Apology follows motoring magazine's anti-cycling rant… and columnist is history

Article in 'Good Motoring' will be journalist's last for the publication

by Mark Appleton   February 28, 2011  

Good Motoring.jpg

Good Motoring is the quarterly magazine for members of the Guild of Experienced Motorists (GEM) Motoring Assist – think AA and RAC but without the economies of scale – and modestly claims to offer “a superb line-up of news, features and interviews.”

Usually….at least when their subs are awake….and all the planets are perfectly aligned…and someone called Jane King isn’t contributing.

Jane doesn’t like cyclists. Or horse-riders. Or pheasants. You see people on bikes and on horses slow Jane down. And pheasants? Well, other drivers actually try to avoid running them over, which can inconvenience Jane. And that is not good. That makes Jane angry.

And when Jane is angry, she jolly well lets people know about it. In Good Motoring.
Pheasants, cyclist and horse riders have really made Jane cross just lately.

First it was those gamebirds or “space invaders” as Jane bizarrely calls them. After berating other drivers – this is a magazine for motorists, remember – for not simply keeping their foot planted and driving over the hapless critters she embarks on an extended rant at cyclists, kicking off by bemoaning our sub-standard pheasant-avoidance technique.

She says: "You'd think that cyclists, being at one with the elements, would be more able to deal sensibly with such 'space invaders.'

"Unfortunately, certainly of late, this group seems to consist of real and exacting enthusiasts [we've no idea either] who behave as if every training trip is a stage of the Tour de France."

Are you an exacting cyclist who was recently on a training trip acting as if you were a one man peloton? Shame on you, you might have been holding Jane up. Now she's angry and we shall all be made to feel her terrible wrath.

"And as such [ie exacting cyclists on phantom Tour de France training trips] they have a narrow, blinkered vision of how the road should be used at that moment - which is purely for them. The motor vehicle must, and will take at least second place"

Right. Some interesting sentence construction in there, Jane. Anyway, who cares about grammar? Jane is into her stride and shifts up a gear to deliver her withering coup de grace.

"Sorry - who pays road tax, exactly?"

Oh Jane! Why must you hurt us so? But she's not finished yet, not by a damn sight.

"This, er, singleness of mind is not restricted to 'touring racers' either," opines Jane. No it certainly is not. It turns out that exacting, touring racer cyclists on fantasy Tour de France training trips are only half the bleedin' problem for poor, put-upon Jane.

If she can't move for inconsiderate pheasant-dodging two wheeled plebs in the country it's just as bad in London where she sometimes goes, perhaps due to her singular importance in the realm of all things automotive.

"Having recently visited London I am now certain there is an entirely different code for cyclists which as a driver I personally find horrifying, and terrifying as a pedestrian."

See, Jane keeps it real by walking, sometimes.

"But woe betide anyone who dares try to bring these itinerant road users to book."

Itinerant road users, Jane? You mean like road users who use the road to get from place to place, sort of like...everyone on the road?

"What's more, if one of them gets hurt - mon dieu! The fault cannot possibly lie with them - they're saving the planet!" shrieks Jane.

Clearly the multi-lingual Jane is a sophisticated creature who has mastered the language used by genuine, non-fantasy Tour de France exacting cyclists who are not on training trips but possibly doing a spot of touring racing.

What also annoyed Jane while she was being important in London was a particular cyclist's inability to hear her "energetic verbal riposte" due to their being "attached to an iPod" when they almost knocked her over on a pedestrian crossing.

Having finished being important in London, Jane gets back to the countryside only to discover: “aargh! Horse riders! Two abreast!”

But Jane always has the last laugh and in what for her is a satisfying denouement to the article - albeit one that's curiously similar to celebrity chef James Martin's claims about scaring some cyclists into a hedge -  one of the horse riders comes a cropper.

While waving, the young girl loses her balance, “slips to one side and whoops! Off into the hedge, screeching blue murder as she drops. There is a god after all…” concludes Jane, triumphantly.

Except....maybe there isn’t. At least not for Jane

The website ipayroadtax.com reports that GEM Motoring Assist’s Chief Executive David Williams received a number of emails complaining about the article. He told complainants:

“I can only apologise and agree with you that Jane King’s article was ill-informed and at total odds with the aims and objectives of GEM Motoring Assist.

“Regrettably due to an error on our part the article was not checked nor edited in our normal way. Again I can only apologise for this error and assure you that Road Safety for all road users remains our prime aim and we continue to promote a courteous and considerate approach for all those sharing our roads.

"Jane King has been advised that her contributions to Good Motoring Magazine will not be required in the future.”


23 user comments

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posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
28th February 2011 - 20:52


At least they've got rid of her. Well done to David Williams.

