually Anonymous and Martin are both right. The HGV driver in my incident did not have a lawyer present at interview. At the interview the driver admitted that he was the driver. However, a month or two later a supreme Court ruling meant that this type of interview became inadmissible. So the case was dropped as there was no other evidence collected on who was driving the HGV. In effect there was insufficient evidence to prove the identity of the driver.

    Perhaps the police could have opened it again and should have had other evidence anyway but this was one of many, many cases affected by this ruling.

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  12. Thanks for the clarification David.

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  13. Great blog post. I watched the piece just now and was directed here by a Twitter user called @Downfader.

    I think you have to remember about programmes like this is that they're primarily made for entertainment and it's always going to be about conflict. They also distort how people come across. I thought the web developer came across as an idiot, but someone on Twitter who knows him says he's a top guy and done loads to help cycling in the area. It could have been the same with the copper...?

    That said, I agree with most of the stuff you say. I still think it's a programme worth watching. If nothing else than to make you a little bit more aware as a cyclist (though I maintain the idiot riders outnumber the idiot drivers - they can just do more damage) and get to see the very courageous Cynthia Barlow, who deserves a medal.

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  14. Thanks for being the voice of justice and reason, again.

    Also: thanks for the moving and thought-provoking article in the CTC mag, unravelling our Kafkaesque system. Where to start with the myriad of built-in stumbling blocks, as institutionally engrained as they are?

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  15. The policeman was a disgrace.

    First we see him jumping red lights and cycling on the pavement, then he ignores the 4 or 5 cyclists who tell him they have been put in danger and intimidated by a driver. Honking, tailgating, jumping out and shouting is all intimidation and is ILLEGAL. Close passing is against the highway code and is dangerous driving which is ILLEGAL. The cyclists had done nothing wrong. He ignores all that in favour of calming the cyclist down and getting the driver back on his way. He is condescending to the cyclist and deferential to the driver.

    I suspect that he only rides his police bike - and no one is going to close overtake or intimidate him on that so he has no idea what it's like or how dangerous it can be to be passed by a 3 tonne unpredictable machine only inches away.

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  16. Great to see your focus on the need for the police to enforce standards for what is acceptable in endangering vulnerable road users. Let's hope the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group takes note.

    I don't condone violence, however, anyone who drives near enough to a cyclist for them to be able to punch, kick or slap the side of their vehicle, is passing too close.

    You're right that this programme was an opportunity missed. Where was the contrast with the Netherlands, where 26% of all journeys are made by bike, compared with our miserable 2%? Where was the comparison with Denmark or the Netherlands, where cycling is a viable and realistic mode of transport for anyone aged between 8 and 80 years old?

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  17. It seems that many of the cyclists who watched the programme thought it was a poor reflection of the reality of UK cycling.

    The BBC also shows programmes about topics about which I don't much recent experience.

    Should I therefore regard programmes on health care, education, nuclear power etc as equally skewed?

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  18. Some points on the program:
    1. A short bit at the end showing typical Dutch cycle commuting would have thrown the whole program into sharp relief and allowed those who don't know about their infrastructure to understand how cycling and roads can be safe and pleasant.
    2. The cycle courier bit was NOT presented as 'normal' cycling. The pre-program hype was completely uncalled for and inaccurate. I was emailed before the program by a local Sustrans rep who said 'activists are poised to complain to offcom' even though they hadn't seen the program. When I saw the program I was puzzled as to why they put it in until I realised...
    3. Has no-one spotted the very clever way the program was crafted? The initial sections highlighted the confrontations (taxi bloke vs camera geek etc). The end pieces showing everyone (drivers and cycle victims) having the same reaction to the courier race and then the revelation from the taxi driver of the loss of his grandson I found to leave us with the sense that all of the opinions and voices were of equal value and merit.

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  19. Funny but when I cycle at work in a police uniform I have next to no close passes. On my journey to and from work, close passes are common; especially from buses and taxis. It just shows that motorists are aware of how they are supposed to pass, but just don't care if they perceive that there will be no come-back on them.

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    1. Thank you Paul. That is very interesting. It fits with the enormous success some of my club mates have had with those fluorescent and blue 'POLItE' tops. It is a pity you cannot go out on duty in plain clothes but then of course you would not have the power to stop traffic. I do wish that just a handful of these drivers were prosecuted as the change from nil chance of comeback to a small risk of comeback would be sufficeint to alter the behaviour of many.

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    2. 3rdWorldCyclinginGB7 December 2012 11:02

      Exactly - that's human nature, and is why simply appealing for people to cooperate will never work.

