The BBC’s ‘War on Britain’s Roads’, purportedly showing the friction between two and four-wheeled road users, stirred up emotion and anger before it had even been aired on Wednesday night.

It didn’t help that the title looked very much like the issue was going to be over-sensationalised. “From everyday incidents that get out of hand between cyclists and motorists, to stories of near-death experiences and fatal collisions, this timely documentary shows the battle between two wheels and four has never been so intense,” said the accompanying blurb on the BBC website.

Did it turn out to be, as Ian Austin MP, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group, described it: “stupid, sensationalist, simplistic, irresponsible nonsense”?

The programme opened with a shot of Bradley Wiggins, on his way to winning the Olympic time trial in the summer, with the voiceover reminding us that even the flag-bearer of the surge in popularity of cycling in Britain wasn’t beyond being knocked off his bike. Wiggins was hit by a van whilst out on a training ride in November, and spent a night in hospital.

We were then shown footage filmed by Gareth, 24 (web developer) on his helmet-mounted camera. If his edited footage was anything to go by, he is cut up and sworn at with alarming regularity. It has to be said that Gareth wasn’t adverse to a bit of confrontation himself in his quest to maintain his space on the road. In one segment he banged on the side of a cab that he deemed to be passing into his lane. The driver stopped, and berated Gareth using words that assured him of some airtime on BBC after the 9pm watershed.

To give a balanced view, there were also segments with taxi drivers and lorry drivers giving their take on cyclists’ behaviour. In particular, they quite rightly despised those riders who jump red lights and weave dangerously through traffic.

In between the shaky clips of verbal and physical fisticuffs, there was footage of police officers trying to sort out both sides, all the while being on the roads as cyclists themselves. Much of their duty seemed to involve getting people to simply calm down and be nice to each other.

Sure enough, when everyone had calmed down a bit, got off that ribbon of tarmac and sat in the studio, most turned out to be perfectly reasonable human beings. (Although the programme makers obviously asked the cyclists to wear a cycling top and the car drivers to wear ‘normal’ clothes in a clumsy move to reinforce which side of the ‘war’ the speaker belonged to.)

The film made much of its use of head-cam footage shot by ‘real’ cyclists. However, it has come to light that the footage of cycle messengers flouting the rules of the road through London used at the end of the broadcast was actually shot in 2006 by an American film-maker, Lucas Brunelle.

On the Moving Target messenger zine forum, Brunelle was contacted earlier this year by the programme’s maker, Leopard Films, but says that he did not give full consent for the footage to be used. Either way, it was hardly the behaviour of your everyday cyclist in the same way that showing footage of a joyrider cruising at 90mph down the High Street would be representative of the average behaviour of a driver.

The most thought-provoking contribution in the whole film was in stark contrast to the van-side-banging, expletive-fuelled rants of a large portion of the footage. Cynthia Barlow’s daughter was killed whilst cycling after she was hit by a cement lorry in London. ”What happened to my daughter was not an accident, it was a preventable tragedy,” she said.

Barlow is now the chair of RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims, and has campaigned tirelessly and effectively to improve safety for cyclists, and other road users. This is someone who has coped with a great and unnecessary loss, and come out of it determined to make the roads a safer place for everyone. She bought shares in the cement company that owned the lorry that killed her daughter, and attended its AGM, where she spoke about the dangers posed by its vehicles leading directly to awareness training for drivers and safety measures being installed on their fleet.

What did the programme really tell us? That it doesn’t matter whether you’re a cyclist, taxi driver, lorry driver, bus driver or pedestrian – there are people on the roads who don’t pay attention to other road users regardless of their mode of transport, and that there are some angry people out there. The overwhelming majority of us, though, just want to get where we’re going posing the absolute minimum of danger to ourselves and others. It turned out to be less of a war, and more of a misunderstanding.

“We’re just people, sometimes people on bikes, other times people in cars, often both in the same day,” said Martin Gibbs, British Cycling’s Policy and Legal Affairs Director, in a statement issued before the programme was broadcast.

“We all bear a responsibility for the culture on the roads.”

War on Britain’s Roads: Watch the film on BBC iPlayer (external link)>>

Did you watch the ‘War on Britain’s Roads’? Tell us what you thought of the programme in the comment box below.

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  • David

    Vicki’s comment is just plain trolling so this is all she is going to get from me. Put down the glass dear.

    The mere act of riding a bicycle on GB’s roads is dangerous as we are forced to save our lives by riding to the far left which is treated as an invitation to pass us even when the drivers themselves think it is a risky thing to do. They see a helmet and think that person knows what they are doing and are not going to deviate from their line. What the drivers do not take into account are the pot holes, oil slicks, glass patches when they pass us so when we have to swerve and get taken down it is all of a sudden a matter of he swerved into me and you have no witnesses when they should have given us room and make allowances for such eventualities. Which is why lots and lots of us are now wearing camera’s. Myself included.

    If this simple act raises car insurance rates then so be it. Price the bastards out of driving and maybe then they will see what we have to go through when they are the ones that have to drive a bike to work.

    I am tired of you ignorant drivers on your phones, while you expect us to obey the law, and the police not being a presence on the road to enforce the law.

    Bringing footage to the police is a friggen joke as they won’t do anything with it so no wonder why some of us take the law into our own hands and start bashing wing mirrors off. While this act is never justified i might say that some of you drivers actually deserve it for putting our lives at risk because of your impatience. Sometimes i feel like doing it.

    SMIDNSY, or, sorry mate i did not see you, is not good enough when the person you hit is dead on the floor. But then again the law here in Britain does not think too much of us being dead on the road or some of the perps would get more than a 6 month suspended jail sentence and three points on their license for killing a cyclist. Sentences like that for dangerous and driving without due care are only an insult and put people off of cycling. Rightfully so.