When James Martin wrote his article, apparently they gave him a pay rise...

posted by londonplayer [671 posts]
28th February 2011 - 21:01


I am a member of GEM and read the magazine, which was ok until I got to this ridiculous article. I took it into work to write them a letter but this is now obviously not necessary Wink

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

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
28th February 2011 - 21:07


Oh and I was going to advise Jane that she may like to take up cycling as she was looking a little on the 'pudgy' side Big Grin

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

badbunny's picture

posted by badbunny [71 posts]
28th February 2011 - 21:10


my email:

Sir / Madam,

Recently an article in the Good Motoring magazine was bought to my attention. It was written by Jane KIng, and is entitled "Living in perfect harmony with my fellow road users". In it she talks about cyclists and in particular how cyclists feel that cars should come second to cyclists. Can I ask why she assumes that cyclists should come second to cars on the road please? Ah hold on, she's explained, because Car drivers pay road tax. that explains it. silly me!

But hold on, 'Road Tax' was abolished in 1937, someone should tell Jane to cancel her direct debit, I assume Jane is talking about vehicle excise duty which is a government tax on the car you own, it does not pay for the upkeep of any road in the UK, so it therefore does not give Jane King a god given right to take precedence over other road users.

I am a keen amateur racing cyclist. How do I get to the races I take part in? By car! So I also pay Vehicle excise duty, as does almost every cyclist I know.

Shoddy, lazy journalism at best, please pass these comments on to Jane.


I got the stock response as above, good on them

posted by warton [25 posts]
28th February 2011 - 21:46


Good on the magazine! They've done the right thing and apologised, and accepted that something was wrong.

downfader's picture

posted by downfader [204 posts]
28th February 2011 - 21:52


So Jane King admits in print that the presence of her vehicle on the road was instrumental in causing a horse rider to fall into the hedge, possibly receiving injuries and damgae to property. Perhaps its a good job that the young riders did not get her registration number as she might be reminded of her legal liability under section 170 of the Road Traffic Act to give her details to anyone adversely affected by the presence of her car in close proximity

So sad that we have drivers who think this way as get to write about it as well.

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

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [504 posts]
28th February 2011 - 22:05


Just out of interest, does anyone know if the magazine will be actually printing an apology and/or a retraction? Confused

Ooooh, me legs...

posted by Oh heck... [47 posts]
1st March 2011 - 8:22


Is this the same Jane King who is editor of Farmer's Weekly? Do they approve of frightening horse riders?

Perhaps a bit of investigative journalism by Road CC

posted by jforbes004 [7 posts]
1st March 2011 - 8:44


Hmm, interesting bit about a Jane King being editor of Farmer's Weekly. That I can investigate. If they are one and the same, I will take it up with her next time I meet her. I'll point out that some of her readers may be less than happy with her attitude to horses.


posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
1st March 2011 - 9:20


bloody idiot

posted by Karbon Kev [682 posts]
1st March 2011 - 9:38


Good result.

"Is this the same Jane King who is editor of Farmer's Weekly? Do they approve of frightening horse riders?"

That looks like a different Jane King, from a quick google search.

posted by stabiliser [7 posts]
1st March 2011 - 10:27


Never mind Jane - I'm sure the Daily Mail will hire you.

posted by jarderich [87 posts]
1st March 2011 - 12:51


ppf. Rumour has it, she is a good friend of Jeremy Clarkson!
Seriously, drivers should be more patient of all other road users.perhaps the law should adopt the european stance that motorised vehicle drivers are responsible for looking out for cyclists and pedestrians. I am off to annoy drivers by my very presence,CYCLING on their car tax paid for roads! (I derive great pleasure in replying to that "famous qoute" that I have two motorcycles,a car and a motorhome, that currently have fully paid road fund liciences! Therefore, I am just as entitled to use the roads. It either shuts them up or they spout expletives as they accelerate away.)


posted by peasantpigfarmer [46 posts]
1st March 2011 - 13:59


It's her parents fault.. they should have called her Jo!

posted by rfc1872 [4 posts]
1st March 2011 - 14:47


Here's the latest European take on road safety - perhaps Jane King should take particular note of the final sentence:

The European Commission’s strategic Communication on Road Safety 2011-2020 should translate into detailed measures and common targets to be set out in a Fourth EU Road Safety Action Program by the end of 2011, claims Dieter-Lebrecht Koch’s (EPP, DE) in his draft on an own-initiative report presented yesterday to the Members of the Transport Committee.

“35,000 people killed and 1.5 million severely injured road users in 2009 are still a horrible high blood toll paid on European roads calling for further firm action,” Koch said. While approving the Commission’s target of halving road deaths in the current decade, he reaffirms EP’s call for setting a long-term aim of preventing all road deaths (‘Vision Zero’). Supplementary intermediate targets should be added such as reducing the number of children killed by 60 per cent and reducing the number of critically injured road users by 40 per cent by 2020, Koch urged.

The rapporteur stressed the need for comparable data collection throughout the EU in order to develop a system of harmonised European statistics and analyses on the causes of accidents. Additionally, every Member State should be required to draw up national road safety plans based on harmonised guidelines. Such an integrated multi-level approach asks for the creation of the office of a European Road Safety Coordinator, he believes.

