Hundreds of complaints sent to Ofcom over Channel 5 show ‘Cyclists: Scourge of the Streets?’

The programme faced huge backlash and was accused of ‘prejudice’

Hundreds of complaints were lodged with the television watchdog Ofcom after Channel 5 aired the controversial show ‘Cyclists: Scourge of the Streets?’

The programme, which claimed to give “an unfiltered look at both sides of the fence,” aired on July 9 and explored hostility between drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

But the show was heavily criticised by cycling campaigners, including Chris Boardman and British Cycling, who called the show “dressed up prejudice.”

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The Office of Communications (Ofcom), the broadcasting regulator, has published its monthly bulletin listing the complaints it received from the public.

Ofcom has revealed it received 327 complains against Cyclists: Scourge of Our Streets?

The show was condemned by a number of prominent pro-cycling voices, including The Guardian’s Peter Walker who called it “irresponsible, inaccurate and generally awful.”

Channel 5 responded to the criticism at the time, claiming the show is “a balanced documentary” that includes contributions from police, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

In a short video posted on social media Boardman, who is now the first ever walking and cycling commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: “Asking whether cyclists are the ‘scourge of our streets’ isn’t a hard-hitting, evidence-based documentary, it’s just dressed up prejudice and it does us all a disservice.

“By and large, those ‘street demons’ are mothers, fathers, grandparents and children all doing their bit to make Britain a healthier, greener and more liveable place.

“More people riding bikes is exactly what we need as a society, as a species, if we’re going to tackle big issues like rising obesity, congestion, pollution and of course the global climate crisis.”

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When approached for comment on the criticism, a spokesperson for Channel 5 said: “Without public roads becoming ever more congested, this balanced documentary speaks to a range of contributors including the police, motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to explore the daily challenges and issues faced by those who use them.”

Channel 5 declined to comment about the Ofcom complaints.

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