    If you want to live in the UK then do not cycle. It’s that simple. The infrastructure is not there and neither is the political will to change it. A year from now this “issue de jure” will be kicked into the long grass and will have been forgotten about.

    And another 100 cyclist will have been killed………………………………….

  • David

    Vicki’s comment is just plain trolling so this is all she is going to get from me. Put down the glass dear.

    The mere act of riding a bicycle on GB’s roads is dangerous as we are forced to save our lives by riding to the far left which is treated as an invitation to pass us even when the drivers themselves think it is a risky thing to do. They see a helmet and think that person knows what they are doing and are not going to deviate from their line. What the drivers do not take into account are the pot holes, oil slicks, glass patches when they pass us so when we have to swerve and get taken down it is all of a sudden a matter of he swerved into me and you have no witnesses when they should have given us room and make allowances for such eventualities. Which is why lots and lots of us are now wearing camera’s. Myself included.

    If this simple act raises car insurance rates then so be it. Price the bastards out of driving and maybe then they will see what we have to go through when they are the ones that have to drive a bike to work.

    I am tired of you ignorant drivers on your phones, while you expect us to obey the law, and the police not being a presence on the road to enforce the law.

    Bringing footage to the police is a friggen joke as they won’t do anything with it so no wonder why some of us take the law into our own hands and start bashing wing mirrors off. While this act is never justified i might say that some of you drivers actually deserve it for putting our lives at risk because of your impatience. Sometimes i feel like doing it.

    SMIDNSY, or, sorry mate i did not see you, is not good enough when the person you hit is dead on the floor. But then again the law here in Britain does not think too much of us being dead on the road or some of the perps would get more than a 6 month suspended jail sentence and three points on their license for killing a cyclist. Sentences like that for dangerous and driving without due care are only an insult and put people off of cycling. Rightfully so.

    If you want to live in the UK then do not cycle. It’s that simple. The infrastructure is not there and neither is the political will to change it. A year from now this “issue de jure” will be kicked into the long grass and will have been forgotten about.

    And another 100 cyclist will have been killed………………………………….

  • suzanne

    Trying to find this documentary online as I missed it last week. It’s no longer available on the iPlayer. Anyone know if it’s still available online. Thanks

  • Eric D

    Good programme. Valid points that need to be made. Statistics can only provide so much comfort when someone is driving at you !

    Yes, there is scope for programmes showing glorious sunny days on traffic-free roads; looking at ways of making lorries safer; highway engineering; educating motorists of the ‘primary position’ ‘taking the lane’ (aka middle-of-the-road) ; comparing UK, France, Netherlands and Germany; debunking Road-Tax etc. But you can only do so much in an hour, and presenting the problem is the essential starting-point. I think it is clear that attitude and animosity are a large part of the problem, and worth stating that explicitly.

    LOL at the universal ‘I was nowhere near you/completely past you when you smacked my cab’ – how long do you think my arm is ? ‘A miss is as good as a mile’, or ‘as much room as a car would take’ ?

    http://www.rudi.net/node/16395
    leaks a TFL internal report suggesting it’s best not to stop at the stop line. Not clear whether the guys stopped eventually (like the ‘Thanks for stopping’ PC) or shot the junction if ‘safe’ to do so.
    I think Advanced Stop Lines and Feeder Lanes are a trap for the unwary. Now if we had Early Green Lights for bikes only, then they might help.

  • Simon

    “quite rightly despised those riders who jump red lights and weave dangerously through traffic.”

    Not sure I’ve ever seen anyone “weave … through traffic” who wasn’t filtering through stationary or very slow traffic. Which isn’t dangerous, and is perfectly legal.

  • Fran

    Has anyone noted an increase in road rage since the programme aired? I had never been involved in any unprovoked incidents until this week, when a driver suddenly took a disliking to me, and came speeding, honking and shouting after me. pretty scary stuff!

  • Geoff Powell

    This would be a good time for the 95% of cyclists (myself included) that are car drivers to educate those cyclists who are not car drivers about what car drivers find frustrating, and downright dangerous about some cyclists actions. As a start, I’d like to state that I am scared sh*tless by cyclists who undertake me at 15mph or faster as I slow down to turn left, even when I’m indicating. I’d remind cyclists to be aware of their braking distance when travelling at that speed through traffic, it’s part of the driving test for car drivers and motorcyclists but seems to be ignored by some cyclists. Cars driving at 15mph can and will stop on a sixpence so don’t slipstream them. Car drivers aren’t angels, but they don’t have eyes in the back of their heads, it’s easy to miss you at 15mph. I don’t care if you go through red lights and get wiped out, but I do have sympathy for the car driver who has to live with the guilt killing someone with a death wish. I also have little sympathy for cyclists who ride up the inside of moving cars that are indicating left, use your common sense! These are just two examples of the actions of cyclists who seem to have no regard for their own safety. I see both of these, regularly. I cycle daily in Oxford, where most students have no lights and no road sense. I’m surprised there aren’t more serious injuries than there are. I agree with the comments from Usman, and Nick Cavill. Look after yourself first, cycle defensively, listen for the car with the loud stereo, watch the guy who is in a hurry, slow down a little and turn down your ipod, better still turn it off. The guy who punched the cyclist will punch the next car driver who objects to his driving, he’ll always be a prat and he’ll always be there. Take care and look after yourself first.

