Home
CTC president fights back after he’s accused of flouting rules; now also with CTC comment

The Daily Mail has run an article they say exposes CTC president Jon Snow as a serial rule-breaker during a three-mile bike ride from Channel 4 news HQ to his home.

But Snow has described the paper as ‘at best, cycling challenged’ and rejects the accusations levelled at him.

The article, headlined Drivers beware: How news presenter Jon Snow flouts the rules of cycle safety, begins, “As figurehead of a society which represents the interests of Britain’s 20million cyclists, news presenter Jon Snow might be expected to set an example behind the handlebars.

“And indeed he does. A bad one.

“Despite being a vocal campaigner for cycle safety, the 62-year-old flouts the rules with astonishing regularity.”

A photographer at least must have followed the newsreader for the three-mile journey to his home – via a pub quiz – because the article then catalogues a series of transgressions, with supporting photos.

They include not stopping at red lights, riding on the pavement, failing to stop at a box junction to allow an oncoming ambulance to pass, failing to stop at a zebra crossing, and using his mobile while cycling – including apparently sending a text.

The Mail fulsomely describes each incident in an increasingly sanctimonious tone and with barely concealed glee, saying, for example, “As he darted in and out of incoming traffic on his mountain bike in his suit, his ankle clips revealing his trademark fluorescent socks, he seemed oblivious to the taxis and lorries thundering close by him.”

It’s not made clear how the photographer kept up with Snow – presumably by jumping the same red lights.

In response, an unrepentant Snow said those responsible for the story were ‘at best, cycling challenged’. He told road.cc, “In the first picture I am leaving the hoops I had parked on. In the other pavement shot I am arriving at railings to which the photographer would have seen me secure the bike – you can see the top of my leg swinging over the saddle preparatory to parking.

“It is alas NOT illegal to use a mobile on a bike (but should be!)

“The red lights I was well past when they turned red and the ambulance I obviously stopped for. I regret nothing beyond the reality that in common with America and many other countries we need a serious national cycling strategy and REAL provision for cycle use.”

A CTC spokesperson said, "CTC - the UK's national cyclists' organisation does not condone law-breaking by either cyclists or motorists on our roads. This is why we campaign for an increase in traffic police to ensure all types of road users don't break the law. However, before we point the finger at Jon Snow, it is important to remember that cyclists in urban areas are less likely than drivers to be involved in a collision that injures another road user and the difference is even greater when it comes to serious and fatal injuries.

“Just like Boris Johnson and David Cameron before him, Jon Snow appears to be singled out, as if he is the only person on the roads breaking the Highway Code. To be fair, we would also like the popular media to turn their attention to those motorists who don't abide by the rules of the road. If any reporters were followed driving home, CTC would be amazed if they all followed the Highway Code perfectly."

The article generated the usual flood of self-righteous commentary from Daily Mail readers. Among the more entertaining is this one, from ‘Trillian’ in Bristol, “This man is a hypocrite of the highest order. Just typical from the self confessed 'pinko-liberal' – quite happy to rake in a very large salary, marry in a millionaires playground and flout the rules of the road whilst publicly espousing road safety. Doesn't sound very 'for the people' to me! Maybe he took a leaf out of New Labours book. Thank god they're gone...”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine (www.simpsonmagazine.cc). 

37 comments

Avatar
jobysp [143 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I have a lovely shiny Trek 2.3 that Associated Newspapers helped supply me with through the C2W scheme - so, despite the newspaper being anti-cycling - they supply their employees with the option to get a bike  1

As for John Snow - I'm glad he's hit back. Lets hope he hits back in the comments section.

If you look at all the pictures, they are all easily explained, and not how the Daily Mail has described.

Avatar
handlebarcam [543 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

About the only thing he appears to have done that could possibly constitute a danger which any driver would need to be "beware" off is his lack of decent lights and reflectors after dark. Which the Daily Fascist completely fails to mention! That said, he is wearing a horrible dayglo tie that can probably be seen a mile away. And riding in a suit, in summer, in London, he can probably be smelt from even further.

