Motoring magazine Auto Express has removed a story from its website which claimed that three in four cyclists broke “road rules.” The article trailed a three-page feature in the current print edition of the magazine in which cyclists were presented as being “guilty,” among other things, of riding without helmets or fluorescent clothing – neither of which are illegal. The story received widespread condemnation from cycling organsations and bike riders after we highlighted it here on road.cc at the weekend.
The decision to pull the story from the Auto Express website was made by James Tye, chief executive of Dennis Publishing which owns the title, and which is set to launch a new cycling magazine, Cyclist, next month. The Auto Express article led, among other things, to a Facebook group being set up calling on the cycling community to boycott the magazine.
Mr Tye, whose Twitter avatar shows him on a bike, complete with helmet (but no hi-viz clothing in sight), was contacted yesterday along with Cyclist’s editor Pete Muir by the London Cycling Campaign after a number of its members urged it to join the boycott of the forthcoming magazine.
Yesterday evening, he tweeted: “as cyclist and ex-journo there is too much wrong with AE piece. It comes down ASAP,” adding, “although survey facts are right, summary and representation is misleading.”
While the story remains in the print magazine, its circulation is less than a twentieth of the more than 1.3 million unique monthly visitors to the Auto Express website who would only have seen the abridged version of the article.
They would not therefore have had access to the full details of the observations carried out by the magazine’s staff, which included an explanation of which “road rules” were subject to the law and which were merely recommendations in the Highway Code.
It is understood that the Press Complaints Commission has accepted a complaint about the print version of the story and presumably will be investigating it to ascertain whether it breaches its Editors’ Code of Practice.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.