Adam Rayner is apparently a motoring journalist. I have never heard of him until this week when he seemed to be all over the BBC talking about cyclists.
Such as the BBC TV interview he did here.
There was also a FiveLive "debate" featuring him saying much the same things in the TV interview.
He starts off straight away with the "cyclists going up one way streets the wrong way and jumping traffic lights" gambit, before launching into the tried and tested "the problem is the cyclists' attitudes" and then the old accountability chestnut. During which he said that cyclists were either "incompetent and stupid or arrogant and stupid". I shit you not. He also repeated this phrase on the FiveLive interview, so presumably he is quite proud of this soundbite.
Credit has to be given to Zoe Williams who, defending the cyclists, was reasonable, unflustered, intelligent and calm in the face of this complete rubbish. Which is more than I would have been.
More seriously, Adam Rayner appeared to dismiss the words of Martin Porter, who has been interviewed by the media on issues concerning police follow up of incidents involving cyclists. Adam implied that he was being paid for "taking a stance". Martin Porter is a highly respected QC. To say that he his taking a stance because he is being paid to do so is pretty rude and wasn't picked up by the interviewers at all. Who would be paying him to take this stance? I would suggest to Adam that Martin Porter is taking a stance not because some mysterious illuminati of cyclists are paying him, but because, like many of us, he is getting a bit pissed off with motorists being able to drive dangerously with little or no consequence.
When Zoe Williams tried to get the debate back to something approaching reason, Adam then launched into a strange rant about cyclists not signalling properly. Apparently in 30 years he has never seen a cyclist signal properly, according to his cycling proficiency test. Which seems somewhat of another extraordinary claim.
He concluded that some of the money "striped" from the motorists (presumably as part of the "war") should be invested in cycling infrastructure. Sounds reasonable, except I think that his idea would be to simply get cyclists off the roads so that motorists wouldn't have to worry about them. I doubt he would be interested in the type of infrastructure put in Holland or Denmark which takes space away from cars and gives it to pedestrians and cyclists.
This would all be utterly laughable, if the interviews hadn't been precipated by the high profile death of Gary Mason. At what point does the BBC think it OK to have a "debate" about cycling on UK roads which involves someone with views that they pretty much bring it upon themselves and simply counter any sensible conversation with half-baked anecdotes, innuendo, and plain old prejudice?
I do think that motoring journalists such as Adam Rayner look at high profile presenters such as Jeremy Clarkson and try to emulate. Except that Clarkson does his ranting with his tongue firmly in his cheek, and usually knows just what to get away with. I don't think Adam Rayner is able to pull off this stunt.
If Adam Rayner really wants to understand the issues cyclists face, I would be more than happy to take him around E,NE and N London to show him. Maybe he would realise why people cycle and what dangers can be caused by thoughtless or bullying tactics from some motorists. And that despite the issues, he might just enjoy it.