Wednesday, 24 July 2013

More Anti-Cyclist BBC TV Programming - The Route Masters

BBC2 - The Route Masters
Quotes on cyclists from taxi drivers such as, "They all run red lights, no wait, most run red lights... no, actually they all run red lights"

Preceding a segment showing police busting red light jumpers. Fair enough, it is illegal, and immensely frustrating when people do it, but the majority of cyclists do not jump red lights. But the show was happy to run with the assumption that all cyclists jump red lights.

Or the bus driver when asked a leading question about if cyclists slow him down, "yeah, they do slow me down." Really? If every one of these cyclists was in a car, what would that do to traffic then?

The main transport groups were represented, with a camera crew following car drivers, HGV drivers, bus drivers, taxi drivers and so on, but the only interview with a cyclist (other than to ask them why they jump red lights) was one that found herself under the wheels of a bus one day. After all the anti-cyclist rhetoric throughout the show, I was pleased and annoyed in equal measure that it's taken the majority of the hour long show, for us to find someone saying, "we all just need to share the road". Coming from a cyclist who has had her legs crushed, it sounded more like a desperate plea than the sensible mantra everyone in London should adhere to.

But anyway, following the only talking head cyclist of the show one of my personal favourite quotes popped up, "Maniacs. They're all maniacs." Mix that in with the typical quote from the HGV driver that we all hear far too often, "They come out of nowhere..." The implication that we bring it all on ourselves just wound me up even more.

With the TfL representative from the show saying we want more cycling to ease congestion, the part about a critical mass really made my blood boil. These critical mass rides are often in response to a death or run of deaths. These are cyclists saying, look TfL, you want us to cycle, we want to cycle, we have the numbers, just give us the space! But when the voice over proclaimed that these thousands of cycle "activists" meet up en-masse purely for the purpose of causing misery to Londoners by forcing the roads come to a standstill. (Like the lady who was trying to drive across central London at night to get to a funeral?! How ironic that this critical mass is to prevent more funerals...) Of course the BBC were only too happy to show people who might be perceived as activists. No offence to those shown on camera, but the man in his recumbent with flags, poles and signs hanging off of it, and the disproportionate amount of facially pierced and dreadlocked cyclists we saw, it does look like these are your stereotypical "activists". It didn't show a true reflection of London's cyclists. We're not activists. We're just normal people who want to get to and from work without getting killed.

Chris

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