  • Fred

    I could only watch some of this ‘documentary’ as it made my blood boil, not just because of the aggressive drivers and their clear hatred of cyclists (so many were cabbies and truckers – what a surprise!), but because of the programme being deliberately sensationalist. It was the TV equivalent of trolling. A more sensible documentary would look at practical means to make roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians alike, with particular reference to countries such as Denmark where cycling is a standard way of getting around, and not seen as a pathological intrusion onto the roads.

    I was recently in Copenhagen where everyone and her auntie rides, because the road system is designed for cyclists and pedestrians as well as motor vehicles. Cyclists have their own lanes and traffic lights, and have equal rights with other road users. As a result, they feel safer, and it was noticeable that all ages and abilities were on the roads, from kiddies to grannies and all folk in between. It was also noticeable that helmets (whatever you think of them) were worn by a minority of cyclists, again because the roads were safe.

    Compare Copenhagen to London. Would you see children on bikes on London roads? Would you see old folk? Rarely. Because London roads have become the province of aggressive drivers and hard nut cyclists.

  • Colette

    I did notice the next day after the programme aired on BBC that during the morning on my normal rural commute the drivers seemed enraged. I normally do not have any problems but it seemed that it had really irritated most drivers. They seemed really aggressive. The evening cycle ride home I got tooted twice – really very unusual.

    I often find on a Friday evening many car drivers can pull some scary stunts and I have been shouted at for no reason and tooted at to get out off the road.

    I think more cyclists needed on rural roads and then the driver may go the longer way around in future rather than the cut through rural ‘rat runs’.

  • mark smith

    The highway code says vehicles should give cyclists a “vehicle’s width” of clearance when over-taking. This never happens on main/city roads. How the taxi driver at the start of the clip could defend being a bit close when he was 6 inches from a cyclist is inexcusable.
    Cyclists cannot always be in the cycle lane if they need to make a right turn at a junction or if there’s a bus/delivery vechile blocking the cycle lane. The guy Gaz while infuriating cars is perfectly entitled to be in the middle of the road as much as a car is if he’s not holding up traffic significantly (he said he was often riding at 25-30mph). In the clip shown at the time there was a double-white line in the middle of the road meaning it was not safe to over-take – even a cyclist! A driver going too slow and taking a driving test in the same way you would get a small tick on your driving test (not a fail) if you were not keeping up with other traffic where it was safe to do so. But this guy seemed capable of keeping up with traffic.

  • stuart stanton

    There’s a lot of them, “comments” possibly a record for this feature, shows what the uniting concern of most cyclists is, if nothing else. Certainly makes all the squealing about doped Americans sound so pathetic. All we want maybe is to be able to go out for an hour or so, include a traffic free section – lucky man, I have the splendour of Temple Newsam Park, Leeds each day – and get home without swearing and cursing at other road users. Ho,hum and a Merry Xmas

  • pete

    I read elsewhere that the CTC said the programme had been edited and modified at the last moment. Quite frightening to think the progarmme might have been more extreme.

  • Mark Jones

    Oh Vikki you silly little troll or Daily Mail reader. I hope you don’t also moan when the roads are gridlocked in bad weather as these cyclists are forced to used back in their cars (yes that’s right Vikki most of us have cars too).

    Perhaps we should all be banned as this would do wonders for the nation’s health and the roads would be so much quieter and stay in a much better state if we all switched from those heavy bikes to the lightweight cars that we can lift over our heads.

    Come on Vikki come back and defend yourself against all the above comments.

  • William

    Car and van drivers have no right to use their vehicle as a weapon or to endanger a cyclist or pedestrian. Regardless of what the cyclist did, attempting to or causing injury is illegal and the driver should be automatically prosecuted. No need for new laws, there are plenty that are applicable. There was a letter recently in CW where a cyclist was knocked off her bike and someone chased the driver and confronted him. The driver’s excuse was that it was her fault he knocked her off! He should have been reported and charged with assault and leaving the scene of an accident. It was a hit and run. The police are too soft when it comes to road accidents and because of that cyclists are more vunerable.

  • Ian

    The programme adopted a sensationalist tone in its title and layout, not least for failing to call out the courier race for what it was – and when it was.

    Beneath that there was a lot of decent coverage that got across just how scary riding a bike in London can be. For that it was actually – mostly – a decent programme. The petrol tanker incident, fights, police chase and the like got across some of what its about. Standing out most those was Cynthia Barlow – excellent reasoned coverage.

    Cyclists can make mistakes and be idiots – but so can everyone else. Shots of people stepping into cycle lanes without looking show a much under reported problem too. We build cycle paths – and pedestrians think they’re theirs to use too.

    The troll Vikki above – who I see hasn’t bothered to come back to reply to anything – should get her facts straight before commenting: the truck was doing the overtaking it seems.

  • Alan smith

    People stepping in to your path are causing a lot of accidents,”I didn’t hear you”is their excuse as it is the cyclist who comes off worst usually they (the J walker) does not learn to be aware of cyclists.they won’t be so lucky when hit by an electric vehicle.

  • John

    Flesh and bone will always come second to rubber and metal.

    Gareth and Traffic Droid are both going out of their way to find confrontation, not avoiding it. Often it’s better to cycle defensively rather than aggressively as it is unimportant that you were in the right when you’ve been squished. The lawyer and the Glasgow rider, however, were victims of very bad people and driving. I’m surprised the Vinnie Jones look-a-like isn’t in jail; he should be. Cynthia Barlow can only be commended for her road safety efforts after her daughter’s death. If anything, I’d like to see the her work extended to all HGVs and busses.

  • Christine Jones

    I thought the documentary wasn’t a fair representation at all. Too much of it was aimed to be entertainment with a sensationalist mixture of humans maybe they thought were telly worthy. Such a shame that the BBC almost completely ignore the issue of cycling in the UK. Cycling is practically ignored by the BBC and every once in a while they do something like this.

