The US-based TV channel Cable News Network (CNN) just ran the news story – see the first video below – of a young Canadian cyclist Luke Rae who became so irritated with bad driving that he fitted a camera to his cycling helmet. According to him, “Too many drivers were running me off the road and I never have a witness.”
The CNN segment shows some of the the worst incidents that occured over a year, with the commentory describing, “An urban battlegound of bad driver attitude and outright disrespect” and concludes, “Now that you’ve seen it from [the cyclist’s] point of view, watch out; you never know who’s watching out for you.”
Now contrast this with the UK video – the second below – of the BBC’s ‘Look East’ evening programme that appeared two weeks earlier during May, where Cambridge cyclist Paul Jones made similar helmetcam videos of rides near his home and documented an incident where a car rammed him from behind.
The ensuing segment started with the presenter Kim Riley reporting, “We’ve had quite a bit of comment, quite a bit of it frankly anti-cyclist…” and then continued with a list of viewers’ phoned-in opinions, not one of which conceded that driving into a cyclist might be dangerous or illegal.
Said one, “If they want to use the road and have dedicated cycle paths why don’t cyclists pay road tax?”
And another, “Why do cyclists think they have a given right to complain about cars, cars that pay for the facilities they use?”
With the final comment, “Cyclists, get off your high horse”
The I Pay Road Tax website run by cycling journalist and campaigner Carlton Reid immediately whipped up a storm of complaint that bombarded ‘Look East’ with messages from cyclists all over the country and succeeded in a BBC climb-down – see the third and final video
– where KIm Riley conceded that, “road tax as such doesn’t exist…..roads are funded from general taxation.”
Leaving aside that the controversy around this latter BBC incident was more concerned with who pays for the roads and less with road manners and the safety of cyclists, it does appear that it may have made an impact elsewhere.