BBC: "Cyclists get off your high horse" + Video

"Look East" programme responds to helmet-cam crash with cyclist hate diatribe

by nick_rearden   May 21, 2010  

The merc that flattened Paul Jones from Cambridge

When Cambridge cyclist Paul Jones submitted a video to the BBC of a local trip he'd made where a car ran into him from behind, he probably imagined that they'd be as horrified as he was.

Instead, the BBC 'Look East' programme last night followed the film with a list of unsypathetic viewers opinions that bordered on the psychotic.

According to the 'Look East' presenter, "We've had quite a bit of comment, quite a bit of it frankly anti-cyclist..."

And then continued with a list of viewers opinions not one of which mentioned that driving into an innocent cyclist might be dangerous, illegal or just plain wrong.

Said one, "If they want to use the road and have dedicated cycle paths why don't cyclists pay road tax?"

And another, "Why do cyclists think they have a given right to complain about cars, cars that pay for the facilities they use?"

The final comment, "Cyclists get off your high horse"

The I Pay Road Tax website run by journalist and campaigner Carlton Reid was this morning spitting feathers, "Now, those who text, email and call in to regional TV news programmes are self-selected and in no way represent a genuine cross-section of society but if the BBC reporter and programme editors don’t seem to know that roads are paid for by all, not just motorists, exactly how widespread is this ignorance?"

We think that Carlton's campaign to disabuse the public of the widely held view that their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) disc actually pays for the roads is commendable and we're right behind him.

But the far bigger issue is that people including BBC producers and presenters cannot see that driving into cyclists is wrong, however the roads are paid for.


16 user comments

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Not suprised really, shame the bbc is allowing this daily mail reading population to have a voice. The mere fact that they have these opinions and such disregard for the safety of others should surely set alarm bells ringing about their own skills behind the wheel.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
21st May 2010 - 12:32


Actual journalism died on the TV some time ago. This bloke is just a presenter. Expecting him to actually investigate the story, the issues behind it, or really do anything more than read out viewer comments no matter how factually incorrect they are, is unrealistic. Maybe you'd think they would have applied the same rules on "balance" that results in global warming issues being covered by getting in one scientist who believes in and one who doesn't.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
21st May 2010 - 12:42


Quite literally speechless...

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [172 posts]
21st May 2010 - 13:56


I think we ought to remind the BBC who pays their fees?

Rode the E'Tape Caledonia - first sportiv ever and thoroughly enjoyed it

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:03


Maybe the licence fee should only have to be paid by people above a certain IQ. Then all the people who called in to that show about cyclists not paying "road tax" would be faced with the irony of using a service they weren't paying for. Sadly, they probably wouldn't recognise it.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:26

1 Like

HOw many cyclicts actually dont own or in some way contribute(partners car) to road tax. i know i certainly do pay for the privilidge of cycling or driving on road by paying road tax.

posted by mike.hansford [2 posts]
21st May 2010 - 14:34

1 Like

I have never paid a penny in vehicle excise duty. But then I don't pollute the environment, damage the road, or realistically increase the risk that anyone will be killed or maimed. Speaks to the nature of our society that such a simple statement is regarded as "being on my high horse." OK, the IQ idea is a bit elitist, but it was a joke.

posted by handlebarcam [545 posts]
21st May 2010 - 15:16


Complaint filed! Dunning-Kruger challenged idiots!

posted by Recumbenteer [155 posts]
21st May 2010 - 16:08

1 Like

Good point mike, I saw a stat a few years ago which said that cyclists tend to be richer than the general population and as a result own more cars too so as a group they also pay more VED than most people. Strangely cycling organisations don't often mention it, can't think why…

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4176 posts]
21st May 2010 - 16:32


mike.hansford wrote:
How many cyclists actually don't own or in some way contribute(partners car) to road tax. i know i certainly do pay for the privilege of cycling or driving on road by paying road tax.