    Why not follow a 41 year old mother of two cycling to school with her kids in Cambridgeshire? I see idiots in cars every day too and I follow the rules of the road and have been cycling on busy roads since I was a 9 year old commuting through Reading on a Tandem with my Dad. Maybe not telly worthy but there are alot of parents not happy about trying to teach their kids to cycle safely. You can only be as safe as the moron in a lethal weapon in a hurry to get their kids to school on time.

    I moved to London in 2000, I was 30 years old and had been cycling every day in Holland for 10 years prior to that with no accident or incident other than a couple of scratches caused by icy cobble stones, or bike failure (my bottom bracket snapped). In the 5 years I cycled up to 100 miles a week round Central London. Within two months I’d been hit by a car turning right, a hit and run, I had 5 stiches in my head, concussion, a broken collar bone and multiple broken ribs.

    The driver was caught but was never charged, despite leaving me for dead. I was back on my bike within 5 weeks – I’d lost my job due to my injuries preventing me from working and it was the only way I could afford to get around – the new bike was a 2nd hand one for £100 and it paid for itself probably within a month of not needing to use public transport. In 2000-2005 I was knocked off three times by a cement mixer, a van and a car, all over took me at speed and directly turned left, I had not undertaken them I was simply cycling along and they took the bend as if I wasn’t there. In all cases, I felt it coming and dove off the bike onto the pavement, a technique I didn’t expect to have to practice. I was clipped numerous times by van’s mirrors – on roundabouts, just cycling along the road, not weaving between traffic or doing anything unexpected. I had lights, hi-viz and wore a helmet. I nod or wave to thank courteous drivers and my experience of bus drivers and taxi drivers was on the whole, very positive.

    My style of cycling was to pootle along, always stop at lights, never undertake or filter through traffic, especially not buses or lorries. The problem is in London, even if you don’t filter and weave, they are coming past you and round you and don’t always regard you as a vehicle in a lane. Especially vans and lorries, not all, but the 10% mean as a cyclist they should all be treated like homicidal maniacs.

    What this programme completely failed to acknowledge or discuss is that a vehicle is a lethal weapon and that these lorry drivers never get prosecuted for taking a life.

    What cyclists in the UK aren’t ready for is we should be taking bikes off roads with HGVs where speeds exceed 20mph. Roundabouts should have proper cycle paths with right of way and in many cases traffic lights for bikes. Anyone who has used Dutch roads will testament to the fact that you really don’t miss being on the road with fast moving vehicles as a cyclist because the paths make sense and all join up. Shared paths are rare too, Pedestrians should not have to share with cyclists either.

    Holland didn’t have the infrastructure it has now until the 70′s, it was a massive campaign by cyclists and parents called ‘stop child murder’ that kick started it after a huge increase in fatalities caused by the increasing popularity of the car in the 60′s. I am part of the movement in the UK in 2012 that will see that my kids won’t have to share 60mph roads with vehicles.

    Maybe the biggest difference is the law – in Holland, if you hit a cyclist in a motor vehicle you are always to blame and will be prosecuted – you have the lethal weapon after all. Lethal weapon, yes lethal weapon. Does that make sense? I think so. The government also design roads so that drivers don’t feel victimised by this. Big wide fast cycle paths that go everywhere without needing to go anywhere near a car. It’s absolute heaven if you love to cycle, even in big Cities and it can be done here! it would take a decade or two but there really isn’t any reason why not.

    The fact that there are companies that accidentally kill a person a year and don’t get closed down is just wrong! It took that mum buying shares to get an audience with them! Our roads kill people by the dozen, any train company or airline would be closed in a blink of an eye.

    This is what the BBC should be asking! this was entertainment, like traffic cops, not what it claimed, a serious look at ‘the state or Britain’s roads.

  • sam

    It was very one sided in my opinion. “cyclists are asking for it”? How? Roads are revolved around metal boxes. If there was a PROPER cycle path alongside every road then it will prevent accidents. Drivers should realize that they don’t need to rush around squeezing other road users out the way. Cyclists travel slower, on average, than drivers. YET in cities they can get places so much quicker. Give us space, get out of your vehicle and stretch your legs. Half of you only carry a bag or briefcase, you don’t need a car to drive across a multi-mile long city.
    The world is evolving, pedestrians and cyclists are multiplying, as are cars, but in a world that is acquiring an ever-increasing waistline it should be common sense that getting out and using your legs is the best form of transport, keeping fit and saving the planet.
    P.s. the woman at the end on the cycle path was at fault. It was a vary wide cycle path and she jumped to the other side.. for WHAT reason? She didn’t look behind her. What if a driver did that; they changed lanes unexpectedly? think of those consequences and apply them to a pedestrian vs cyclist scenario.
    The ‘currier race’ is an urban, illegal race. It is NOT an everyday commute. Don’t refer to it.

  • scttgrn

    Think you’ve upset them Vikki.

  • phil j

    Just like to say, most of these helmetcam close misses/confrontations that are posted on youtube attract the most awfull comments from trolls/Keremy Clarkson types with absolutely no empathy for fellow human beings and it sickens me to the core to be sharing this world with them.
    I myself try and cycle responsibly within the law whilst trying to keep my own safety utmost. But i can only marvel at the self control of some of those cyclists that get berated or assaulted for daring to complain about almost being maimed or killed by inconsiderate motorists. Just hope nobody ever takes a swing at me or it,ll end badly as i,ve got a very short fuse and dont take kindly to any physical threats. Motorist have to remember that when they set foot out of their “IRON MAN” costumes they become mortal again and loose their superpowers!