      Campaigners - this effect needs to be investigated by official data collection because if corroborated it would be an almost iron-clad argument for a strict liability law, like in most of Europe, where cycling feels safe.

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    3. That's the SMIDGAF experience: they see you but don't care. You are in the way.

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    4. Thank you so much Paul Beard for confirming what I suspected - as awesome as it is that we have feds on bikes, they're pretty visible and drivers modify their behaviour around them.

      Paul, as I understand it off-duty police and plain clothes police can charge people for all offences, except traffic offenses where they have to be in uniform.

      Why is this, should it be changed, and what is the process for getting this changed?

      That way if you were overtaken dangerously, or if someone encroached into the cycle box next to you on your way to work you could stop them and warn them or charge them with dangerous driving.

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    5. I well remember reading an article in a motorcycling magazine about thirty years ago, about an American motorcyclist who had a 50 mile commute, and was fed up with the number of times he was cut up etc by drivers. So he painted the bike bright yellow, wore yellow leathers, a yellow helmet and had his lights on permanently. Result? No change in frequency of bad driving.

      Then he painted the bike to look like a police motorcycle, wore leathers and helmet which looked very much like police gear and had a large aeriel on the back. Result? Almost no bad driving.

      The police were seriously at fault in the programme, and the programme was seriously at fault for not examining the problem in much more depth.

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  20. Many years ago I used to chair a General Studies A Level class on the mass media. In the first session I asked students to tell us about news stories or TV broadcasts (local or national) on topics where they had personal first hand knowledge. Without exception the spontaneous theme of their accounts was the contrast between what they knew to be true within their own lives and what they saw in the media story's presentation.

    I think that experience of disjunction is very common. Journalists and programme makers are not acting as scholars or researchers (even if they have experiences of those callings). Journalists and programme makers create stories and at some point in our lives we all have to cope with the disappointment that they almost never let these stories stray into the dullness of being realistic, true or accurate in all points of detail or of general understanding.

    In the current case, a producer or commissioning editor seems to have gone way beyond the intelligent creativity that informs BBC's normal current affairs output and has chosen to produce a sensationalist and (literally) fictional work that appeared to be and was advertised as if it was what we would once have called a "documentary".

    However, it would be more interesting to consider it alongside the very moving video created by Elizabeth Price (winner of this year's Turner Prize). This was ostensibly "about" a fire in a branch of Woolworths and did use archive video of real events, as well as footage of apparently unrelated subjects and themes. The art lay in the selections, the edits and the creation of a unified whole. In a deeply creative and honest way this video offered insight, empathy, illumination and reflection that (for me) has lasted a long time.

    Viewed from this angle last night's broadcasts seems to have failed (in normal routine ways) to reflect reality and failed (spectacularly) to illuminate, present or comprehend anything about the complex realities and experiences that are puzzling and upsetting us all so much.

    To summarise - piss poor documentary, hopeless art. A beacon of ineptitude to guide us off the rocks and on to somewhere calmer.

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  21. I agree that Cynthia Barlow deserves a medal.

    From much experience of cycling thousands of miles on the Continent, there is no doubt in my mind that motorists are less tolerant here,and because most of them don't cycle, they don't understand the cyclists position, or predicament.
    Unlike here, I have never felt threatened whilst on cycling on the Continent, and I have never experienced verbal abuse over there.
    But I still cycle

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  22. Personally, as a professional cyclist - velocitycyclelogistics.com - I never learned to drive; I've always cycled or walked everywhere; I'm making a meagre living in Bristol UK; this film was pretty subued and just highlighted what I, and I imagine more so in London, professional cyclists - i.e. those who make a living out of riding in the urban environment at all times of day under varying conditions as effectively as possible - encounter throughout the day, every day, week-in, week-out. Nothing surprised me, I enjoyed what I saw. I've seen this specific alleycat stuff from start to finish years ago and was thrilled, but also saw that it was very dangerous, but take no 'moral' position on it. Contrary to the position stated in this article, I do believe that there is a conflict going on between many different road users. I don't accept the 'liberal' view that this is unreasonable; the situation is unreasonable and until that changes, then people will continue to act accordingly; what is more, it will get worse; I've no doubt about that. I want to see a good quality infrastructure for cyclists and walkers and in addition, decisions taken to make it more difficult for motorists to continue in the way that they do currently. I don't know how much more evidence that people need to be convinced that the current system - with automotive and petro-chemical lobbyists at the top of the food chain - is NOT interested, AT ALL, in the needs of cyclists and walkers and are happy to keep assimilating the energy of the campaign groups, ad infinitum. Most liberals and campaigners are not prepared to face that notion because it undermines their sense of moral superiority and self-sacrifice. Look at all that furuore around the Times safety campaign; where did it get us when the government announces spending on Transport in the Autumn statement? £42 million nationally on cycling provision. How much convincing do people need before they accept that they will NOT get Dutch style provision until they make it happen themselves. Not through parliamentary policy, Not through campaigning/lobbying, but by actually taking the matter into their own hands and working together to do it themselves. It is a battle at many points during the working day and I will continue to do whatever I feel is necessary to keep myself safe because both government and the dominant economic imperatives do not give a damn about my well-being whilst going about my business and only I will do what is best for me.