Ah, but the whole point of the I Pay Road Tax website, although I agree it's ambiguous even for intelligent people, is that we all pay road tax in the sense that roads are paid for out of general taxation including council tax via local authorities.

Arguably, more intelligent people - which I'm sure includes the majority of cyclists Smile - get paid more, pay more tax and have a greater claim on the roads. Only kidding.

VED, which also goes into the common tax pot, doesn't come close to covering the cost of maintaining the roads.

So, whether you drive a car, ride a bicycle, both or, indeed, neither, we all have an equal 'right' to use the roads as long as we pay our taxes. Not many people get away with avoiding them, however intelligent.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
21st May 2010 - 17:28


Are the producers of this program the same minority that decided that "Vancouver Winter Para Games" should not be shown "Live" as it would remind people that the troops are not just dying in "Iraq/Afgan. misadventures"? When these intelectually disabled people are rammed up the rear in a MTA as they drive, only then will they join the real world!
Championing bad driving of any sort requires a lack of intelligence but then a lot of people working for the BBC lack other abilities also.
Before the start of the 20th century you walked to work then about the time the bicycle came along there was a need to pave the roads and when 4 wheeled automotives appeared they had the benefit of existing facilities.
Anyone knows the Romans paved principle roads but as you look at Movies set in the 20's you will see cars tearing around on dust tracks masquerading as highways!
When will the BBC disown these offensive remarks broadcast, or offer an op. for rebuttal?
Don't hold your breath!

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 [399 posts]
22nd May 2010 - 7:29

1 Like

Doh! the council tax/rates contribute to roads, not vehicle exercise duty so we're all able to cycle on the road without a tax disc.

Road tax was abolished by Sir Winston Churchill.

I wonder if the BBC reporter did this on purpose to wind cyclists up.

Next week on BBC news: Black people will be racially abused, people will text in and say go back where you come from as we pay wouldn't get that. Thinking

Not one reply about the numpty driver, just cyclist should pay tax...shows how many selfish people there are.

I think as cyclists we need to have a demo in London-it's about time! Devil

Zaskar's picture

posted by Zaskar [137 posts]
22nd May 2010 - 14:41


Sadly it's always the (publishable) extreme or 'interesting' points of view that get aired. No-one is interested in fair minded comment or reasonable argument, it doesn't make for good copy.

Despite this dreadful piece of so-called journalism, I try to remind myself that there are still lots of people who are considerate and courteous. It's easy to dwell on the bad news and the one driver that cut you up but don't forget there are lots of decent people. And it won't hurt to try to be part of those good things, so do your bit to keep the good karma flowing.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2152 posts]
24th May 2010 - 9:56

1 Like

Zaskar, meet you at college green for the demo...this time next week, anyone else in!?

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
24th May 2010 - 10:52


Pedestrians don't pay road tax (or whatever it's called these days). I've never heard a motorist use this as an excuse when they've knocked one of them over! It's clearly the irrational argument of many a bigoted anti-cycling motorist though. Anyway, why has the focus (in these comments) been towards the mysteries of BBC and VED... where's the discussion on the merits of having reported this incident to the police? Did Paul do this? Neither your report, nor the BBC clip, makes this clear. Just one other point - and I'm not saying this gave the driver a reason to hit Paul - but Paul does appear to be an INORDINATELY long way out in the centre of the road. Looking through the parked car's rear-window he could have judged whether the vehicle was occupied and therefore whether there was a likelihood of the passenger door being opened. He could have stayed closer - this would have been the sensible thing to do. Did Paul signal he was moving out to pass the car? A movement of his arm may have been enough to alert the dopey driver behind him. I know I'm going to be unpopular here, but we, as cyclists, have responsibilities to other road-users too!

simonmb's picture

posted by simonmb [360 posts]
24th May 2010 - 11:21


yet again we are the innocent parties and we come off worst, there is really no justice. BBC hang your head in shame and there really should be an on-air apology in a future Look East programme. Disgraceful!!

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
24th May 2010 - 11:21