Thursday, 23 June 2011

British Broadcasting for Cyclists

Curious.  On Monday the London SE News that tags onto the end of the 6 o'clock news did a feature on cycling outnumbering other vehicles on Cheapside, in the City of London.  They even sent a TV journalist over to stand on the pavement and talk about it.

And I, in turn, started a forum thread about it here: and cycled up to Cheapside the following day armed with a camera.  Unfortunately, it was well after the rush hour when I got there so cycle commuters were thin on the ground and there was nothing relevant worth photographing. 

Anyhow, it was from the thread I'd kicked off that I discovered, courtesy of ''EC2boy'' from Cyclists in the City that the information seemed to have been published on 19 June in the Sunday Times.  Cyclists in the City quote the ST as saying

"On Cheapside, a street in the City of London, cycles make up more than 50% of the commuter traffic, according to official data, and account for up to 42% of traffic on Southwark Bridge across the Thames. In one Bristol suburb more than one in four people cycle to work....Since Bristol was designated a “cycling city” in 2008 under a government scheme the proportion of cyclists on some of its roads has trebled. In the suburb of Ashley a quarter of people now bike to work."

So, all in all, congratulations to the British Bicyclists on Cheapside and also to the other BBC for actually covering the story on TV.

And yet....

...3 days later, Tom Edwards, ''Transport Correspondent, London,'' produces a blog entitled ''Cyclists outnumbering motorists: Strength in numbers?''  stating, amongst other things, that  ''A story has been doing the rounds about how on some roads cyclists outnumber motorists.'' but pooh-poohing such an absurd idea with this:

Having looked at the figures, one thing stood out. The figures seem to be measured only on bridges, in some cases where the cycling superhighways cross the Thames.
Now, I was a little confused as to how the BBC's ''Transport Correspondent, London'' could have been unaware of the transport item broadcast only 3 days earlier by his colleagues, the article in the Sunday Times 4 days earlier, yet attempt to assert that there was nothing to substantiate the claims of these cycling mythologists anywhere else but on the bridges, and preferably those bridges where there are occasional splashings of blue paint on the carriageway.

The  only explanation I could come up with boiled down to ''Man on Bridge with phone camera decides it's all about the bridge''

Oops, his photo is on a bus lane, not a''cycle superhighway'' anyway, so that doesn't really illustrate his thesis.

Anyhow, I thought that a little further information posted onto the comments on his blog might be useful for other readers.  So here's what I wrote:

Er, the regional programme that follows the 6pm BBC News (20/6/10) did an item on cyclists outnumbering other forms of transport on Cheapside in the City of London.  Cheapside doesn't cross the Thames.    The item appears to have been in response to a Sunday Times article on the 19th. More info here:
However, that comment was never published.  It  spent a while in ''pre-moderation'' before it was rejected.  Why?

Your comment was considered to have broken the following House Rule:

"We reserve the right to fail comments which...

Are considered to be off-topic for the discussion."
So, let's get this straight.  BBC does story.  BBC bloke on a good wage does blog contradicting said story  ''doing the rounds''.  Commenter cites BBC to contradict Blog.  Blog rejects comment as off-topic.

If you want something that breaks the ''house rules,'' here goes:

Tom Edwards, and whoever rejects comments on your blog if it's not you, read the papers, watch the BBC - you know, those guys that pay you on the public's behalf - if you say something and a commenter says ''er, that's not true'' it's not off-topic.  It simply shows that you are a useless journalist and suppressing information from other people to stop you looking like a twat does nothing at all to stop you being a twat.

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