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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24937699

The poor cyclist is described as in a "crash with a bus", the headline describes cyclists, in the opinion of bus drivers, as "unbelievable", and the accompanying media just takes the one sided reporting up a notch. The reporter makes no attempt to balance the report by interviewing any cyclists. Do people think this is all a little biased, or is my judgement clouded because I happen to be a cyclist? I'm tempted to complain about this, but I'll go by what readers think.

41 comments

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sm [392 posts] 3 years ago
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It's an attributed quote. Don't like seeing headlines like that but I would also agree. Some (note use of word!) cyclists are unbelievable. Just like car drivers and pedestrians. The idiocy of a small percentage of the human race never ceases to amaze me. Unfortunately it also makes the headlines.

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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Just a quick look elsewhere on the BBC website, they tend to write 'boy hit by car" "79 year old man dies after being by car" "fatally injured by a van".

I know you can always go looking for interpretation but the BBC do tend to word cycling deaths very negatively towards the victim Eg "cyclist died after colliding with lorry"

I've not complained to the BBC in this instance as they are really quite shoddy dealing with feedback in my experience.

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kie7077 [887 posts] 3 years ago
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Go for it, it really is in poor taste such victim blaming whilst 5 cyclists have just died.

We are so used to prejudice against cyclists that it even becomes hard to see it. Prejudice against other races or the other sex is rightly shunned, other prejudices aren't - why not?

// Excise in role change:

[after a white person runs over a black person]

[BBC] London white drivers on black people: "They're unbelievable"

14 November 2013 Last updated at 09:27 GMT

A black man has been killed in a crash with a white driver in east London making him the fifth black person to die on London's roads in nine days.

BBC London 94.9 reporter Jason Rosam reports from the crash scene in Whitechapel Road and asks white people what it is like sharing the roads with black people.

// Exercise over, how does that look?

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Gman59c [58 posts] 3 years ago
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Equating the way cyclists are treated in the media to racism is really poor taste.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 3 years ago
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William Black wrote:

Just a quick look elsewhere on the BBC website, they tend to write 'boy hit by car" "79 year old man dies after being by car" "fatally injured by a van".

I know you can always go looking for interpretation but the BBC do tend to word cycling deaths very negatively towards the victim Eg "cyclist died after colliding with lorry"

I've not complained to the BBC in this instance as they are really quite shoddy dealing with feedback in my experience.

That's very interesting, William. I think the most depressing one I came across recently was the boris bike girl who apparently, "died after crashing into a lorry", and I've come across many reports where even when the photo shows quite clearly that the cyclist has been struck from behind, the cyclist has still apparently "collided with a vehicle". remember the couple on the tandem, mown down by a disqualified drunk driver on the wrong side of the road? they apparently were "doing" the colliding too.

Is there some sort of deep seated bias, I wonder?

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Luminosity [76 posts] 3 years ago
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For a change, this report seems OK. It's just a quote according to the bus drivers. However one might say that the reporter has biased the report in favour of cyclists:

Reporter: "Where the cyclist was hit last night...died after being hit by a bus"

That seems to load the argument negatively towards the bus (if you see what I mean). Sure the bus was involved but where did the fault lie - from this it seems it was the fault of the bus.

The BBC usually seems to report that a cyclist was "in collision" with a lorry/bus etc. And yes, that's factually inaccurate - unless the BBC had called in the police etc to ascertain whether or not it's the truth (very unlikely). I'm sure we've had this discussion before but an accurate report would state that there was an accident involving a lorry/bus and a cyclist or vv.

As for interviewing the bus drivers and only giving their point of view on this report - that's fine. A balanced broadcast argument can, over time, interview and show the different sides of the argument; it doesn't have to do it all in one report. I've seen much worse. And complained to the BBC. Their complaints procedure is pretty useless though as William said. Much better (IMO) to contact the manager of the LBC or local TV station manager and discuss the perseption of bias with them.

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Simon_MacMichael [2467 posts] 3 years ago
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Luminosity wrote:

The BBC usually seems to report that a cyclist was "in collision" with a lorry/bus etc. And yes, that's factually inaccurate - unless the BBC had called in the police etc to ascertain whether or not it's the truth (very unlikely).

My experience is that in the immediate aftermath of a fatality, the police will do no more than refer you to the statement they are likely to have issued - whether you're the BBC, or road.cc.

Saying that a cyclist, car, whatever, was "in a collision" with another vehicle isn't "factually inaccurate" - it's neutral, and very often is the only thing the media is able to say until further details emerge.

