Jeremy Vine: BBC impartiality ruling over safer cycling comments is 'helpful guidance'

BBC presenter accepts that he should not praise low traffic neighbourhoods that he has not used personally

London cycling commuters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jeremy Vine says he can still "praise cycle lanes" even if he can't praise low traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) that he has not used himself, as he accepted the ruling of a complaint over his impartiality.

He was responding to being found to have breached the impartiality guidelines of the BBC over his support for an LTN in South-West London. 

In a statement published on his Twitter account, the presenter said that he is willing to accept that he should not praise or advocate LTN’s that he has not personally used. 

The 57-year-old also highlighted that the investigation has exposed repeated abuse aimed at him by the person who made the initial complaint. 

Vine commented: “I’m grateful for the impartiality ruling by the Editorial Complaints Unit of the BBC. Most importantly, the ruling identifies the complainant as the person who “superintends” a West London Facebook page which has spent years targeting named local cyclists, like me, with abuse. 

“By accident or design, the complainant's role in the personal vilification of cyclists in my area-”wishing me harm”-has been exposed by the BBC ruling, which goes on to confirm that the abuse was all one-way, and I never responded in kind. 

“Secondly, the judgement is about comments I have made about LTNs. I understand that I am still allowed to praise cycle lanes, which are different. I can certainly praise the cycle lane which runs down the end of my street. 

“I’m happy to accept that I should not praise LTNs that I haven’t used myself. This is helpful guidance for me.”

Earlier this week when Vine was first found to have breached the rules, it was revealed that a member of the public, a campaigner against the introduction of an LTN in Chiswick, complained to the BBC that tweets posted by Vine represented a “campaign of abuse” against his campaigning group. 

The same person also argued that the Radio 2 presenter was expressing a view on a controversial matter in a fashion which was considered inappropriate for a “journalist who should be non biased”. 

Jeremy Vine is well known as a supporter of cycling and active travel, particularly in London. 

Last month he publicly slammed the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council accusing them of being “anti cyclist”. 

Recent social media posts made by the presenter were found to be in breach of the impartiality rules in the BBC’s guidance on the personal use of social media. 

However, in their judgement on the case the BBC’s Editorial Complaints Unit (ECU) also explained that whilst their judgement partially upheld the complaint, they also “made clear to the complainant that the finding had no bearing on any social media activity in which Mr Vine simply expressed his personal enthusiasm for cycling or called attention to its potential benefits."

LTNs have become increasingly popular in cities across the UK and were widely used during the Coronavirus lockdowns. This comes on the back of keenness from local authorities to reduce road traffic congestion and increase other forms of active travel. 

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Tom Thewlis
News and Features Writer

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. Alongside his day job, prior to starting with the team, he wrote a variety of different pieces as a contributor to a cycling website, Casquettes and Bidons, which included interviews with up and coming British riders.