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BBC responds to complaints about "shameful" LTN report; Cllr won't apologise for anti-cyclist "w*nking off the Dutch" tweet; Calls to ban park through-traffic; Will Suez Canal blockage affect bike industry?; Maintenance near miss + more on the live blog

It's Thursday and Dan Alexander is in the hot seat for all your live blog needs...
25 March 2021, 17:01
British sprinter with track pedigree wins stage of Coppi e Bartali...Spoiler alert: it's not Cav...

Just listen to what that win meant to Ethan Hayter...The promising 22-year-old got his first win of the season over in Italy this afternoon. Elsewhere, Esteban Chaves won the summit finish on stage four of Volta a Catalunya as Adam Yates kept the leader's jersey...

25 March 2021, 16:14
BBC responds to LTN report complaints

The BBC's report on LTNs was branded "shameful" and the creation of a broadcaster who had "embarked on its own journey to stir up a manufactured culture war" by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Cycling and Walking's patron Lord Berkeley. Today, the group received the BBC's response to their complaint, in which the broadcaster's editorial adviser, Sarah Nelson, refuted the claims the report lacked impartiality and stirred up controversy.

"This story was specifically about how divisive LTNs have been in some communities," the letter read. "Justin [Rowlatt] made that clear from the start. This is important precisely because the discussion over LTNs is now neither 'normal' or 'reasonable'. Opposition to LTNs is widespread and very vocal, and has made many local authorities across the country anxious about extending existing LTNs and introducing new ones."

Nelson claims that in this context "it was necessary to use examples of the passions LTNs have provoked". She also insisted the report "did not 'normalise' the death threats, vandalism and other illegal behaviour" and defended Chief Environment Correspondent Justin Rowlatt's commitment to reporting in an "engaging and informative way".

The BBC's response hasn't gone down well with one reader on social media describing it as a "pathetic, disingenuous response" and another saying it is "unforgivable".

 The statement did address Rowlatt's tweet after the video went live commenting that his "inbox is already filling up" and describing the video of a man's swearing rant, included in the report, as "brilliant". Nelson said their reporter deeply regretted his choice of words and had made it clear that he misspoke...

25 March 2021, 15:42
Why the Royal Parks isn't the best target for people's anger about traffic in Regent's Park

We read 16 replies to The Royal Parks' tweet above saying something along the lines of "ban through-traffic". Here's some words from news editor Simon MacMichael on why the Royal Parks isn't the best target for people's criticism and anger about traffic problems in Regent's Park: 

While people are rightly angry about the incident, those criticising the Royal Parks for allowing motor vehicles in Regent's Park are aiming at the wrong target.

Unlike Hyde Park, Green Park and Richmond Park, among others, the roads within Regent's Park are not the responsibility of The Royal Parks, but rather the Crown Estate Paving Commission - described by Laura Laker in this 2019 article on as "an unelected and effectively unaccountable Georgian quango."

25 March 2021, 14:41
Deliveroo shunned by investors because of concerns about workers' rights
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Four big investment firms have rejected the idea of buying Deliveroo shares because of concerns over workers' rights. The BBC reports that although the company hopes to be valued at £8.8bn when it lists its shares next month, BMO Global, CCLA, Aberdeen Standard and Aviva Investors have all been put off by riders' working conditions.

The four firms manage £1.5tn combined, with Andrew Millington, the head of UK Equities at Aberdeen Standard saying the conditions were a "red flag". Deliveroo riders aren't entitled to minimum wage, holiday or sick pay as they are self-employed. Deliveroo responded to the news by saying their riders have "freedom" to choose their working hours.

Millington compared avoiding Deliveroo to his firm's decision to sell off Boohoo shares following allegations of worker exploitation and said "we wouldn't be comfortable that the way in which its workforce is employed is sustainable."

David Cumming of Aviva said investors were taking social responsibilities more seriously and that it is hard to justify investing in a company that doesn't offer guaranteed working hours or a living wage to its employees.

25 March 2021, 14:58
Huge increase in cycling in Bolton with cycle journeys up 167 per cent during lockdown
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Positive news from Greater Manchester shows a huge increase in the number of people cycling during lockdown. Transport for Greater Manchester's on-street sensors on the Chorley New Road in Bolton show that cycle journeys are up by 167 per cent during this lockdown. Nine other locations across Greater Manchester have also seen cycling levels rise since last March.

Bolton News says that a Covid-19 recovery survey found that almost half of respondents want keep on walking and cycling more often as the lockdown eases. The news comes as Bolton Council is running a consultation on more segregated cycle lanes in the borough. 

Greater Manchester's Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman said: "It’s fantastic that half of people living in Greater Manchester have said they plan to travel more on foot or by bike post-Covid. Many have tried it during lockdown and they’ve decided it’s a daily habit that they want to keep. We intend to make sure they have the safe space to do it."

