UPDATED: Daily Mail 'exposes' Jon Snow as serial rule-breaker

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

by Martin Thomas   July 26, 2010  

Jon Snow

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...”

37 user comments

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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.

posted by Louis Clark [8 posts]
26th July 2010 - 17:10

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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.

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

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posted by A V Lowe [471 posts]
26th July 2010 - 18:04

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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-...

Surprise

It's not just about the size of your cog.

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posted by TRs Blurb n Blog [270 posts]
26th July 2010 - 18:18

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

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
27th July 2010 - 9:43

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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

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
27th July 2010 - 14:43

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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.

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posted by Simon E [1915 posts]
27th July 2010 - 14:54

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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]

posted by Recumbenteer [142 posts]
27th July 2010 - 14:59

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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.

posted by ticklerik [31 posts]
27th July 2010 - 16:21

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“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.

posted by Kim [127 posts]
27th July 2010 - 17:25

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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!

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posted by TiNuts [93 posts]
27th July 2010 - 17:47

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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!
Devil

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posted by TiNuts [93 posts]
27th July 2010 - 17:53

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I have never met a Daily Mail reader I like.

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
27th July 2010 - 20:00

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

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
28th July 2010 - 9:43

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posted by wildnorthlands [24 posts]
28th July 2010 - 12:45

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

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

Andy

posted by jazzdude [59 posts]
28th July 2010 - 17:34

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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.

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posted by TheHatter [810 posts]
28th July 2010 - 20:47

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" "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.

posted by chris-grays-inn-road [1 posts]
29th July 2010 - 1:11

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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.)

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
29th July 2010 - 8:45

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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 Wink

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posted by Simon_MacMichael [7933 posts]
29th July 2010 - 9:53

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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.

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posted by purplecup [232 posts]
29th July 2010 - 9:56

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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.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
29th July 2010 - 10:08

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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.

posted by italiafirenze [68 posts]
29th July 2010 - 13:23

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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... Smile

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
29th July 2010 - 13:27

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In Japan cyclists share the pavement with pedestrians. But there is concern about the number of pedestrian + cyclist accidents, and people cycle slowly, and the culture of politeness is very different to London!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
29th July 2010 - 13:52

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dave_atkinson wrote:

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...

I've been mulling this one over...not sure I agree (apart from the last bit, which is spot on). I think there are some variables - perhaps including volumes of traffic (both cyclist and pedestrian) and maybe distractions too - that cause this common sense model to break.

Case in point: the promenade in Brighton has a wide, clearly marked cycle path running along its entire length, right next to the even wider pedestrian bit. There's ample room for both and yet you'll always see pedestrians ambling along in the bike lane and cyclists on the pedestrian bit. Generally speaking, cyclists don't stop at the give way signs where the road crossings are and generally speaking pedestrians don't look before stepping across the bike lane to cross the road. There are regular collisions - some serious - much bad feeling and frequent exchanges of fruity language. But among the things you see depressingly rarely are tolerance and common courtesy.

I don't know why it should be so bad down here - perhaps it's because there's so much to distract the eye along the seafront. But whatever the reason it's a depressing business and it seems to be getting worse. I gave way at a pedestrian crossing down there this morning (which I don't always do, to my shame) and the pedestrian was so shocked when I waved him through with a smile that he froze on the spot, clearly expecting me to change my mind and run him down like a dog.

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
29th July 2010 - 17:16

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martin - part of the problem on routes like that for me is that when there are clearly defined pedestrian and cyclist bits everyone's too busy worrying about their 'rights' to think about their responsibilities.

the least stressful shared spaces are the ones that are properly shared. the canal path is a case in point: i might not agree with the way that other people use the path, but in the end that's neither here nor there. if there was a dedicated cycling bit and people walking in it i might feel the need to exercise my 'right' to be there, as it is everyone just has to get along. there's still some idiots, but it works pretty well. the bristol-bath is the same. with a few more idiots.

the concept of sharing transport space is alien to people who solely use motor vehicles, as the road system is based on rigid priorities and control, rather than mutual respect. people will speed up in their car to close off a gap and sit in a queue, stopping other cars from entering the queue, because it's their 'right of way'. I've seen someone deliberately crash into another vehicle to prove a point.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7259 posts]
29th July 2010 - 17:30

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Good point Dave...I was chatting to a lorry driver the other day (as you do) and he was advocating dispensing with all road markings, traffic lights etc to force all road users to exercise a bit of judgement rather than focusing blindly on the rules and their rights. Apparently this was tried somewhere (Scandinavia? can't remember) and it worked a treat.

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
29th July 2010 - 18:56

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handlebarcam wrote:
You literally couldn't pay me enough to move back to London now.)

Loved the Alexander Herzen quote. Your post was spot on - there is a lack of consideration for others in London that really is unsurpassed, in my experience, in the rest of the UK. Yes, the culture of "Get out of my way!" is alive and thriving in the great metropolis - whatever your chosen mode of transport.

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posted by TiNuts [93 posts]
30th July 2010 - 8:31

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Re. chris-grays-inn-road's long piece, I think the responses are fair, and suggest that pavement cyclists, while a real issue for some people, get disproportionate exposure. I'm afraid there are idiots and selfish people in all walks of life and they aren't going to change.

London appears to me to be an alien place. It's the only city I've been to where addressing a stranger, however fleetingly, is seen as odd or unwelcome. I'd happily never go there again. How anyone could prefer living there over anywhere else is beyond me.

Shared paths are fine if you want to amble along at walking pace. For anyone trying to get from A to B more than 5mph they're literally (physically) hard work. Irresponsible dog owners with retractable dog leads, in particular, but I don't see the point of writing on Dog Owner forums about someone whose stupidity could have had me off my bike. I'd prefer those paths to be segregated by a kerb or similar clear demarcation; a line of white paint down the middle obviously means nothing to most people.

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posted by Simon E [1915 posts]
30th July 2010 - 17:01

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For those that think stereotyping or "one tribe" bucketing doesn't matter I have to question whether you are regularly out there on a bike commuting. I have lost count of the times when I have been lawfully making my way and been cut up, forced off the road or had to take rapid evasive action from criminally sub standard driving to be met with abuse along the lines of "you lot don't stop/jump lights/ride on pavements have got it coming/shut your face hypocrite" etc. I'd like to know in what way stereotyping isn't reinforcing contempt from some of the most dangerous road users against the more vulnerable?
I rarely see car drivers out there policing each other and am not sure why the same is expected of "people on bicycles".

posted by arfa [452 posts]
4th November 2013 - 13:23

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