  • Andrew Croft

    I think that this was a very important, much needed programme. The lethal driving and murderous aggression of some car drivers, as well as the reckless anti social behaviour of some cyclists shown are neither exaggerated nor are they exceptional. As a cyclist I regularly come under extreme threat from atrocious driving and have suffered what can only be termed attacks from car drivers on numerous occasions. I also witness outrageous behaviour by cyclists. The drivers and cyclists who commit these transgressions and cause these problems might be a minority but there’s enough of them for me to experience or witness something akin to what the programme showed on almost a daily basis. There is a problem and quite frankly I think that the programme was balanced and valuable. It seems that some people ‘in cycling’ have condemned this programme for either being alarmist and deterring new cyclists or for presenting cyclists in a bad light. To pretend that there is nothing wrong and ask people ‘to come on in, the water’s lovely ‘ is delusional. To ignore the fact that there is a significant minority of cyclists who contribute to, if not cause the problems that plague us is in fact unbalanced. Far better that the problem is highlighted in the hope that something is done about it. I applaud the BBC for making the film and I can’t understand why any other cyclist wouldn’t.

  • John

    Just out of interest was the guy who hit the rider chanrged with stealing the car as well???? if not was the owner of the car charged with perverting the course of justice or wasting police time???? after all they said it wasn’t the owner of the car driving… so if it wasn’t stolen he must of known who it was and didn’t tell the police?!?!?

  • Barny

    I’m not saying that cycle lane are ideal, But on the film the cyclists were all over the place Some in the cycle lanes with others between cars in other lanes. I ride away from the gutter as, yes it is safer than those that timidly suffer the drains and potholes. I imagine when driving with cyclists all around you some riding badly some confidently in the middle of a bustling city must be pretty difficult.

  • Dave Dalziel

    I feel that the programme, although ‘sensation seeking’ ended by showing that both sides have a point, there are bad, inconsiderate drivers and cyclists. It just makes me glad I do not have to do my riding or driving in a major city and be exposed to the kind of incidents shown. Education and tolerance is the key to all this I feel. By starting to form the correct attitudes in both homes and schools better toleranceof other people should be a matter of course.

  • Mike

    Not a good joke Vikki. If it was not a joke you should be ashamed of yourself, or institutionalised.

  • Helen

    “It seemed that the cycle lanes werent always being used, because maybe those using them are too slow for the faster commuter. Isnt that the same level of impatience and intolorance that the offending cyclists are blaming the motorist for? ”

    I have to confess I didn’t watch the doc, and I might not as I like my blood pressure where it is. So this is a general comment about the use of cycle lanes rather than a specific one about what happened in this programme.

    According to the Highway Code, cyclists should use cycle lanes where “practical”. NB this is very different to using lanes where “possible”. Cycle lanes are rarely practical and often put the cyclist in the gutter. This is downright dangerous and encourages poor overtaking. In busy cities, you are often better off just staying in the middle of the traffic lane and moving with the rest of the traffic. That way you are out in front of drivers, where they expect you, not trawling along in the gutter where they have a nasty habit of mowing you over. And it’s very easy to keep up with cars in busy traffic.

    In fact, iirc, somewhere there is some legislation that recommends that faster cyclists go on the road rather than cycle paths but I’d need to check that. Even so, it is still a myth that a cyclist *must* use a path if one is there. Cyclists use the road by right and if a cycle path is narrow, slow, potholed, poorly maintained and covered in glass, you are better off on the road.

  • peter

    Nothing new plenty of that stuff on you tube.

  • Sam

    I’m amazed at your comment Vicki…
    … I don’t have a computer in my kitchen.

  • Danny Copues

    If it has done nothing else it has certainly opened up a great deal of debate and opinion.

    I understand from the twitter storm that followed the programme that Gareth was badly misrepresented. I actually think that getting in to confrontation with anyone is the wrong way to go about things. Among Gareth’s you tube clips there is one where a guy pulls out on him and the guy apologises, they have a brief, polite exchange and he cycles on. BBC weren’t interested in that footage though.
    I don’t react angrily anymore when commuting as my blood pressure would be through the roof by the time I got to work. Also if someone shouts and swears at you, you are more likely to react in the same way. I try and get some acknowledgement from drivers who have put me in danger that I’m actually there which sometimes works, other times not as some people including cyclist have the old “Me 1st” attitude.

    I have also read some interesting articles on the SMIDSY concept http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilot-teach-cyclists/

    And also on attitude forming by a minority of peoples behaviour which applies to both cyclist and motorists http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2012/09/cyclists_are_annoying_why_you_think_they_re_a_menace_on_two_wheels_.single.html#pagebreak_anchor_2

    Something I find astonishing is cyclists wearing head phones. I don’t see the point of depriving yourself of one of your senses when you are already in a vulnerable position.

    I see why cyclist get angry as what is at stake should a collis0oin occur is far greater for a cyclist than a motorist.

    The police on bikes are a great tool to stop cyclists doing what the shouldn’t.

    The real plus point for me was Cynthia Barlow and the success of her campaign following the tragic loss of her Daughter. A very inspiring woman.

  • dai bamanas brother

    Darts, (see above) every time, Pnawn da Signed DBB (48years an active club cyclist still in one piece)

  • CHRIS

    This is the first time I have commented on anything on-line but this program was the most one-sided and biased program I have ever seen,
    Most of the cyclists shown were taking unnecessary risks but just riding in the conditions shown is a risk in itself.
    No mention was made of the obvious fact that the there is no provision for the segregation of cyclist and cars in towns and cities (and by segregation, I mean that cars CANNOT get on to or near cycle paths – a white line 18″ from the curb or being giving the ‘priviledge’ of being allowed to use bus and taxi lanes does not count). Until it is, this carnage will continue.
    I personally would not cycle in London or any other town. All my riding is done on quiet country roads and I still get my life put at risk at least once a week. Again, no mention of this.
    Yet another new low for BBC reporting.

