'Naughty cyclists' doc presented by former Top Gear man

'One in five cyclists ride roughshod over the law', apparently...

by Tom Henry   February 19, 2010  

BBC news.jpg

A BBC regional programme to be screened next Monday (February 22) hints at a large dollop of cyclist-bashing.

The Inside Out London programme, presented by Matthew Wright, is to feature a report by Adrian Simpson, who is to ask: “With one in five cyclists riding roughshod over the law, has pedal power gone too far?”

Because details of the programme are sketchy at the moment, we're not really sure which set of cycling-related crime statistics Mr Simpson is referring to. Even so, we are certain that he will present a fair and accurate picture of cycling in London of the sort you'd expect from a former presenter of Top Gear.

Yes, that's right. Adrian Simpson was on the show before it had a revamp in the early 2000s, and Jeremy Clarkson returned with his little mates to ride roughshod over anything that doesn't belong in his world. Adrian co-presented with Vicki Butler-Henderson and Tiff Needell, also resident in the where-are-they-now file.

On Twitter, Adrian describes himself as "An adventurous TV presenter with a love of fast cars!!!!"

Apparently, the film features a Critical Mass ride in central London and an interview with some of the riders. It should make for interesting viewing.... Here's the link to the BBC site.

20 user comments

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I think we'll all be driven underground in the not to distant future, but at least the sewers will be safe to cycle in.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
19th February 2010 - 15:58


here's my guess: a quick survey polled from somewhere non-representative with a younger audience - facebook, say. A few hundred souls respond, and 18% of them respond in the affirmative to one of several questions like, "have you ever ridden through a red light for any reason", or, "do you ever ride your bike on the pavement". Result: one fifth of cyclists riding roughshod over the law. Easy.


cactuscat's picture

posted by cactuscat [305 posts]
19th February 2010 - 15:59


Whilst I can't verify the proportions it is true that lots of cyclists in London do flout the law. So do car drivers of course but if they hire a petrolhead to do a spot of Daily Mail style tabloid cyclist baiting he isn't going to present it wearing tweeds whilst riding a Pashely Guv'nor is he?

I think the best approach is to ignore this sort of stuff, don't let them get a rise from us. But if you can't resists then acknowledge where they make valid points in relation to cycling/cyclists, don't defend ANYONE'S law breaking, point out and refute their invalid points, and most of all don't end up with "But car drivers...." style statements however tempting it may be to make sweeping generalisations.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
19th February 2010 - 16:03


Quite agree, workhard. Two wrongs don't make a right. But cyclists are more sinned against than sinning, as the last round of DfT stats clearly showed. There rarely seems to be a sense of balance in programmes like this, we'll watch in anticipation of this one being different...

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7857 posts]
19th February 2010 - 16:23


Got deja vu all over again... Thinking

neilwheel's picture

posted by neilwheel [132 posts]
19th February 2010 - 16:39


another idiot arrogant car driver putting the boot in ..... christ we're not all bad, or has he only come across the bad ones?

posted by Karbon Kev [683 posts]
19th February 2010 - 18:38


This is just 'cheap thrills' style entertainment for all those poor, defenceless SUV drivers etc who are struggling to justify why they flout the law or just drive like they own the road every day.

So perhaps this ill-informed wazzock can tell us how many of the 2,538 people killed on the UK's roads in 2008 were mown down by 'naughty' cyclists.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2419 posts]
19th February 2010 - 21:46


Like I said before, big gob fatties like Clarkson and this other moron could do with riding a bicycle and being at the sharp end. About 93% of accidents involvong cyclists are not the fault of the cyclsit. i took my younger son to the Duxford museum today, a journey of about 100 miles all in by car. I saw more thand a handful of other car drivers breaking laws and some serious ones, with two nearly causing crashes by changing lanes without looking and numerous idiots overtaking on the inside because they were too bored/restless to wait in the queue like everyone else. But of course the TG presenters overlook all that.


posted by OldRidgeback [2586 posts]
20th February 2010 - 0:09


Makes sense to me ... the BBC get someone whoe loves fast cars to make a programme about cycling ... that's the BBC keeping to its charter of fair, accurate and balanced reporting.

--- --- \_ \¬
------ (+) / (+)______ better by bike!

Mike McBeth's picture

posted by Mike McBeth [73 posts]
21st February 2010 - 12:05


I hate it when they use Critial Mass for TV documentaries. A while ago there was a good documentary on "sharing the roads" in general, can't remember the name of it nor the channel that showed it. It was quite balanced in the end, but it started off with a shot of Critical Mass, thus putting the viewer in anti-cycling mindset from the get go!

Why does the media hates us so much, FFS?

"Just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints".

LondonCalling's picture

posted by LondonCalling [146 posts]
22nd February 2010 - 13:37


So, one in five cyclists break the law. As compared to drivers, where research shows only one in five drivers /obey/ the law.


