War – what is it good for?

If the intention of last week’s War on Britain’s Roads programme was to stir controversy and reinforce stereotypes, then the BBC should be congratulated.

It’s almost as though cycling is getting just too damn popular, so it was time to broadcast some anti-bike propaganda. If so, it was another success for Auntie.

When the pre-show blurb reads: “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,” you know you’re in for 60-minutes of sensationalist nonsense.

It shouldn’t matter, this was only a silly TV show, but unfortunately there are too many idiots out there who simply want their prejudices reinforced. Casting bike riders as subversive, urban warriors still suits the agenda of a certain motoring lobby but it refreshing when even the AA speaks out against this ‘Clarkson’ vision. “I don’t think a programme like this really helps,” said their president. “It’s not a war out there.”

My favourite post-show comment was from BC’s Martin Gibbs. “We’re just people: sometimes people on bikes, other times people in cars, often both in the same day. We all bear responsibility for the culture on the roads.”

Bike riding is booming, Britain is turning to two wheels. It’s about time we saw some positive representation for a change.

Robert Garbutt, Editor.

This article was first published in the December 13 issue of Cycling Weekly. You can also read our magazines on Zinio and download from the Apple store.