Drivers in the dock: Prime-time ITV show to address cyclist safety tonight

Drivers In The Dock airs at 8pm tonight, repeated in early hours of Monday

by Simon_MacMichael   November 13, 2009  

ITV1 logo.jpg

A programme on ITV1 this evening called Drivers in the Dock poses the question: “On the UK's roads the car is king, but with thousands of collisions between cars and bicycles each year, is it time cyclists were better protected?”

In the show, which airs across all regions from 8pm-8.30pm, presenter Fiona Foster reports on proposals to increase cylists’ safety, including the call for a no-fault liability scheme to be implemented which we have previously reported on here at

It might sound from the teaser that this show is going to take a more balanced approach from the usual us-versus-them them tabloid TV formula, which usually leans towards the motorists side. We certainly hope it is, but although we haven't seen the show we have some doubts.

For a start, as we reported last month, a film crew for the show was out on the streets of Cambridge recently when police were conducting a crackdown on anti-social cycling in the city, just days after an alleged bike rage incident there.

And we also know that an ITV researcher posted on the Autocar forum to try to get drivers to come forward and take part in the show. To be fair, once it turned out a few cyclists were following the thread, she asked for their views too. For the most part, our four-wheeled friends saw the invitation to participate as the set-up it was, and politely declined to participate.

Let's not pre-judge things though, the show also goes to the Netherlands to look at why the Dutch many to combine such a high proportion of journeys by bicycle with such a low casualty rate for cyclists and the CTC's Chris Peck talks to a panel of celebs about cycling. Oh, and they send Quentin Wilson out riding around London on a bike to see if it changes his opinion of cyclists… it's probably worth watching just for that. For full details check out the ITV website.

For those unable to catch the programme this evening, it will be repeated on Monday at 3.30am, although given the time, that might be one to record on the PVR , or VCR if you’re still using videotape.

We're checking whether it will also be available to watch on the catch-up service on the website and will let you know once we hear from them.

12 user comments

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Hmmm, here's to hoping its better than the cheap bikes on watchdog! At least cycling is hitting the mainsteam media agenda, I think that's definitely a good thing.

posted by londoncyclist [13 posts]
13th November 2009 - 11:50


Pity I'll miss it at that time slot as I'll be getting my sons off to bed. But I'd be interested to hear what it was like.


posted by OldRidgeback [2586 posts]
13th November 2009 - 12:09


I've just Sky +d it from my phone incase I miss it.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
13th November 2009 - 14:52


jobysp wrote:
I've just Sky +d it from my phone incase I miss it.

Reading this on way into Oxford to go to the cinema and realised I forgot to set this to record.

Oh well, it's not the end of the world. Mind you, the film we're going to see is 2012, so maybe it is Big Grin

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9521 posts]
13th November 2009 - 16:55


What an utterly useless program. I should really count to 10 (or maybe 1000) before posting, but really - it was atrocious. I think the thing that most sticks in my mind is the London cabbie (no surprises there, then) who clearly thought it was the cyclist's fault if he drove into a door that had been opened in his path by an idiot motorist. The program conveniently failed to mention that it is actually illegal to open one's car door in the face of oncoming traffic.


TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [98 posts]
13th November 2009 - 21:32

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well, i watched it. and despite being convinced i was going to have to turn it off before i threw the remote through the telly, i didn't think it was that bad. okay there was a heavy dose of pantomime but generally it was a more balanced view than i expected. from the channel that brought us the X factor

there's still a lot of misunderstanding about the role of automatic liability though, and the prog didn't exactly help to clear those muddy waters. i did feel like shouting at the screen at that point: look, it's really, really simple: in accidents between motor vehicles and bikes where there are no witnesses the cyclist is always – ALWAYS – the one that comes off worse. therefore the burden of proof should lie with the driver. Where there are witnesses, nothing changes. is it really so hard to understand? the same should apply to bikes hitting pedestrians, and artics hitting cars. it's just common sense, the natural order of things.

what did the panel think?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7857 posts]
13th November 2009 - 21:32

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TiNuts - you've got to expect the cab driver that they've selected from all the cabbies that wanted to appear to be an arse of the highest order

cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [305 posts]
13th November 2009 - 21:34

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Yes, it was a lot better than I thought it would be, though it did remind me how little information you need to fill a TV programme.

And I'd like to think that none of the three featured accidents would happen to me. In the first one I would have been out in front of the moving car well before I needed to pull out to get past the parked car. In the second I would have been overtaking on the right, not going up the left. And I would have avoided the third because I leave a gap of at least a metre between me and parked cars. I have a metal plate in my wrist to remind me how dangerous cycling close to parked cars is. (I hit a dog which ran out from behind a parked car, and went over my handlebars.)

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1449 posts]
13th November 2009 - 21:42

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Ha ha! Yes, cactuscat, you may well have a good point there. In fact, I think my cat agrees with you. But that nonsense about car drivers rear-ending cyclists who suddenly swerve out in front of them to overtake parked cars....WTF? And cyclists who "undertake" motorists who are already indicating to turn left...I'm sure most of us would agree that it is motorists who pass us and then immediately turn left without any consideration for our right to unimpeded progress down the highway that is the problem. All, of course, not mentioned in the prog and, apparently, not by any of the cycling representatives present. Maybe I should blame it on the edit.....

TiNuts's picture

posted by TiNuts [98 posts]
13th November 2009 - 21:56

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heh. nice to see the classic panel make up: four reasonable people on either side of the argument and one giant anus flinging nonsense over the fence from each camp.

honestly, on one hand we've got the cabbie, we know what to expect from him. but that scouse drink of water, what's up with him? ride down the inside of a car indicating left and you get what's coming to you. man up and admit that he's in the wrong instead of wringing your hands and going on about mutual respect and trying to blame the driver for going where he said he was going to go. TiNuts is right, the main issue with left turns is that it happens the other way round: car overtakes cyclist, turns left into cyclist.

I thought the two illustrations summed up quite nicely the reason for automatic liability. a cabbie who could have lost his no-claims bonus - gasp! - and a father and husband who lost his life. who should we protect?

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [193 posts]
13th November 2009 - 22:18


missed it… and yet

Denzil Dexter's picture

posted by Denzil Dexter [141 posts]
13th November 2009 - 22:58


Just for info the English guy living in the Netherlands who was interviewed has quite an interesting blog about how they do things over there here:

posted by London Commuter [8 posts]
13th November 2009 - 23:39

1 Like