  • Nigel

    A normal Panorama sensationalist programme which did neither side of the argument any good.
    The cyclists used with the exception of the lawyer and Scottish riders were complete idiots who with a little forward planning and tolerance could easily have avoided their confrontations. If you go looking for trouble don’t be surprised when it comes and finds you.
    The poor girl who died when caught out by the lorry turning left was at least in part to blame for her demise, what was she doing on the inside of a large vehicle where there was the prospect of it turning across her path. That said it is good to see her mother has managed to get help/awareness measures for the lorry drivers.
    Overall it was just an hour of typical sensationalist reporting.

  • kingrollo

    Vikki,

    You are incorrect. The cement mixer overtook the cyclist – she wouldn’t have had any choice but to be where she was.

  • Hovis

    If cyclists ride badly they get hurt. If drivers drive badly cyclists get hurt, (and pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.) How often does a motorist die or get seriously injured because of bad cycling! On my 20 mile commute I average 5 ‘incidents’ of poor driving, either deliberate or unintentional, that are serious enough to potentially cause me harm if I’m not alert. The thing that’s going to harm me on my commute is not another cyclist, but an irresponsible motorist. These drivers may well be ‘the minority’, but their numbers are significant enough to be a real threat to every cycle journey I make.

  • Usman

    I started cycling to work, a few years ago and I can confidently say that it has made me a better car driver. I am more aware of cyclist and other slower moving vehicles around me. Perhaps cycle trainning should become a requirement for the driving test. Just a thought.

  • barny

    I watched the documentory this morning on iplayer, mainly because it was about cycling which i love. I finished watching it however, with more questions about the right and wrong or who was to blame than I had before. Luckily i dont have to cycle in London or in a major city so I may be slightly ignorant of the reasoning behind the cyclist actions in some cases.
    The problem seems to be that ‘the motorist’ in general thinks that the road belongs to them. Whereas the emerging and increasing numbers of cyclists want to take part of that percieved ownership from them. Surely as cyclists we need to be responsible for our own actions first and then maybe the motorist will. It seemed that the cycle lanes werent always being used, because maybe those using them are too slow for the faster commuter. Isnt that the same level of impatience and intolorance that the offending cyclists are blaming the motorist for?
    As for the cement truck incident, i dont see that having a blind spot as large as one side of your vehicle is any excuse for hitting or even in this case killing someone. I was very pleased to see though that the company responded with such speed, even though they had been killing at least one driver per year! Scary stuff.

  • Ian Thompson (yes, another one)

    @Mark “In germany, there are a vast majority of foot/cycle paths with half one colour for cycling the other half for pedestrians which have a verge seperating this path from the road. Its about time we had something similar”

    Indeed, the whole infrastructure and mindset of drivers is completely different. Drivers are
    generally more tolerant and understanding because the bicycle is much more of a general form of transport used by all sections of German society.
    Also, German law is such it assumes that in the case of a collision between young or elderly and a vehicle, the motorist is usually judged to be entirely at fault. Even in the case of an illegal manouevre by a cyclist, the motorist is almost always judged to be partly at fault.
    Sadly until our government sees fit to change the law over here to something more in line with the German model I don’t see the current state of affairs changing anytime soon.

  • CP

    Just wondering why my comment was ignored.

    Doesn’t matter. It probably was complete rubbish.

    Probably as bad as this comments system.

  • graham koster

    The BBC have done it again… focussing on pure sensationalism to gain viewing figures. As a regular biker – both powered and pedalled – I think this easy-peasy reality TV unfortunately lives on in the viewers mind and becomes yet another unwarrented fear alongside all the other things the media feeds us with. I’d like tio say I’m unaffected but those repeat, repeat servings of a bereft mother don’t eaily go away, even when you know in your own mind that cycling – especially in London – can present certain risks. Are we so risk-averse that we prefer to just sit mindlessly at home in fron of a screen and watch others enjoy themselves on our behalf…? But this idea of cameras on the helmet is truly bizarre… and I have seen it for myself.. Big Brother has better things to do nowadays as he has delegated the job to… US!

  • Andy Thompson

    Traffic Droid! Legendary Bell End!!!

  • paul

    Its really not that difficult a principle to understand.
    Driving more carefully around cyclists and giving them more space will result in less casualties which is what we all want surely?
    The non issue of cyclists riding like idiots is by the by, I don’t really care if people argue nor if cyclists that are riding like idiots get hit by cars/hit cars. Road rage is annoying but not to be compared to death. Which is what often happens when a vehicle hits a cyclist. Just give them space even if they are riding like dicks.

  • Mark

    Vikki – Firstly lets get the facts correct, its not a road its a carriageway and bicycles are carriages and have every right to be on the road. With coments like that,I am not even sure you deserve to be allowed out in public let alone on the road.

    Now I am a cyclist, a car driver and a motorcyclist and pedestrian and have been invloved in accidents with all 3 vehicles. The worst being the motorcycle having been knocked of by vehicles pulling out either in front or into the side of my bike. I have also been run of the road by a hgv on a pushbike with scars to prove it and nearly killed crossing the road with my wife, daughter and dog by a vehicle driving in excess of 80mph in a housing estate.