When surveyed, only 20% said they never drove 40mph in a 30mph zone.

posted by bazzargh [147 posts]
22nd February 2010 - 13:44


This is now on BBC iPlayer for those of us outside London


Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [9521 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 9:59


Yeah, just watched it - only 10 minutes on cycling so worth a quick peek over lunch if you're interested. pretty formulaic stuff really, not much to argue with in terms of content other than the usual complete lack of context and balance. I don't have much sympathy for anyone that gets fined for jumping a red light, though it's interesting to see that it apparently takes 4 PCs and 3 PCSOs to enforce that. I wonder if they pull over all the motorists eating sandwiches and chatting on their phones too. I'm guessing not.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7857 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 11:29


Police have to be doing something about crime, they are too fat or lazy to chase burgulars, catch rapists or find serial bag snatchers.
To catch a cyclist takes about 5 uniforms who catch up with their station gossip whilst they wait for the 10% oddity to wander into their path! Being seen harrassing one cyclist makes the evening news and gets them on the TV as "Heroes of the Hour"!
TV presenters usually are lacking material when they pick on cyclists, they are too lazy to do any research on the subject and count on the "anti cyclist audience" to back their poor presentation skills.
Whatever became of that "idiot cook" that dislikes cyclists? Hope these BBC unemployables get lucky and find another target for their pitiful efforts at reporting

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

skippy's picture

posted by skippy [409 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 20:22


Right, that's quite enough of that myopic rubbish. I am, have always been and will continue to be an ardent fan of cycling. My favourite form of transport by far is my Pearson carbon fibre, and as for experiencing cycling at the sharp end mate I was commuting through London by bike 15 years ago and how does a successful etape - Pau to Bayonne grab you? Look it up, 202km through mountains. Get back in your boxes and get over one programme that stated there are some errant cyclists, which is without questions true. Car drivers are no angels but check out a show called Police camera action which has recorded the antics of bad drivers for 18 years - don't hear drivers whining about it. Don't even think about pulling rank on me as a cyclist because it simply won't wash. Check out your facts next time losers.

posted by Adrian Simpson [1 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 22:09


Oooh, someone touched a nerve there. Wink

Welcome to the best cycling website in the world Adrian, hope to see some more postings from you in the future.

To even up the balance, and as a comitted cyclist, perhaps you'd like to make a programme about the dangers of cycling in London and other cities and the problems posed by the riders/drivers of motorbikes, cars, vans, lorries and buses and the way they disregard the Highway Code; or is that not good tv?

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [663 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 23:10


Hi Adrian,

Yes, there are some errant cylists the point is the don't kill and injure large numbers of people the way errant drivers do… they merely irritate people including other cyclists as a recent poll on this site testifies http://road.cc/content/poll/13752-whats-thing-most-irritates-you-about-o...

Dumb cyclists are a danger to themselves and even then as it turns out not even that much of a danger and according to a recent DfT study in 93 per cent of the casualty incidents involving cyclists the cyclist was not to blame, while in 3/4 of the incidents involving collisions between motorised vehicles and bicycles the driver was at fault according to the police. Not surprising then that cyclists get annoyed when they are portrayed as a menace to public safety - when they obviously aren't.

What annoys me is the ludicrous use of police resources simply to pander to public prejudice and hand out a few fixed penalty notices when there are far, far better things they could be doing to make the streets safer for everyone. I'm all for the police nicking red light jumpers but as someone commented elsewhere on this site if they really wanted to make the roads safer they'd be devoting the same level of resource to cracking down on drivers using mobiles who at a very very conservative estimate alone probably account for 10 times the numbers of deaths and injuries that cyclists cause every year.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
23rd February 2010 - 23:25


Don't even think about pulling rank on me as a cyclist because it simply won't wash

what, one etape on a press ticket makes you the most experienced cyclist here? Big Grin Big Grin good luck with that.

get over one programme that stated there are some errant cyclists, which is without questions true

read the comments. that's not the issue here. Watch PCA and what do you get? lots of people driving like idiots, and presenters like you saying, "look at these idiots! thank god us normal people don't drive like this! and hooray for driving generally!"

watch a programme like the inside out you recorded and what do you get? people riding like idiots, and presenters like you saying, "look at these idiots! has pedal power gone too far? should we crack down? do we need more laws? look at this girl who got hit! here are some more victims! and boo for cycling generally!"

that's what rankles us, dimwit

Barry Fry-up's picture

posted by Barry Fry-up [193 posts]
24th February 2010 - 11:16


Wow...yeah, what Barry said!

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [693 posts]
24th February 2010 - 15:42


I heard the phrase "some cyclists" used very carefully, and it seemed to me, very precisely, by the presenter.

Really, though?

posted by workhard [393 posts]
24th February 2010 - 15:44