The newsreader Jon Snow has attacked cyclists who “behave extremely badly” on the streets, ahead of a road safety conference in Glasgow this week.
Snow, who is President of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) is chairing the Cycling Scotland Conference this Friday at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, discussing how national and local initiatives are helping to increase cycling.
But Snow, a keen cyclist who’s often seen riding to work in London, said he didn’t know a single cyclist who never jumped a red light.
He told Scotland on Sunday: “Cyclists could behave better. At the moment we behave extremely badly, and I don’t know if there are any cyclists who haven’t gone through a red light. You do not get that on the Continent.”
But, he added, separating cars from bikes, and discouraging drivers from urban centres by charging them to enter at peak times, could help improve safety.
“So many people are cycling, especially in urban areas, that a radical rethink is required,” he said.
“Further congestion charging needs to be introduced in every city in Britain to reduce the number of single-occupancy cars and make more space for cycling,” he said.
“The proof of congestion charging is in London, and if used properly, wise Scots would be foolish to reject it.”
John Lauder, director of Sustrans Scotland said: “In Europe, cyclists and car drivers are segregated for much of the time, which helps.”
But he spoke in support of Snow’s comments, saying: “As a noted cycling commuter using the streets of London on a daily basis he is in a good position to comment on high-quality and safe infrastructure for cycling, and also reducing the number of vehicles on city streets through congestion charging.
“Away from constructing and retro-fitting our streets there is much to commend a thorough investigation of congestion charging by local authorities and Transport Scotland.”
A spokeswoman for the Transport Scotland agency said: “Ministers have no plans to introduce road charging now or any time in the future.”
Glasgow City Council said: “The council’s transport policy does not currently include the introduction of congestion charging.
“The policy is, where possible, to use trip-end parking charges to manage demand and reduce commuting journeys to the city centre by private car.”
In 2010 we reported how the Daily Mail ran an article they say exposes CTC president Jon Snow as a serial rule-breaker during a three-mile bike ride from Channel 4 news HQ to his home.
The article, headlined Drivers beware: How news presenter Jon Snow flouts the rules of cycle safety, begins, “As figurehead of a society which represents the interests of Britain’s 20million cyclists, news presenter Jon Snow might be expected to set an example behind the handlebars.
“And indeed he does. A bad one.
“Despite being a vocal campaigner for cycle safety, the 62-year-old flouts the rules with astonishing regularity.”
A photographer at least must have followed the newsreader for the three-mile journey to his home – via a pub quiz – because the article then catalogues a series of transgressions, with supporting photos.
They include not stopping at red lights, riding on the pavement, failing to stop at a box junction to allow an oncoming ambulance to pass, failing to stop at a zebra crossing, and using his mobile while cycling – including apparently sending a text.
And in 2011 we reported comments from Snow, who blamed cyclist behaviour and deaths on poor infrastructure. He said: “..if there were better provision for cyclists on the roads, there would be better behaviour. And if there was better behaviour, those rising numbers of deaths would be reversed.”
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.