Avatar
jova54 [644 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Quote: "It’s not made clear how the photographer kept up with Snow – presumably by jumping the same red lights."

Probably more likely to have been in 4x4 as well.

Avatar
John_the_Monkey [436 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

According to Nick Davies' "Flat Earth News", our chums at the Mail have form for being, shall we say, creative with the verité at times over far less.

With their circulation, they could be a force for some positive change; that they choose to squander their resources on reinforcing saloon bar prejudice instead speaks volumes of them.

Avatar
Martin Thomas [376 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

There's further discussion about this on the Guardian's website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jul/26/jon-snow-bike-red-ligh...

Avatar
dave atkinson [6142 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Later on today (or possibly tomorrow if i run out of time) I'll be going out armed with a camera, and i'll follow a law-abiding cyclist and see how many rule-breaking pics i can get. Should be fun.

Avatar
jezzzer [329 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

will you ask them first or will you be papping?

Avatar
Louis Clark [8 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I don't care what anyone who writes for or reads the Daily Mail thinks about cycling. In fact, much like the BNP I don't think other publications should give them the 'oxygen of publicity' to use a cliche.

Ignore them and let them get on with it in their own little writer/reader bubble. All the while, more and more people start to cycle, the tide turns and they all get ulcers from the impotent rage and die.

Its just a matter of time. Sorted.

Avatar
A V Lowe [567 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Could someone perhaps follow the van driver featured in the BBC piece and check-out his driving?

Alternatively has anyone observed the driving of the editorial hierarchy of the Daily Mail.

Expect at least one offence under s.72 of the Highways Act 1835 (very apt as this is largely what they gripe about cyclists doing) and strong potential for a Section 170 offence if they cause a injury or damage due to the presence of their vehicle (note that no impact is necessary). It would also be interesting to see how well they observe Rule 170 fo the Highway Code.

Avatar
TRs Blurb n Blog [199 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

One Daily Mail reader/page starer commented "He wants to strangle the arteries of the nation, through which the life blood of the economy is trying to flow"

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1297559/Drivers-beware-How-...

 13

Avatar
Old Cranky [257 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

He might not jump the lights but he jumps the queue at Condor cycles.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6142 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

My favourite is when he 'raises the ire' of a pedestrian on a crossing, and the pic is just of a man looking at jon snow on a bike. way to twist the facts, DM

Avatar
Simon E [2539 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

This kind of factually incorrect bile is just the thing the Daily Hate Mail specialises in. Some people call it a "newspaper", which makes me laugh (but not in a nice way).

The people who write and approve this crap must have such dreadful lives, we ought to really feel sorry for them.

What struck me was that I saw last week there are still 1.5 MILLION people driving around without insurance (link). Apparently we should be pleased because it's down from the 1.8 million doing it five years ago.

Avatar
Recumbenteer [160 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Apparently, the Police sieze ~500 vehicles per day in the UK because they have no insurance! A proportion of those have no insurance, because the drivers have no valid driving licence! [from one of those TV programmes about the Police]

Avatar
ticklerik [30 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

You have to keep in mind that this is aimed at daily mail readers. The whole newspaper is predominantly negative and full of scaremongers.
More worrying is that they believe what they read.

Avatar
Kim [218 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

“It is alas NOT illegal to use a mobile on a bike (but should be!)"

Why?? How many people have been killed by cyclists using mobile phones? This shows the total failure of some people to understand just how dangerous driving is. The reason the use of hand held mobile phones by drivers was banned was because of a number of fatalities. Some people really need to get a sense of proportion.

Avatar
TiNuts [97 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Kim wrote:

“It is alas NOT illegal to use a mobile on a bike (but should be!)"