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  23. A very positive outcome from the TV entertainment show (I can't call it a documentary!) -

    http://www.magnatom.net/2012/12/back-pedalling.html

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  24. "We do not need 'peacekeepers' to keep the two sides apart."

    Actually, we do. Not because there is a "war", but quite simply because even a small mistake on the part of either driver or cyclist can result in the death, maiming or otherwise injury of the cyclist. That is why we have pavements to keep pedestrians safe after all (relatively safe, considering how many get ran over on the pavement).

    I am doing OK on my commute, even though I sometimes get bullied or intimidated by drivers, and I sometimes do stupid mistakes (who doesn't?). I just do not want to die for it. My bigger worry is that my son starts school next year, and there is no chance, not one tiny chance, that I will let hime tackle the streets as they are. It takes only one error, one idiot, and he's dead.

    If we really want a cycling revolution in the UK there is only one way: learn from the Netherlands, build the infrastructure, and keep everyone safe. Make cycling appealing for everyone, 8 to 80.

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  25. I thought many cyclists in the program did themselves no favours at all. If “Gaz” is going to go around slapping the sides of cabs because he thinks they are driving too close then he can expect trouble especially when he frequently strays out of the cycle lane himself. And what is so daft about having a whistle when driving through traffic, more chance of hearing a whistle than a silly little bell.

    I may have this wrong but the Police are permitted to go through red lights when the moment demands it. But compare the careful way in which the Police cycle officer negotiated the streets of London to the way in which some members of the public sailed around on their bicycles, headphones on in a world of their own paying no attention to their surroundings.

    There are some inconsiderate and aggressive drivers and cyclists on Britain’s roads and the roads in Britain’s cities appear to be the worse. The bottom line is there is simply too much traffic in city centers and I don’t know what can be done about that, ride on the pavement or segregated cycle lanes would appear to be the only alternatives neither of which are particularly realistic.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that the majority of fatalities (accidents) occur not in Urban environments but on D restricted country roads.

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    1. I am going to speak up for 'Gaz'. You cannot fairly criticise his riding skills. It is a shame that the programme misrepresented Cyclecraft as a technique adopted by some (impliedly eccentric) riders rather than using the opportunity to explain it to the masses.
      Slapping the side of a vehicle is an instinctive response to a vehicle that gets threateningly close. It is more effective than a whistle and it should not of course be possible for a cyclist to slap the side of a passing vehicle that has given sufficient room (also somewhat inadequately explained).
      One thing you learn with age/experience is that it is not always sufficient to be right to win an argument.

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    2. Very true: "it is not always sufficient to be right to win an argument". Especially true when only one point of view is being considered and/or represented. "Cyclecraft" maybe brilliant but how would I know about it? By paying to learn about it - great idea. The site itself does not provide enough information to make any conclusions.
      In every argument BOTH sides should be considered, if one fails to do that they end up with lopsided solution, like the one we have now – cycle lanes which are practically unusable.

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  26. I can criticise his riding skills and I do.

    I have never heard of Cyclecraft before today but the film clearly showed Gaz straying out of the cycle lane or riding within millimetres of its edge. He could have easily moved into the centre of the lane giving drivers more room to pass.

    Slapping the side of any vehicle is not instinctive it is a premeditated and aggressive thing to do in any one's book and he was lucky not to get a slap himself for it. Gaz strikes me as being all mouth and no trousers as we say oop north he certainly started back peddling pretty sharpish when that taxi driver got out of his cab.

    "One thing you learn with age/experience is that it is not always sufficient to be right to win an argument."

    Eh yes quite, very Zen. Why don't you try telling that to Gaz.

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    1. You really ought to read up at least on the basics like Cyclecraft before criticising. Your opinion is by your own admission uninformed and I will not be hosting any further comment from you.

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    2. How many (in percentage) cyclists actually follow what is being preached by Cyclecraft? I hope that one day everyone will and all drivers will start to THINK BEFORE acting.
      From my (limited) experience as a cyclist (mostly) in London I would say that many cyclists need more training, NOT more regulations or controversy.

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