Sunday 23 January 2011

LBC and cyclists

Perusing the London cyclist blog, I came across a post where he participates in a phone-in on LBC  about cyclists. It is a complete ambush, and Andreas, the London cyclist blogger, valiantly tries to temper the interviewer's ranting with some reasoning, but alas, to little effect.

The blog can be found here, whilst I have embedded the actual interview below.


The interviewer starts of ranting about an anecdote ("a friend's son") contesting a fine for jumping a red light. In New York. From the inauspicious start of a "friend of a friend" anecdote based in another city in another country on another continent, the interviewer then extrapolates to brand all cyclists "arrogant" and so on.

She then moves onto the old chestnut of registration which holds all motorists accountable. Apparently. Except obviously the 10% who aren't insured in London. And, of course, the section of the other 90% who don't obey the rules. Including the large section who speed at least some of the time, and, even with our rather lax conviction rates, still manage to generate 1.8 million speeding fines per year.
Interspersed with these "bon mots" she covers such "facts" like "cyclists wear headphones more often than not" and various other "anecdotes". Anecdotes which, frankly, sound just a little made up.

Clearly these types of interview are just a waste of time. No-one manages to put their view across, all the interviewer manages to do is bully someone brought in under false pretences that has less radio experience, presumably in an effort to rile them into saying something stupid.

LBC seems to have form for anti-cyclist nonsense. Nick Ferrari  conducted an interview here where he managed, for the entire interview, to remain unconvinced that roads that can accomodate buses, taxis, cars and lorries are wide enough for cyclists.

LBC's tagline is "London's biggest conversation", which might be true, but from the evidence so far, it isn't the most coherent.

When one steps back to think about what is going on here, it is quite amazing. There appears to be such vitriol for a group of people deciding upon a particular mode of transport. For people living in other cities in Northern Europe it must be somewhat incomprehensible. I am not sure on this point, but I doubt, after a cyclist is killed, that Dutch radio then conducts a series of "interviews" where a whole load of unsubstiantiated claptrap is thrown around to cast cyclists as the biggest danger to society after terrorism. Maybe it is because 93% of Dutch people cycle at least once a week - to have a series of rants like the ones heard on LBC would be some kind of strange exercise in national self-loathing.

Maybe these rants are just the desperate attempts for attention on a local talk radio station, but the way the BBC (see Adam Rayner) also accomodates the same type of anti-cyclist rubbish without question, makes me wonder what is going on in our media to think this is all OK.


  1. James Whale was at it again tonight. Loads of generalisations and half-truths and downright lies.

  2. Doesn't surprise me. I will see if I can find it on their website.