Cycling UK has invited Richard Madeley for a nice calming bike ride after the Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter had a full-on Alan Partridge-style exasperated rant at its spokesman. The exchange took place during a debate that was supposed to be about whether a ‘death by dangerous cycling’ law should be introduced, but which quickly descended into Madeley asking why all cyclists aren’t insured.
The segment came after fixed-gear cyclist Charlie Alliston was this week found guilty of causing bodily harm by wanton or furious driving for causing the death of pedestrian Kim Briggs and Briggs’ husband’s subsequent call for the law to be updated.
Early in the interview, Cycling UK spokesman Duncan Dollimore was asked by Madeley’s fellow presenter Kate Garraway whether there should be more accountability for cyclists in collisions or traffic incidents.
Wary of the debate becoming a ‘cyclists v motorists’ thing, Dollimore attempted to make a point about a broader lack of accountability on the roads due to the reduction in road traffic police officers.
However, he was swiftly halted by Madeley, who wasn’t happy.
“Sir, you’re here to answer the questions,” said the presenter. “We didn’t ask you about policing on the roads.”
“You asked me about accountability,” countered Dollimore.
Madeley apparently disagreed and suggested that Dollimore was changing the subject.
After much talking over one another due to a slight delay on the line, Dollimore tried to reset the conversation. “I’m asking you which question you’re asking me to answer.”
“God! Stop playing games,” exclaimed Madeley, manfully suppressing 30 years of broadcasting experience by failing to appreciate that delay. “Would you listen to a question?”
And what was that question…?
It was: “Why aren’t cyclists insured?”
That hadn’t been the original question. But Dollimore answered it anyway.
“There are 25,000 people in this country with bikes [He meant 25 million]. That includes something like 70 per cent of people between five and 12. The logistics of making an insurance system that required children to have insurance would be completely unworkable.
“Bikes also change hands more readily than cars because you have an issue with the sale of bikes because they’re not the value of a car. If you required children as young as six, seven, eight to have insurance, you’d have a system where many people would be discouraged from cycling and it would not be something where the cost would be proportionate.
“The incident with Charlie Alliston and Kim Briggs, which was appalling, had nothing to do with the fact that he was or was not insured.”
Madeley responded: “I have to say your answer to cyclists not being insured seems to me close to suspicious because you’re basically not accepting the point that adult cyclists should carry insurance; of course they should if they’re using the road. You’re just saying it’s too complicated because kids use bikes.”
When asked about the interview by road.cc, Dollimore said: “I did fourteen interviews for TV and radio yesterday in relation to the Alliston case, but was surprised how quickly the GMB piece turned to insurance, licensing and other issues rather than Matt Bridges’ call for new legislation around cycling offences.
“Unfortunately, the time lag on the line also complicated matters, with Richard Madeley clearly thinking I was talking over him, whilst I thought he was interrupting me.
“The papers seem to suggest he was having a bad day yesterday. I don’t know about that, but I do know cycling is great for improving your mental wellbeing, so hope he’ll accept my offer of going for a bike ride sometime.
“We can discuss why Cycling UK isn’t keen to introduce measures which might be a barrier to or put people off cycling, and what needs to be done to actually get more people out cycling, such as space for cycling.”