    The issue we have is the number of vehicles and the ease in which people can buy a licence. Its time the government who are happy to tax us to the hilt for high emmision vehicles gave the option of using a safe and seperate cycling network around the whole country. In germany, there are a vast majority of foot/cycle paths with half one colour for cycling the other half for pedestrians which have a verge seperating this path from the road. Its about time we had something similar.

  • nick cavill

    Thanks CW for a very balanced review of a quite unbalanced documentary. I was planning to spend the evening shouting at the telly (having read some of the pre-criticisms) but I was surprised to find myself shouting at some of the cyclists on the programme instead of the car drivers. In my opinion the answer to any problems we may have on the roads is not abusive vigilantism protected by a headcam.

  • White Rose

    Dear Vikki

    You must have been watching a different programme to me as I only saw CCTV stills of the incident in which the young lady was killed. It was impossible to say whether the cement lorry was indicating or not. Therefore for you to claim that her death is a reasonable outcome to this incident is quite unacceptable. Unfortunately pointless deaths on roads are not avoided by there being no cyclists present; if this was the case then motorways would never have a single collision occur on them. I think you need to consider what you say before making such immature comments as “if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it” and realise that there are people using cars, lorries, motorbikes and bicycles that are inconsiderate and dangerous.

  • dai bananas brother

    There we are then, warned you all the other day it was going to be over-the-top and as much worth as a flat tyre on Alpe d’Huez. The darts match, on the other hand, was an asolute brammer, Dai’s Missus was last leg on her throws but she got touched off by the equivalent of a Cav special sprint. Phew!!

  • Robert

    Vikki wrote:

    “personally I feel if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it.”.

    Hmmm, Much the same argument as saying that females who dare to venture out whilst looking attractive or wearing revealing clothing are asking to be raped. It also about as defensible…

    Even ‘Cycle Craft’, the official safe cycling handbook, says that cyclists passing down the left hand side of slower moving or stationary vehicles is acceptable practice. In reality a much bigger problem are those drivers who insist on overtaking cyclists and then immediately turning left across their paths. I also wonder how removing cyclists from the roads would prevent the thousands of ‘pointless deaths’ and hundreds of thousands of injuries suffered by motorists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and so on.

    As to where all this hostility towards cyclists comes from, it has been well documented by bodies such as the Transport Research Laboratory that the key problem is that the majority of drivers treat cyclists as being members of a low-status ‘out group’. As such cyclists are subject to the sort of irrational prejudice and discrimination that all out groups tend to experience at the hands of more dominant social groups. This is especially the case in societies that are themselves hierarchical and inequitable, such as the UK, and amongst individuals with a pronounced ‘right-wing’, ‘hierarchical’ or ‘Authoritarian’ outlook on life. It is no coincidence that it is publications such as The Daily Mail that tend to be the ones most filled with irrational anti-cyclist hatred!

    It is also worth bearing in mind just where such attitudes can lead, given the right social situation. ‘Vikki’ has taken the first step in wanting to see cyclists ‘eliminated’ from the roads. Others have been willing to ‘extend the logic’ further, to paraphrase Primo Levi. For example, Richard Tomkins writing in The Financial Times of October 26 2007 said ‘In my opinion, anything that stops cyclists breeding is to be welcomed as an unmitigated good’. Some are even willing to fantasise about a ‘final solution’ to the ‘cyclists problem’, such as Emma Parker-Bowles who, in an article in The Sun of 7th April 2006 entitled ‘I hate cyclists’, said that what was ‘needed’ was ‘a natural extermination process’ for cyclists.

    I think that the journalist J.S. Dean was spot on when he wrote in 1947 that ‘If you scratch a [motoring] road hog, you will find a fascist’, and unfortunately no amount of painting cycles lanes on the road will do anything to change human nature.

  • Ian

    “Vikki
    December 06 00:42
    this documentary only managed to reiterate why cyclists should no longer be allowed on roads. the girl that got hit by the cement lorry should not have been undertaking she bought it on herself. one thing as a driver that irritates me most is cyclists who undertake. if you cut down the left side of a vehicle it is your own fault. it is dangerous for the cyclists but not fair on the drivers who have to live with the guilt even if its the cyclists own incompetence as a road user! if there were no bikes on the road then pointless deaths would be avoided! personally I feel if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it.”

    Says it all really, what chance have you got when there are people about with sentiments like this, talk about “blaming the victims” :(( All most “road users” want to do Vicky is get from a to b safely and with a bit of respect and tolerance shown, irrespective of method of transport

  • Ian Thompson

    Staggering comments from Vikki. If she is really so anti Cyclist why seek out Cycling Weekly other than to pick a fight ?
    To blame someone for their own tragic death shows an alarming lack of sympathy, every road death is a tragedy regardless of circumstances.
    We can only assume that Vikki is a faultless motorist who always obeys every letter of the Highway Code and never makes a mistake. I wish I were so perfect !

  • Nic

    Troooollllololol

    Don’t feed her folks.

  • Helen

    Vikki, are you trolling? The majority of the journeys I make on my bike are essential for me. So if I were not on my bike I would be in a car, causing even more of a jam. If you remove cyclists from the roads, you will make congestion worse. You will also cause the nation’s health to deteriorate. The roads are jammed and people are getting more and more obese – why on earth would you want to ban something that solves both of these problems?

    Can you be specific about what you mean by undertaking? Or do you simply mean moving up in the left hand lane? I agree that cyclists should not move up on the left hand side of any vehicle that is indicating left. But do you know how many drivers don’t indicate? And do you realise how obscene it is to blame someone for their own death?

    As a driver, you need to use your indicators. You also need to check your mirrors. You are in charge of a large, heavy machine that can easily kill people. So before you manoevre it, check that it is safe to do so. Don’t just drive it where you feel like without any consideration and then blame innocent people you mow down.