Besides infrastructure improvements and enhanced training for rescue teams, Koch asks for special attention to be paid to vulnerable road-users such as cyclists and pedestrians and insists on life-long learning even for experienced drivers to adapt to new technical car and road features.


posted by OldRidgeback [2308 posts]
1st March 2011 - 15:25


Jane appears to have been driving for so long that she's forgotten her responsabilities as a road user! The Highway Code seems to have been a tool to get her through her driving test and promptly forgotten as soon as the L plates were torn up Big Grin

giff77's picture

posted by giff77 [1068 posts]
1st March 2011 - 21:32


you know what if paying road fund licence is that big a bloody deal for car drivers against cyclists then how much do you want me to pay for the disk and where on my bike would you like me to mount it! And while we are on the age old rant I will gladly take my bike to get an MOT and I will gladly insure it just as soon as all that becomes a leagal requirement.

tired old fart

posted by tired old fart [82 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 12:50


I'm also more than happy to display a 'road tax' badge on my bike, especially given that the fees based on my emissions of hydrocarbons would be ZERO. Just like an electric car - something else most motorists with this kind of attitude don't take into account ...


posted by RuthF28 [94 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 14:06


RuthF28 wrote:
I'm also more than happy to display a 'road tax' badge on my bike, especially given that the fees based on my emissions of hydrocarbons would be ZERO. Just like an electric car - something else most motorists with this kind of attitude don't take into account ...


Yes, and the car doesn't have to be electric. There are a number of diesel and petrol cars which emit less than 100g CO2 per km, and are therefore exempt from VED.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1380 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 17:10

1 Like

I'm also happy to display my free VED disc.

Maybe Jane King, Jeremy Clarkson et al should get together and overcome the administrative and logical headaches of getting the law changed, finding an address for every owner of every bike in every shed, garage and bike rack in the country, writing to them (and presumably the parents of children who own bikes), issuing the VED discs, policing the display of the VED discs and a whole load of other things I haven't thought of.

Then they can turn their attention to pacifying a nation of motorists after the cost of VED sky rockets due to the huge increase in administration costs and zero extra income.

Or they could just keep their ill-informed opinions to themselves.


posted by robert.brady [146 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 19:01


people get so tetchy about an oppinion ! come on jane if you want my attention you might try arming yourself otherwise i'll pass you the same as i pass everyone else. and for those people upset by this try living some where with real problems.

posted by squaddy [4 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 21:13


if sustrans want to incorage biking then they need to stop giving money to schools only for some headmaster/mistress to miss manage the funds. instead they could look at providing better helmets for kids cos in my experience most helmets for less than £100.00 are hideousely uncomfortable and realy make you sweat after only 100mtrs. i take lots of kids out on bike rides and for most in this deprived area having a bike is a pipe dream ! the kids that have parents that buy there kids a helmet force them to wear these uncomfortable and frankly dubiouse cycle helmets. if these parents had to wear these helmets then the bikes would never get ridden. most helmets dont protect the jaw and lets face facts dentistry is expensive and usually very painfull. if you are unfortunate enough to go over the handle bars then your chin will probably hit first or your temple which i believe to be the toughest part of the skull. beyond this your looking at the sort of damage where internal organs impact the skelleton with such force that a helmet would make little difference anyway. we rap our kids in cotton wool too much and spoil the experience as well as increasing the cost. my eldest boy has just started at a school with a higher offstead report than his last and when i inquired about cycling to school the rep told me that my son needed a cycling profisioncy certificate which i would have to go elsewhere to get and he must wear a helmet despite dumping his first helmet years ago. we ride everywhere usually together and despite failing my cycling proficiancy when the wheel of an army lorry went round next to me aged 12 i currently hold 7 licences and it would appear that the cycling proficiancy was changed or stopped back in 2006 so my boy has little or no chance of meeting this red tape requirement. i wonder if (Danny Mcaskil)free style mtb champ past his cycling proficiancy. the bike holders at this new school are a tripping hazard and now they want my boy to attend on a bike in an attempt to win the funding from sustrans. i feel that if they cannot provide the training to meet these standards then they have no business asking for such certification. if anyone from sustrans is reading this then i would urge you to address these problems instead of giving money to organisations that dont fully understand that red tape needs slashing and cycling needs more incouraging. expensive bike sheds in schools are not the answer as my boys last school has shown. the bike sheds were used more by bullies ! many of the parents had issues with alcohol or medication and perhaps domestic violence too. even if we all rode bikes tomorrow then hospitals a A&E would probably only occasionaly see a cyclist as i feel that seriouse injurys would be rare unless caused by people driving with out due care and attention. basic road safety should be taught in schools as part of the carriculum including the responsibillity for using your brakes and the liabillity if you nock someone down/ over.

posted by squaddy [4 posts]
5th March 2011 - 23:15