Jeremy Vine speaks out against ‘dreadful’ anti-cyclist graffiti during coronavirus lockdown

The broadcaster and cyclist reacted to the words ‘Covidiot cyclists stay at home’ painted on the road

(Image credit: PA)

Jeremy Vine has shared his frustration at the people who sprayed anti-cyclist graffiti on the road in Somerset.

Broadcaster and cyclist Vine reacted to words painted onto the road surface, urging riding to stay home and calling them “covidiots.”

The graffiti was found on the B3114 in Litton, south of Bristol, and has since been painted over.

Vine said in a tweet: “Well this is dreadful. This is actually the moment for us all to embrace the cycle trip. Clean air, good exercise, obeying the rules.”

Mark Jerzak from Chew Valley Cycling Club was the first person to raise concerns about the number of attacks on cyclists since the start of the lockdown, Somerset Live reports.  (opens in new tab)

Members of the club had received abuse from passing cars, some had found pins placed in the road, while another rider suffered a broken collarbone after a driver pushed them off their bike.

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Mr Jerzak then came across the words "Covidiot cyclists stay at home protect the NHS" painted on the road on April 26.

The coronavirus lockdown rules have resulted in a lot of confusion around exercise and particularly cycling, as the government has given no clear rules on how long or how far it is acceptable to ride.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to stay local, while government ministers have sent mixed messages in interviews, including the suggestion that a ride of between 30 minutes and an hour would be enough.

In order to clear up the confusion, Cycling Weekly contacted the Department for Media, Culture and Sport on April 23 to find out if the government had issued guidelines on how long to ride for.

“There is no strict limit on time for exercise,” a press spokesperson replied.

“The official guidelines are clear that, in any given day, a person can go outside for one form of basic exercise, such as a walk, a run or a cycle, if they are well enough and as long as they are on their own, or with members of their household.”

The Welsh government has introduced more strict rules on cycling, which state that a ride should be limited to a reasonable walking distance from home.

But cycling organisations British Cycling and charity Cycling UK raised concerns over these rules, saying they may discourage people from cycling.

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Cyclists are advise to ride within their abilities, to carry tools and food to avoid having to stop or ask for help, and where possible ride a loop or figure of eight to avoid getting too far away from home.

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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.