Why?? How many people have been killed by cyclists using mobile phones? This shows the total failure of some people to understand just how dangerous driving is. The reason the use of hand held mobile phones by drivers was banned was because of a number of fatalities. Some people really need to get a sense of proportion.

Sorry, but using a mobile whilst cycling is still pretty stupid. Some idiot doing just that narrowly missed colliding with me this morning - oh, and he was on the pavement!

Avatar
TiNuts [97 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Old Cranky wrote:

He might not jump the lights but he jumps the queue at Condor cycles.

Yes, and I've clocked him cycling on the pavement in Grays Inn Rd - and I don't mean to the cycle stands outside Condor Cycles!
 19

Avatar
TheHatter [770 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I have never met a Daily Mail reader I like.

Avatar
Martin Thomas [376 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

My mum's started reading the Daily Mail. I'm mortified! (but I still like her)

Avatar
wildnorthlands [31 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Avatar
jazzdude [66 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

Just the sort of shite you'd expect from newspaper reporter scum.

Just the sort of shite you'd expect from newspaper reporter scum.

Avatar
TheHatter [770 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Martin Thomas wrote:

My mum's started reading the Daily Mail. I'm mortified! (but I still like her)

I'm sure I'd like your mum too...not like that,... not that I'm saying she's unattractive...I'll get my coat.

Avatar
chris-grays-inn-road [1 post] 5 years ago
0 likes

" "In the first picture I am leaving the hoops I had parked on. In the other pavement shot I am arriving at railings to which the photographer would have seen me secure the bike – you can see the top of my leg swinging over the saddle preparatory to parking."

Mr Snow..if you are implying, by the above, that you do not cycle on the pavement then I am disappointed in you.

You see, as someone who lives off Grays Inn Road, I can tell you that it is a common site to see you cycle on the pavement, as you make your way up said road, towards the ITN offices. If you are trying to imply that you do not cycle on the pavements then you must have a double!

As a disabled pedestrian I am getting rather tired of having my day ruined by cyclists riding on the pavements or shooting through crossings. I have been hit several times and even the near misses cause me severe pain as the start or jolt impacts upon my damaged hip. I have of course been told that this is all my fault – if only you didn’t walk so erratically – commented a cyclist who had just run into me as he tried to sway around other pedestrians. I have been spat on, had abuse thrown at me all for having the audacity to use the pavement. And when you, as cyclists, do decide to come back to have words with me for having pointed out that you have just missed me and it is illegal to ride your cycle on the pavement – please don’t use your cycle to block me against a wall as you direct your tirade against me.

No doubt I will get the usual abuse or attempts at sophistry in response but I have a lot of sympathy for the dangers that cyclists face upon the road, and I am happy for my taxes to be spent to make them safer for cyclists, but riding cycles on the pavement will only serve to endanger pedestrians – any claim otherwise is sophistry and selfishness. After all – making the pavements more dangerous will not make the roads safer.

I know that not all cyclists cycle on the pavement but many do and it causes problems. You think that you are safe cyclists, you will not be the one to cause an accident, but many drivers think of themselves as safe - yet you don't seem to want to put your trust in their abilities - but you are asking pedestrians to do just that with you. Saying that the number of injuries or deaths are higher with cars doesn't justify the risk you impose and is no mitigation - one injury or death is too many.

So please - I beg of you - If you find yourself having to use the pavement; dismount and walk your bike – you do not need to ride it.

Avatar
handlebarcam [543 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

100% agree with you. Cyclists should not ride on pavements. And just because cars kill thousands of people per year, that doesn't mean cyclists have any right to risk anyone else's life or well-being for their own convenience or safety.

