‘It will make you fitter, happier, and safer’: Jeremy Vine nails why cycling needs more support

The broadcaster and cycling advocate sums up his love of riding a bike

(Image credit: PA)

The hostility cyclists face out on the roads and in the media can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Just this week, Cycling Weekly reported on a newspaper columnist who suggested it was “tempting” to injure riders with a wire trap and cycling club secretary who was hit by a car believes the drivers actions were deliberate.

But despite the bad news stories, there are some people out their doing their best to explain why cycling should be supported and encouraged by all.

One of those is the broadcaster and regular cyclist Jeremy Vine.

BBC radio host and Channel 5 presenter Vine has perfectly summed up why he loves cycling.

The 55-year-old, who can regularly be seen riding around London, told the BBC: “We want to encourage people to cycle. We don’t want to make helmets compulsory or insurance compulsory.

“We don’t want anything standing in the way of cycling, which will make you fitter, make you less of a burden on the NHS, make you happier (which it has done for me) and make you safer and everyone else around you safer. What’s not to like?”

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Vine was responding to comments put to him newsreader Peter Levy, who asked what Vine thought of compulsory insurance and asked if “drivers were at risk of becoming second class citizens on the roads they actually pay for.”

The road tax myth is regularly rolled out to back up anti-cycling arguments, as some drivers believe they pay tax to maintain the roads while cyclists don’t.

However, road tax hasn’t existed since 1937 and the cost of maintaining roads is actually covered by all tax payers.

Vine said: “Drivers are subsidised by the general taxpayer. Drivers do not pay the cost of the roads, they pay a bit of it. All of us are paying for the roads, cyclists included.”

He also recalled the moment he was the victim of a road rage incident while cycling through London in 2016, which resulted in the driver being jailed for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.

Vine said that only one of the two people involved in the incident way paying car tax at the time, and it wasn’t the driver.

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On whether drivers are likely to become “second-class citizens: on the road, Vine added: “Cyclists were here first. In a lot of cities, the roads weren’t really designed for cars. In fact the designing of cities around cars has been one of the most historic mistakes of our society, that’s why you feel so oppressed as a pedestrian, as a cyclist, you feel in danger.

"That shouldn’t be the case.”

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.