Classic "Strava makes naughty cyclists ride too fast" story in local papers

by Bhachgen   January 8, 2014  

http://www.lep.co.uk/news/speeding-poser-cyclists-risk-road-death-1-6355973

Classic in the sense that lazy jounalists all over the World outside Lancashire were all running this one at least 18-24 months ago.

Classic in the sense that it's a prime example of extremely lazy journalism. Get a quote from one "concerned individual". Phone Strava, (in California) find no-one there (due to xxhour time difference), state they were "unavailable for comment", making it look as if you would have loved to run a balanced story but were foiled at every turn.

Classic bombastic scaremongering: ‘Speeding ‘poser’ cyclists risk road death’

Clearly this guy missed the "Scaremongering anti-cyclist story for Dummies" class as he has missed a prime opportunity to dust off key phrases like "Lycra Louts", "MAMILs", "Road Hooligans" etc.

The 'story' ran in at least 2 other local "sister" papers, with some amendments to featured segments to fit the title in question. These were, if anything, even more disingenuous, by quoting speeds in kph, to make them sound scarier. One would hope that the journalist would be aware that most of his readership would be more accustomed to mph, but of course breathlessly reporting that a particular cyclist covered a given segment at 25mph doesn't generate as much "Oooo dangerous!" value as 40kph.

http://www.chorley-guardian.co.uk/news/local/cyclists-turning-town-s-str...

http://www.leylandguardian.co.uk/news/local/cyclists-use-roads-as-race-t...

4 user comments

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We were looking at the LEP story yesterday - great headline, but the caption on the main pic is even better.

To be fair to whoever wrote it, Strava is now a staple for the local and regional press the world over. This one is on our news list though cos there looks like there might be a story behind all the Strava hype. Basically it'd be interesting to know how many of those segments they mention have been flagged or had already been flagged.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4160 posts]
8th January 2014 - 19:45

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Have you emailed the journalist?

posted by Cachao [3 posts]
8th January 2014 - 19:47

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I'm not familiar with many of the Preston segments mentioned in the LEP version of the story. I live a few miles to the south so if I'm passing that way I tend to try to plot routes that skirt around the city, rather than straight through it.

Cinnamon Hill, Penwortham Hill, both climbs out through the suburbs, not remotely inappropriate. The road to the crematorium is actually fairly wide and has probably the best surface in Lancashire. It's been ridden by a lot of people because it's part of the Guild Wheel route.

As for the Guild Wheel itself, yes it's a shared path but there's nothing inherently wrong in riding fast as long as you're on a bit with good sightlines, you stay alert, and you moderate your speed appropriately when peds, kids, dogs etc are around. No different to riding fast on the road...

The segments mentioned in the Chorley Guardian version are just laughable. "A6 to Tesco roundabout" which that menace to society Paul R rode at 25mph. That's a wide main road, not residential, no parked cars, decent surface, almost all the junctions are roundabouts, sightlines are generally good. Basically if you want to push yourself it's exactly the right place to be doing it.

The "Chorley A6 sprint" is one of the most popular segments because it's on the A6. Yes, probably the most important north-south non-motorway road in the western half of England, along with the A49 which passes just to the west of the town. So, rather than "thousands of budding Bradley Wiggins", a decent proportion of those who have ridden the segment are probably on a LEJoG ride, and therefore unlikely to be bothered by their 751st out of 1203 placing.

Fair enough the journalist was unable to contact anyone at Strava for comment. Probably called them just before lunch then hit submit on the story mid-afternoon when nobody had called him back due to still being in their beds based on the time difference. But he could have spent a few seconds on google, got contacts for some of the dozens of local cycle clubs (some of whom even have press officers on their committees) and found out a little bit about how Strava actually works and how people actually use it.

But no, he'd prefer to run an ill-informed sensationalist piece of cyclist-bashing cobblers. I would comment on the newspaper's own site but their IT seems to be as bad as their journalism.

posted by Bhachgen [94 posts]
9th January 2014 - 11:59

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Also on "Chorley A6 sprint" this is one of those horrible urban dual-carriageways. No hard shoulder, no cycle lane, railings along a lot of the pavements. So the safest way to ride it as at as close a speed as possible to the motorised traffic and thus reduce the number of drivers trying to squeeze past you without moving into the outside lane.

If a journalist was to stand at the side of the road near one of the speed cameras for 5 minutes and count how many drivers have to brake before passing it that would be a story...

posted by Bhachgen [94 posts]
9th January 2014 - 12:02

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