The one thing I would say is that those shocking experiences you recount, and most other examples quoted in the press, did take place in London. So we know two things about the perpetrators: (1) they were riding a bike, hence for want of a better word are "cyclists" and (2) they were in London, hence for want of a better word are "Londoners". The question that always occurs to me is: membership of which demographic is most contributory to their behaviour? I've known hundreds of cyclists and hundreds of Londoners in my time, and the bigger proportion of selfish ass****s I found to be in the latter group. Cycling does give one a sense of speed and power, a fraction of that experienced by motorist, but still enough to go to some people's heads. And someone already predisposed to careless or arrogant acts could be drawn to using a bicycle because it affords them a means of escape. But living or working in London has its negative effects too. To quote Alexander Herzen, "There is no town in the world which is more adapted for training one away from people and training one into solitude than London. The manner of life, the distances, the climate, the very multitude of the population in which the individual is lost, all this together with the absence of Continental diversions conduces to the same effect." And that was in 1852!

You may well disagree with me, and you are absolutely right to post on cyclists forums such as these, to tell any pavement riding cyclists who might be reading your side. But do you also post on London forums, if there are such things, asking your fellow Londoners not to rush about the place without a care for other people, regardless of which mode of transport they choose? And sadly the London-based press will never print headlines such as "Beware Pedestrians: Rogue Londoners are a Menace!" accompanied by tales of the countless times each and every day in London that frail people are jostled, barged into, knocked over, and left without an apology - by joggers, skateboarders, cyclists, car drivers, or people just walking at speed while talking on a phone and consulting their filofaxes. I've seen examples of all of these, when I lived and worked in London and other major cities (although as you can see from my reference to 80s/90s technology, it was a while ago. You literally couldn't pay me enough to move back to London now.)

Avatar
Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

I'm off up to London this afternoon (look out for an article on Rapha's Autumn/Winter 2010/11 range coming very soon to road.cc) and although I'm not taking my bike, I'm wondering after reading handlebarcam's post whether I should at least take my helmet  3

Avatar
purplecup [217 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

one injury or death is too many

if we applied that logic to all forms of transport, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6142 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

No doubt I will get the usual abuse or attempts at sophistry in response but I have a lot of sympathy for the dangers that cyclists face upon the road, and I am happy for my taxes to be spent to make them safer for cyclists, but riding cycles on the pavement will only serve to endanger pedestrians – any claim otherwise is sophistry and selfishness.

i doubt you'll get much abuse on here - there's not many serious cyclists who don't lament the way some people behave on a bike. anyone that abuses pedestrians in any way – be it on the pavement or on the road – needs to be brought to task.

i don't agree with your statement that cyclists and pedestrians can't use shared space, though. they can, and do, all over the world, all the time. part of my commute is on a shared path. it's really not that hard, all that's needed is a bit of mutual respect and to slow down a bit. mine's on a canal path: kids totter along it, dogs run out of bushes, adults walk 3 abreast blocking the whole thing. so long as you're courteous and ride at a speed where you can deal with any unforseen situation without injuring someone/something, everyone will be fine. though i did run over a duck the other day.

the same applies in town: i use a shared path alongside the river that's no wider or narrower than a pavement, but everyone gets along just fine, most of the time. There's been a few near misses over the years but i've not had or seen a collision yet.

Avatar
italiafirenze [70 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes
purplecup wrote:
Quote:

one injury or death is too many

if we applied that logic to all forms of transport, we wouldn't be in the mess we are now.

You're quite right, we certainly wouldn't be using a computer, or surfing an internet, or doing many of the things we take for granted.

Pioneers have always had to balance risk against reward and the reward of improved communication and transportation networks has, in the greater picture at least, more than outweighed the thousands who have died to bring them to us.

Roads will always be dangerous, as will cities, pavement and many other things. The best we can do is try to legislate to protect those most vulnerable from those least vulnerable. This includes protecting cyclists from cars and pedestrians from cyclists. A clear "pecking order" for want of a better word, which forces those above to be responsible for the safety of those below.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6142 posts] 5 years ago
0 likes

what would people say if bikes *were* allowed on the pavements but strict liability was enforced, ie cyclists were always held at fault for collisions with pedestrians?

Discuss...  1

Pages