To say that someone "collided" with another vehicle is very different, though - it implies a specific situation happened, and shouldn't be used until facts are known (often, not until a coroner's inquest or a trial).

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Luminosity [76 posts] 3 years ago
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Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Saying that a cyclist, car, whatever, was "in a collision" with another vehicle isn't "factually inaccurate" - it's neutral

Sorry to disagree but it's not - and it all comes down to semantics.

"a bus today was in a collision with a bicycle"

"a cyclist today was in a collision with a bus"

In the first instance what people will generally glean is that is was the BUS that did the colliding; in the second that it was the CYCLIST.

"an accident involving" is neutral.

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dave atkinson [6261 posts] 3 years ago
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'accident' most assuredly *isn't* neutral. it explicitly implies no blame to either party. which is why even the police have stopped using it.

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Luminosity [76 posts] 3 years ago
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Dave Atkinson wrote:

it explicitly implies no blame to either party. which is why even the police have stopped using it.

The OED says accident is:


An unfortunate incident that happens unexpectedly and unintentionally, typically resulting in damage or injury.

So, unless the incident was a purposeful attempt to maim a cyclist, it can be an accident, wouldn't you agree? If we don't know that then it would be better to say:

"there was a collision today involving a bus and a cyclist" or vv.

Again, much more semantically neutral than

"a bus collided with a cyclist" or vv.

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dave atkinson [6261 posts] 3 years ago
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Luminosity wrote:

The OED says accident is:

you have to look at legal precedent here, not the OED. everyone stopped using accident for a reason. it has a specific meaning in law.

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Luminosity [76 posts] 3 years ago
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I think the whole point here was to discuss such use of language as:

"cyclist died after colliding with lorry"

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dave atkinson [6261 posts] 3 years ago
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Luminosity wrote:

I think the whole point here was to discuss such use of language as:

"cyclist died after colliding with lorry"

that's kind of simon's point, and also mine. we use 'in a collision with' because it's neutral. 'collided with', as you've written above, isn't neutral.

'in a collision with' is currently the accepted phraseology in circumstances where the specifics aren't known, because it doesn't apportion blame to either party and nor does it rule out the possibility of blame, which accident does in a legal sense.

the only reason it's the cyclist first, and not the lorry or bus, is because the cyclist is the normally the subject of the sentence, because they've been injured or killed.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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Luminosity wrote:
Simon_MacMichael wrote:

Saying that a cyclist, car, whatever, was "in a collision" with another vehicle isn't "factually inaccurate" - it's neutral

Sorry to disagree but it's not - and it all comes down to semantics.

"a bus today was in a collision with a bicycle"

"a cyclist today was in a collision with a bus"

In the first instance what people will generally glean is that is was the BUS that did the colliding; in the second that it was the CYCLIST.

"an accident involving" is neutral.

In both cases those people would be wrong. Collide simply means to come together which is why "collide with" makes sense and "collide into" does not.

"The Earth collides with an asteroid" and "an asteroid collides with the Earth" mean exactly the same thing. The only difference is which object you consider to be the most important when you structure your sentence.

A headline like,

Cyclist seriously injured in collision with bus

Is correct, IMO, as the injury to the cyclist is more important than the existence of a collision.

Bus in collision with seriously injured cyclist

Is misleading. Was the cyclist seriously injured before the collision?

Bus in collision with cyclist who suffers serious injuries

Is unwieldy and makes the collision the subject of the sentence with the serious injuries as just additional information, which is inappropriate IMO.

Accident? How do we know that it was an accident until the collision has been thoroughly investigated? Maybe it was no accident, a jealous partner paid someone to run the unfortunate cyclist down on the way home from work?

We know for sure that a collision has taken place. IMO it is the most appropriate word to use in these circumstances, but never 'collide into'.

"Crash into" is only appropriate when a moving object hits a stationary one.

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felixcat [487 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

"The Earth collides with an asteroid" and "an asteroid collides with the Earth" mean exactly the same thing. The only difference is which object you consider to be the most important when you structure your sentence.

It seems to me there is a difference.

Consider, "the cyclist collided with the wall."
and "the wall collided with the cyclist."

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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Both the Earth and an asteroid are in motion. A wall isn't ..... well relative to the cyclist although it is attached to a planet travelling at very high speed. ... as is the cyclist ....

my head hurts.  26

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

In both cases those people would be wrong. Collide simply means to come together which is why "collide with" makes sense and "collide into" does not.

