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“I am still allowed to praise cycle lanes”: Jeremy Vine responds to BBC impartiality ruling

The Radio 2 presenter was deemed to have breached the corporation’s guidelines after publicly voicing his support for LTNs, but says he is “grateful” that the investigation exposed the “one-way” abuse aimed at him by anti-cycling activists

Broadcaster and safe cycling advocate Jeremy Vine has revealed that he is “grateful” that an investigation by the BBC’s Executive Complaints Unit (ECU) – which ruled that the presenter breached the corporation’s impartiality guidelines by publicly expressing his support for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – has "exposed” what he describes as years of “one-way” abuse and “personal vilification” towards him and other local cyclists by groups committed to opposing active travel measures.

Radio 2 presenter Vine was spoken to by BBC bosses after a complaint was lodged by a member of the One Chiswick anti-LTN group, which claimed that tweets posted by the broadcaster constituted a “campaign of abuse against a legitimate campaigning group”.

> Jeremy Vine breached BBC’s impartiality rules by publicly supporting LTNs 

While the ECU found Vine’s conduct on social media to be “inconsistent with the BBC’s editorial standards as they applied to him”, it dismissed the claim that Vine had coordinated a “campaign of abuse” against One Chiswick, and instead argued that the presenter “had primarily been responding to posts from a Facebook group superintended by the complainant… wishing him harm and describing him in opprobrious terms.”

The ECU added that Vine “was entitled to object to such personal abuse and, as he did so in terms which were not themselves abusive, his tweets were consistent with the relevant BBC Guidance in that respect.”

> “Supporting LTNs is not controversial”: Criticism for BBC over Jeremy Vine impartiality ruling 

In a statement released this afternoon, Vine said that he was “grateful for the impartiality ruling”.

“Most importantly,” he said, “the ruling identifies the complainant as the person who ‘superintends’ a West London Facebook page which has spent years targeting named local cyclists, like me, with abuse.

“By accident or design, the complainant’s role in the personal vilification of cyclists in my area – ‘wishing me harm’ – has been exposed by the BBC ruling, which goes on to confirm that the abuse was all one-way, and I never responded in kind.

“Secondly, the judgement is about comments I have made about LTNs. I understand that I am still allowed to praise cycle lanes, which are different. I can certainly praise the cycle lane which runs down the end of my street.

“I’m happy to accept that I should not praise LTNs that I haven’t used myself. This is helpful guidance for me.”

> “Shameful”: BBC “perpetuated falsehoods” in divisive low traffic neighbourhood report 

Since the publication of the BBC’s report, cyclists have criticised the ruling and supported Vine’s stance on LTNs and cycling infrastructure.

Responding to our initial story, the Twitter account Holywood Cyclist wrote: “Supporting LTNs is not controversial, no matter what the review says. If you ever wonder what a car-dominated society looks like, this is it.”

“It’s unfair that you can’t praise cycling infrastructure that’s designed to improve wellbeing,” tweeted “Don’t let anyone think they’re winning… you are. You’re a super ambassador for cycling in communities. Many listen to you, as they know you’ll always give a rounded view.”

One reader, IanMK, pointed out that Vine “is basically supporting government policy (Gear Change) and local democracy (decisions made by elected representatives)” and questioned, “Are BBC employees not allowed to do this?”

Another reader, Gus T – perhaps alluding to the BBC’s controversial report into LTNs last March, which was described by a patron of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling and Walking as an attempt by the broadcaster to “stir up a manufactured culture war” – summarised the ruling as: “Pro cyclist comments — not impartial. Anti-cycling articles and programmes — impartial. So much for a balanced view on cycling by the BBC.”

Ryan joined in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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eburtthebike | 1 year ago

It appears that there is a way presenters can dodge the impartiality rules

"THE BBC has come under fire for a loophole that allows one of its presenters to dodge impartiality rules"

Awavey | 1 year ago

the full details of the ECU outcome is here which some might find interesting

now for me the relevant part and I think Jeremy is hinting at this in his statement, the impartiality rules only applied, because the ECU deemed  "The introduction of an LTN was a source of sharp controversy in Chiswick at the time in question, (mirroring controversies in other localities where LTNs have been introduced)".

and because its deemed a controversial topic, the impartiality rules then say you cant endorse one viewpoint on that topic and controvert another

like literally if LTNs werent deemed "controversial", and Im sure we can debate that apart from the squeeky wheels demanding the oil, for the majority of people in the country they definitely arent, so maybe this panel need to check out their unconcious biases, then Jeremy could have tweeted his support for them no problem.

and you thought W1A was just a sitcom...

eburtthebike replied to Awavey | 1 year ago

Ah yes, the controversial topic rule, which they are only too happy to ignore when it's about cycle helmets or cycling in general.

The _Kaner | 1 year ago

In other little town got some upgrades.
New cycle paths... (shared with foot traffic - so bound to be conflict) that take you around a new ring road/ bypass being essentially guiding you on to what will be a high traffic area.
And what images do the local council newsletter use to promote it?
Yes...a car parked firmly up on the kerb, on the new route for cycles...and on double yellow lines.

F@cking well done...

chrisonabike replied to The _Kaner | 1 year ago

I guess they've let the cat out of the bag there.  The first picture shows the usual "all provision evaporates at a junction".  The second picture, the track end is a mess.  You say "shared with foot traffic":  however it looks like they've at least tried to be very clear about who goes where on the main part.  Better than a lot of the stuff around where I stay.  There, our council can't agree from one scheme to the next on a "standard".  Probably because they occur about once or twice a decade at most, and it's always "and in the places it's easiest to do cyclists and pedestrians can have what's left".

The _Kaner replied to chrisonabike | 1 year ago

You can see a decided lack of width for two-way cycle traffic on the red path, which means that inevitably the right-most cyclists will be faced with possible oncoming traffic - should he have to do some emergency manoeuvres...and the cyclist on the inside (left) will possibly have to disentangle themself from pedestrian(s) traffic...and no doubt some leashed canines too.

There was no consultation with locals, especially our local cycling group #Team905.

I wonder which bright-spark planner decided on the  new route.

The 'bypass' is meant to alleviate town-centre traffic..which for such a small town, can take upwards of 15 minutes to travel 3km.

With shopping (Aldi/Lidl/Tesco) along the current main route,  at one end of the town and two secondary schools at the other, these are high volume pinch points. There are 3 mini roundabouts along the route with ped X'ing at each side of these roundabouts. Makes for interesting sudden impact, stop-start traffic. 

In their infinite wisdom, the new 'bypass' actually diverts the traffic to a more residential area (WHY?) and actually also bisects another main road - these new routes are now littered with traffic lights. If this is now to be the main route through town, it would have made more sense to have added the cycle path/routes through, what will become the lesser used main road...!!! But, hey-ho...I'm guessing that wasn't even on their minds...spend, spend, spend...we have the money...but not the brains to use it wisely.

chrisonabike replied to The _Kaner | 1 year ago

Apologies - I was in UK mode and thought "not bad, you can get what looks like most of a car in there!" - of course, it's supposed to be bi-directional way and it does look like parts are rob Peter (pedestrian) to pay Paul (cyclist).

There's definitely plenty incentive to spend the cash and stuff the wisdom.

Meanwhile in a land actually not very far away (but some from a long time ago):

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