  • Sam

    Vikki, I can only imagine that you either a troll or you’ve been mistakenly directed to this site thinking its actually the Daily Fail.

    ‘Personally I feel if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it’ – straight out of the same textbook of ‘women who wear short skirts and dress provocatively are asking to be raped’

    Pathetic.

  • chris

    “the girl that got hit by the cement lorry should not have been undertaking she bought it on herself”

    So a cyclist dies and the first thing you do is victim blame. Not even a moment to ask yourself, “Considering the lack of visibility from lorry cabs, how can we reduce the number of these incidents?”

    Why do you think that cyclists go up the left hand side of vehicles? DO you think that it might have anything to do with how the infrastructure is designed? Next time you’re out, have a look at where the road layout force cyclists to go: either into the gutter or up the lefthand side of vehicles, especially when approaching junctions. You will then grasp that our roads are death traps before we even begin to put undertrained cyclists and drivers on them.

    Your comment only managed to reiterate why ignorant people should no longer be allowed on the internet. We need to have compulsory testing and licensing so those who fall below a competent level of intelligence can only post to contained places like Facebook, where there is an expected drop in quality.

  • |J|D

    Empty, sensationalised nonsense. I cycled for 15 years in London and while dangerous from time time time never encountered the sort of aggression shown in the film.

    As to the behaviour of cyclists, some of it could be reckless but the same was also true of car and van drivers. The major difference is that cyclists get killed or injured when the two worlds collide, car drivers don’t.

    If you cycle in any city you just have to expect to be second best on a road shared with cars. Usually that’s simply because they cant see you or make an error of some sort. It doesn’t mean they are out to get you.

  • Graham

    Well Vikki, I hope you can live with guilt of that public comment. That shows an appalling lack of tolerance. Terrible sensationalist documentary though. The use of the courier race benefitted nobody.

  • James

    You get almost killed. You have film evidence and what do the police do about it …..nothing. No fine no driving education classes.

    Is it any wonder you want to take matters into your own hands – then who ends up getting a criminal record ?

  • reg

    Ah, Vikki, the voice of the intolerant driver. The kind every road user fears. As a cyclist, I have every right to be on the road as a car, motorbike, horse and cart, whatever. It does not belong to cars – you need to get that idea out of your ignorant head because it is that belief that results in more accidents than anything else.

    Regarding the program, it cast everyone in a bad light, cyclists, drivers, the law especially.

    I ride 200-300 miles a week and not a day goes by when I am not nearly knocked off by an impatient or unaware driver. I also see cyclists jumping lights, kerb hopping, many riding without lights, helmets or reflective gear, and it is infuriating.

    But for me the biggest contributor to the problem is the road network itself (where I am especially). It is in a severe state of disrepair, in the winter very badly maintained, poorly marked, and a big shortage in cycle lanes. I spend most of my commute having to dodge ever increasing numbers of potholes, which unavoidably puts me in the line of fire. Most of my commute is done on back country roads, which are unlit, unpoliced and treated like a race track by cars. I try to stay away from the main roads but they are so congested that many commuter drivers have taken to the back roads as shortcuts, and will do anything to get home as fast s they can.

    I respect drivers by trying not to be an obstacle where possible, but I will not be forced off the road by pressure. I go out of my way to stay off the main commuter routes, and all I ask is a bit of understanding that I have no other option than to ride the roads I do.

    Vehicles and riders need to learn to be more tolerant of each other, but the government, councils and law enforcement really need to pull their fingers out as they are massively contributing to the problem.

  • Marc

    Vikki – “if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it” when “it” is death or severe injury is probably taking this a little too far. But I see you typed this comment at twenty to one in the morning so perhaps you had had a few glasses of something before commenting.

  • Travis

    I will not lower myself to respond to Vikki’s comments as she is obviously ignorant to the world around her but what I will say is that there is good and bad on both sides.
    I personally find that pedestrians are a bigger danger due to reglegance crossing roads, whether not looking when crossing a road or crossing while a bike approaches!

  • Vikki

    this documentary only managed to reiterate why cyclists should no longer be allowed on roads. the girl that got hit by the cement lorry should not have been undertaking she bought it on herself. one thing as a driver that irritates me most is cyclists who undertake. if you cut down the left side of a vehicle it is your own fault. it is dangerous for the cyclists but not fair on the drivers who have to live with the guilt even if its the cyclists own incompetence as a road user! if there were no bikes on the road then pointless deaths would be avoided! personally I feel if you cycle on the roads you are asking for it.

  • Phil Masters

    Using some prats and some sensible people from “both sides” I think the paragraph:

    “What did the programme really tell us? That it doesn’t matter whether you’re a cyclist, taxi driver, lorry driver, bus driver or pedestrian – there are people on the roads who don’t pay attention to other road users regardless of their mode of transport, and that there are some angry people out there. The overwhelming majority of us, though, just want to get where we’re going posing the absolute minimum of danger to ourselves and others. It turned out to be less of a war, and more of a misunderstanding.”

    Is all that the programme told us, I have a 7 mile (each way) urban commute each day and find most drivers ok but the occasional thoughless, inconsiderate or aggressive driver is always the one I notice most. I drive and walk too and am appaled by some cyclists on the road or worse on the pavements – no lights, no consideration etc.

    As a cyclist I know I will always come off worst in a collision so I have to ride slower than I should have to sometimes ‘just in case’, unfortunately until we get proper segregated cycling lanes that will always be the case.

    That said driver education/awareness clearly helps – Cynthia Barlow has demonstrated this, the best part of the programme to my way of thinking. We all have different views but those are min.