"The Earth collides with an asteroid" and "an asteroid collides with the Earth" mean exactly the same thing. The only difference is which object you consider to be the most important when you structure your sentence.

A headline like,

Cyclist seriously injured in collision with bus

Is correct, IMO, as the injury to the cyclist is more important than the existence of a collision.

Bus in collision with seriously injured cyclist

Is misleading. Was the cyclist seriously injured before the collision?

Bus in collision with cyclist who suffers serious injuries

Is unwieldy and makes the collision the subject of the sentence with the serious injuries as just additional information, which is inappropriate IMO.

Accident? How do we know that it was an accident until the collision has been thoroughly investigated? Maybe it was no accident, a jealous partner paid someone to run the unfortunate cyclist down on the way home from work?

We know for sure that a collision has taken place. IMO it is the most appropriate word to use in these circumstances, but never 'collide into'.

"Crash into" is only appropriate when a moving object hits a stationary one.

Blimey, it's the grammatical equivalent of a tongue twister. But I agree. I think.....

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felixcat [487 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

Both the Earth and an asteroid are in motion. A wall isn't ..... well relative to the cyclist although it is attached to a planet travelling at very high speed. ... as is the cyclist ....

my head hurts.  26

It is because the wall is stationary that it becomes apparent that the word order does make a difference. If the positioning of the words in the sentence made no difference to its meaning it would be possible to reverse the sentence and still make sense, since the meaning would be the same whichever way round.

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dave atkinson [6261 posts] 3 years ago
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wall and cyclist is a different use case. one is static and one is dynamic. a bus and a cyclist are both dynamic; a collision between them simply describes them coming together, it doesn't apportion cause or blame.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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felixcat wrote:
GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

Both the Earth and an asteroid are in motion. A wall isn't ..... well relative to the cyclist although it is attached to a planet travelling at very high speed. ... as is the cyclist ....

my head hurts.  26

It is because the wall is stationary that it becomes apparent that the word order does make a difference. If the positioning of the words in the sentence made no difference to its meaning it would be possible to reverse the sentence and still make sense, since the meaning would be the same whichever way round.

Because the wall is stationary it becomes apparent that 'collision with', is not appropriate at all in the sentence "wall collides with cyclist" as in the non-Physics sense, walls do not move. Most people would write that as "cyclist crashes into wall".

But "bicycle in collision with car" and "car in collision with bicycle" mean exactly the same thing, if both were moving at the time of the collision. They came together ..... Not in that sense, obviously.

Words.  17

edit

or put more intelligently, wot Dave just said ^^^

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felixcat [487 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

Because the wall is stationary it becomes apparent that 'collision with', is not appropriate at all in the sentence "wall collides with cyclist" as in the non-Physics sense, walls do not move. Most people would write that as "cyclist crashes into wall".

But "bicycle in collision with car" and "car in collision with bicycle" mean exactly the same thing, if both were moving at the time of the collision. They came together ..... Not in that sense, obviously.

"In collision with" and collides with" are not grammatically the same. I'm not going to labour this any more, but surely, if " the car collided with the bike" meant exactly the same as " the bike collided with the car" then "the bike collided with the wall" could be replaced with " the wall collided with the bike" without any problem.
I was quibbling about "collides with" not "in collision with".

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Luminosity [76 posts] 3 years ago
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AFAIK

"a bicycle collided with a bus" is less neutral than "there was a collision involving a bus and bicycle".

Granted, the former is a more engaging way of writing the copy and more interesting for the reader. It is also one commonly used.

I think we can argue semantics all day and not come to any conclusion or meeting of minds and that certainly seems to be the case here.

The "collided with" quote was from the BBC and it was one we were attempting to find a better use of language to describe so that, perhaps, ultimately we can suggest to the BBC and others (when their report p*ss us off) that they might attempt to alter the editorial to find a better way of expressing the incident without inference, through what might be lazy or populist journalism, that it was the cyclist who was the cause of the event. I guess if you think it's neutral there's no inference there. To me there is - even if it's just a hint.

If you consider, for example, over these last few weeks that the headlines had been:

"tipper truck collides with cyclist"
"London bus collides with cyclist"
"HGV collides with cyclist"

rather than (for example)

"cyclist collides with tipper truck"
"cyclist collides with London bus"
"cyclist collides with HGV"

to me, at least, the inference is clear.