25 March 2021, 14:14
25 March 2021, 13:30
Councillor refuses to apologise for anti-cyclist "w*nking off the Dutch" tweet
Councillor Walker tweet

Councillor Liam Walker refused to apologise at Wednesday's Oxfordshire County Councillors meeting for agreeing with a tweet which said cyclists who are "wanking off the Dutch" should "fuck off over there then". Walker resigned from his role as Cabinet Member for Highways Delivery & Operations before Christmas after a panel concluded he breached Oxfordshire County Council's code of conduct. The Oxford Mail reports Walker was asked to apologise for his breach of conduct by Lib Dem councillor Liz Leffman but said he wouldn't as "the matter is closed and we live and learn don't we?"

He added that none of the 8,000 residents in his ward had written to complain about the incident. In December, the monitoring office found his breach to be "particularly serious" as he was in a role working on highways delivery...

In a statement following his resignation in December, Walker offered an apology of sorts. He said: "I have apologised to those who were genuinely offended by the tweet. It is regrettable that the process has taken up valuable staff time and that taxpayers' money has been used to investigate; at times, aspects of the response have felt disproportionate." 

25 March 2021, 12:54
Will the Suez Canal blockage affect the bike industry?

We'll be keeping our eyes peeled for any news about the Suez Canal blockage impacting the bike industry. We've not heard anything yet but with trade from the Far East to Europe likely to take a hit and 12 per cent of global trade passing through the route, it's got us thinking there could well be some bikes or components on, or delayed by, the cargo ship...

The ship was headed for Rotterdam in the Netherlands where quite a few bike and component brands, including Shimano and Cannondale, have distribution hubs so we could be hearing from them if the situation isn't resolved soon. It's been well-reported that there have been global shortages of gear in the past year, so let's hope this isn't another setback...

25 March 2021, 11:18
Shawn Bradley update: police report details crash that left former NBA star paralysed

 A police report into the January crash which left Shawn Bradley paralysed says the former NBA star was hit by a driver and then collided with a parked car. Bradley couldn't immediately recall the incident but later told police he was riding past a stationary car when he was hit. 

The driver told police she gave the former Dallas Mavericks centre "plenty of room" and that as she looked in her rear view mirror she saw Bradley "flipping through the air". His GPS data showed he was travelling at low speed when he was hit.

"V1 driver looked into their rear view mirror as they passed V2 (a Saturn) and saw the cyclist flipping through the air and landed on their back," the report read. "The cyclist had impacted the driver side rear bumper of V2. After which the bicycle and cyclist travelled along the top of the trunk and the cyclist continued along the side of V1 causing scratches and several dents to V2."

So far, no criminal charges have been filed. Bradley underwent neck fusion surgery after the crash in Utah and remains hospitalised for rehabilitation.

25 March 2021, 11:07
Split belt start-up

A Californian start-up is seeking crowdfunding for their "next-gen drivetrain for the future" of e-bikes and other electric vehicles using a split belt. Veer are selling shares in their business manufacturing "bombproof carbon fibre drive solution with built-in gear shifting." It says the split belt boosts durability, performance, range and affordability over a traditional drivetrain without ever needing lubrication and with its own in gear shifting.

Founded by Sean Hacking, a Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics graduate with experience in automation and robotics, the carbon fibre split belt can be retrofitted onto most frames and was called "true progress" by a judge at Eurobike...

25 March 2021, 10:00
You can't take that on a bike...
25 March 2021, 09:50
"Nothing's changed": Adam Yates not putting success down to Ineos transfer

 Adam Yates poured cold water over speculation that his impressive form is down to his new team Ineos Grenadiers and insisted "nothing's changed". Yates told Cycling Weekly after winning stage three of the Volta a Catalunya that he's still the same rider that was racing last year and a change of colours hasn't impacted that.

 "I was looking pretty good last year too. Nothing’s changed. I am just doing my thing and it doesn’t really matter what team. It’s a great environment and it’s an environment that helps you win bike races but at the end of the day I am still the same guy and I want to keep the ball rolling.

"Every team can be a little bit different, but in the end it’s all the same – everyone’s trying to win bike races."

Yates has started the season in top form, finishing second behind Tadej Pogačar at the UAE Tour before winning yesterday's summit finish at Valter 2000. The win puts him in a commanding position, 45 seconds clear of his teammate Richie Porte and 49 seconds ahead of João Almeida, who struggled on the final climb. Three of the top four on GC ride for Yates' Ineos Grenadiers with Geraint Thomas in fourth, 53 seconds back.

25 March 2021, 08:41
More calls to ban through traffic as another cyclist is injured in a Royal Park crash

There have been more calls to ban through traffic from London's parks after RegentsParkCyclists, shared a photo of the aftermath of the latest crash involving a driver hitting a cyclist in one of the Royal Parks. RegentsParkCyclists, a group for all bike riders who use the park, claims the driver was doing a U-turn when they collided with the cyclist.

One person replied to the tweet saying the cyclist was their son and that he had been taken to St Mary's Hospital with multiple injuries and underwent double surgery last night. The cyclist has no memory of the crash and the father says they are looking for witnesses.

Just last month, the London Cycling Campaign and many others called for through traffic to be banned from Richmond Park after a cyclist was taken to hospital with injuries sustained in crash with a driver whose wrecked car was found off the road nearby. Questions were asked about how the vehicle was so badly damaged when the incident happened in a 20mph zone.

Dan joined in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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