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CEO of title's owner Dennis Publishing - which launches a cycling magazine next month - orders deletion of article...

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.

11 comments

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cidermart [488 posts] 3 years ago
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Excellent work now we just need that Addison Lee numpty to go do one and the world will be on the way to a better place  3

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andylul [410 posts] 3 years ago
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"although survey facts are right"?

Which 'facts' are those, then?

Not questioning the integrity of the people who stood on the junction for two hours with a clip board (yes I am), but unless Mr Tye was there himself he cannot guarantee anything, especially those judgment calls made on whether a cycle 'nearly caused a collision' or mounted a pavement to the endangerment of pedestrians.

I applaud Dennis for pulling such a crock of sh*te, but they've not done it, IMO, to appease cyclists - they've done it to avoid PCC censure and generally looking like dicks.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 3 years ago
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andylul wrote:

... and generally looking like dicks.

too little, too late for that

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georgee [162 posts] 3 years ago
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Good to see crap writing being pulled by publishers. I'm still suprised the BBC have not commented on pulling/editing David Bonds blog after the furor caused by his Olympic Road Race story.

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downfader [203 posts] 3 years ago
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Good move, and the right decision. Though agree with Andylul - they've perhaps phrased the apology slightly wrong with "facts". What they recorded were incidences that were then misrepresented.

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northstar [1108 posts] 3 years ago
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Quote:

I applaud Dennis for pulling such a crock of sh*te, but they've not done it, IMO, to appease cyclists - they've done it to avoid PCC censure and generally looking like dicks.

This. The facts are based on things which aren't illegal. They need to go further and renounce the whole article and look at why people ignore red lights both in cars and on bicycles - but that doesn't suit their agenda.

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Nick T [913 posts] 3 years ago
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It's more worrying that we look to twitter for official company statements and apologies.

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Nick T [913 posts] 3 years ago
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andylul wrote:

"although survey facts are right"?

Which 'facts' are those, then?

Not questioning the integrity of the people who stood on the junction for two hours with a clip board (yes I am), but unless Mr Tye was there himself he cannot guarantee anything, especially those judgment calls made on whether a cycle 'nearly caused a collision' or mounted a pavement to the endangerment of pedestrians.

I applaud Dennis for pulling such a crock of sh*te, but they've not done it, IMO, to appease cyclists - they've done it to avoid PCC censure and generally looking like dicks.

To be fair, he's not really able to call his staff liars, that would be suicide. Far better to just say they did awful work, which is understandable. We all have off days and turn out horseshit from time to time, but to admit that your magazine is capable of fabricating an article like that - there's no way back from there.

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OldRidgeback [2590 posts] 3 years ago
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It's worth bearing in mind that another reason the company has pulled the article is in a bid to save the soon-to-be-launched cycling publication. Without this action, the new magazine could be dead before it hit the newsstands as an Internet campaign against the company by cyclists would kill it.

The article was deeply flawed and the survey unusable because the criteria for the comments made by those carrying out the survey cannot be analysed accurately. It is not clear how they came to their conclusions that this or that behaviour could lead to this or that conclusion. I hope the PCC will highlight this and shame those connected with the article into taking up posts more suited to their skills, such as working in PR and taking accounts to promote various dictators.

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JonD [396 posts] 3 years ago
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georgee wrote:

Good to see crap writing being pulled by publishers. I'm still suprised the BBC have not commented on pulling/editing David Bonds blog after the furor caused by his Olympic Road Race story.

Certainly not pulled:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/davidbond/2012/07/cavendish_and_co_disappoint...

and TBH the edit didn't change it that much, other than making him sound a little less of an idiot - which he'd demonstrated quite well on the tv footage. Still, now he's been brought to the attention of my OH and myself, we just assume he's talking crap...not to mention that every time he's on he has to come out with 'questions will be asked' or some similar rubbish involving those same words...

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cidermart [488 posts] 3 years ago
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I hadn't seen this report so may I add to my original statement that he can take a long walk off a short pier as well.  4