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GoingRoundInCycles [133 posts] 3 years ago
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Luminosity wrote:

I guess if you think it's neutral there's no inference there. To me there is - even if it's just a hint.

If you consider, for example, over these last few weeks that the headlines had been:

"tipper truck collides with cyclist"
"London bus collides with cyclist"
"HGV collides with cyclist"

rather than (for example)

"cyclist collides with tipper truck"
"cyclist collides with London bus"
"cyclist collides with HGV"

to me, at least, the inference is clear.

They are all interchangeable because 'collides with' does not mean 'crashes into'. Those six headlines mean two vehicles in motion tried to occupy the same space.

In any case, none of those incidents are newsworthy IMO. What is very much newsworthy, IMO, is a serious injury or fatality occuring due to a collision.

So which is better?

Cyclist seriously injured in collision with tipper truck

or

Tipper truck collides with cyclist who is now seriously injured

The second is unsatisfactory IMO but maybe you can come up with a better version.

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jmaccelari [250 posts] 3 years ago
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It's an opinion piece, so I reckon it's fair enough. And from what I have observed on the roads, I can understand their point of view. There are some real kamikazis out there on bikes who are quite prepared to take on a bus.

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William Black [193 posts] 3 years ago
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GoingRoundInCycles wrote:

'collides with' does not mean 'crashes into'

No, but it implies it does.

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kie7077 [887 posts] 3 years ago
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Gman59c wrote:

Equating the way cyclists are treated in the media to racism is really poor taste.

Prejudice is prejudice, it is judging a person based on their race, sex religion, disability, age, sexual type, etc.

All prejudices are wrong, I don't think you understood the purpose of my post and I don't see why it is in poor taste at all. Britain has a serious anti-cycling prejudices, this silly idea that cycling is for children or cyclists should only be mountain biking off-road, or all cyclists are law-breakers.

If you think my post is in bad taste then you need to explain why. The prejudices I have met on the road have been life-threatening at times, the behavior of some anti-cyclist drivers is scary, they have 2-ton weapons and when they are careless with them, they just get a slap on the wrist, if anything.

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dreamlx10 [169 posts] 3 years ago
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Well said, there is an anti-cycling bias in this country. It is perceived as a childish thing to do, and you should really grow up and buy a car.

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Colin Peyresourde [1773 posts] 3 years ago
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Never really noticed a bias until people said there was one. But even then I think it's more imagined than real. People have hated me for irrational reasons, but most people like me and I feel that attitudes to cycling are similar. Most people have ridden a bike and enjoyed it. Some people are knobs and resent anything in their way. You can get a bit of skewed perspective if the only conversation you have about cycling is with a raging idiot and similarly, if the only time you read about cycling in the press is about people dying while cycling, or people complaining about cyclist RLJing. Most people think cycling is a good thing.

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jova54 [667 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

All prejudices are wrong,..

Not strictly true. Prejudice is about prejudging, which we all do whether we will admit it or not. Having prejudices in itself is not a bad thing, it's what you do with them that causes problems and leads to stereotyping (see below), labelling and discrimination.

Quote:

I don't think you understood the purpose of my post and I don't see why it is in poor taste at all. Britain has a serious anti-cycling prejudices, this silly idea that cycling is for children or cyclists should only be mountain biking off-road, or all cyclists are law-breakers.

This is not prejudice, this is stereotyping where one aspect of a person or group is taken to be the defining factor.

Quote:

If you think my post is in bad taste then you need to explain why. The prejudices I have met on the road have been life-threatening at times, the behavior of some anti-cyclist drivers is scary, they have 2-ton weapons and when they are careless with them, they just get a slap on the wrist, if anything.

What you have experienced is probably not prejudice but a demonstration of poor driving and arrogance on the part of other road users.

To be discriminated against you need to have one of your Protected Characteristics, as defined by the Equality Act 2010, identified as the basis for the discriminatory action; i.e your age, gender, colour, religion, sexual orientation etc. Unfortunately being a cyclist is not a protected characteristic and therefore our treatment by certain sections of the media and the public cannot be equated with racism.

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tarquin_foxglove [139 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

To be discriminated against you need to have one of your Protected Characteristics, as defined by the Equality Act 2010, identified as the basis for the discriminatory action; i.e your ... religion ... Unfortunately being a cyclist is not a protected characteristic

Perhaps a social media campaign in the run up to the next census to rival the Jedi in 2001 could sort that out.  3

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