Controversial doco is called 'The War on Britain's Roads' - how will cyclists be portrayed?...

The BBC has announced that it will air its one hour special documentary on cyclists and motorists, fueled by helmet cam footage, at 9pm on BBC1 on 5th December.

The documentary has come under fire for appearing to be more than a little confrontational.

The broadcaster describes the programme as “an adrenaline-filled one-off film for BBC One."

They go on to say: “As more and more people take up cycling as a way of beating the traffic or just keeping fit on their commute, the potential for conflict between cyclists and drivers has increased massively,” the BBC said.

“Now cameras installed on bikes and in vehicles will use heart-stopping footage of interactions between road users to reveal a shocking picture of life on Britain’s roads. The film will follow current cases as they go through the courts and revisit the tragic stories of some of those who have lost their lives on Britain’s roads.”

The documentary has been made by Leopard Films, whose Chief Executive Officer, Todd Austin, commented: “This timely documentary highlights a growing issue on Britain’s roads, from the viewpoint of both the motorist and the cyclist. BBC One is the perfect home for this insightful and at times shocking film.

"Viewers are parachuted into the middle of the battle that is raging between two-wheeled road users and their four-wheeled counterparts."

Helmet cams are a mode of documentation, legal protection and downright fun for a growing number of cyclists, but portraying commuting as a 'battle', or 'adrenaline fuelled' goes against the vision the vast majority of riders would wish to see on the roads as more people take to two wheels.

Thomas Stokell, MD of Challenge for Change, which runs workplace cycle projects, told BikeBiz:

"There is clearly a risk here that this documentary will only portray cycling to be a dangerous, tragedy-filled activity. While clashes between people who drive cars and people who ride bikes do occur, it may seem to people who watch this documentary that they happen everyone time you ever ride your bike. This will clearly not be conducive to encouraging more people to take up cycling.

"Personally, I ride everyday, mainly in Bristol, but in cities all over the country as well, and I have hardly ever had a hostile confrontation with someone in a car. Positive interactions with other road users on one ride far far far outweigh any negative incidences.

"I really do hope that the documentary makers plan to show viewers at the beginning and the end of the documentary that hundreds of thousands of people ride everyday in the UK, and the vast majority of them have very pleasant rides. Why would they cycle if it wasn't highly enjoyable to do so?"

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.