The Daily Mail and The Telegraph have today published opinion pieces slamming the incoming Highway Code changes, and launching outspoken attacks on cycling in Britain.
Florida resident and Mail columnist Richard Littlejohn's work is headlined: 'Bike lane Britain...the Great Leap Backwards. Under cover of Covid, officials have turned our city centres into crazy golf courses giving priority to Lycra-clad lunatics on racing bikes'.
In which he blasts the "mutton-headed communists" and "Genghis [Sadiq] Khan" for supporting cycle infrastructure, while also ripping into cycle lanes built during the pandemic, "Lycra-clad lunatics", "suicide jockeys", two abreast riding, the new 'Hierarchy of Road Users' and the regularly mythbusted road tax.
> "If you're a competent driver it shouldn't cause any issues": Cyclists react to Highway Code change outrage
The Guardian's political correspondent Peter Walker called the column "unhinged, error-strewn and downright weird [...] which adds in elements of racist banter for good measure. All involved should feel deeply ashamed," and awarded Littlejohn the "cycling myth media bingo contest for all-time".
The writer drew analogy between Britain's cycling infrastructure and Chairman Mao's 'kingdom of bicycles', and accused UK transport policy of ruining 21st-century Britain.
Littlejohn claimed city centres are now "crazy golf courses, intended to frustrate freedom of movement by giving priority to Lycra-clad lunatics on racing bikes and suicide jockeys on e-scooters."
> Expect carnage and more danger...Mr Loophole rants about Highway Code changes to talkRadio's Mike Graham
Commenting on the Highway Code changes coming into effect this week, he wrote: "Bikers are encouraged to ride two or three abreast in the middle of the road, deliberately to slow traffic to a crawl. Motorists will be expected to cede to both bikes and pedestrians when turning left."
The Code actually states riding two abreast "can be safer to do so", but that cyclists should "allow them [drivers] to overtake (for example, by moving into single file or stopping) when you feel it is safe to let them do so".
Walker also disputed the claim, amongst many, that "pro-bike extremists were given a blank sheet of paper to write their own rules."
It is not the first time the Mail has been accused of misrepresenting Highway Code changes.
Last week, a MailOnline story told readers that one new rule "tells cyclists to pedal in the middle of the road" when in fact it provides advice about road positioning in certain situations such as on quiet roads or in slow-moving traffic, and riding in primary position has been encouraged by cycling instructors for decades.
> Press misrepresents Highway Code changes – just days before they come into force
The Telegraph too published a provocative opinion piece this morning, titled 'Pedal-pushers have taken over British roads – even as a cyclist, I think it’s time to rein them in'.
The introduction read, "The Highway Code’s new hierarchy of road use (sic) is taking things a bit too far in favour of the smug 'bikeltons' who manage to annoy everyone."
Last week, the Evening Standard was accused of running a misleading headline on a story titled, 'New Highway Code rule will fine drivers £1,000 for opening door with wrong hand'.
The Express went for 'POLL: Do you support new fine for opening car with wrong hand as cyclists given priority?'
Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at the national cycling charity, told road.cc: "A government led public awareness campaign should have started by now, with simple, accurate and memorable messages.
"Instead, less than a week before major Highway Code changes are being introduced, too many people are hearing about them through inaccurate news reports like this from the Evening Standard."
I think Microshift are probably the biggest threat to Shimano....
Interesting, thanks for that information....
Odd tweet from Cycling UK-Cymru....
Agreed on fixed being better for climbing - IF you're still within your gear. When you ride fixed, you'll get used to quite wide a range of cadence...
A beauty. It almost looks as good as my Raleigh Banana.
Yeah - I just think of Boyle's when gas laws come up
Sennen Cove car park operator branded 'a scam' after holidaymaker fined despite buying ticket...
Heresy! Boris would never lie to anyone. Ever.
It's almost like privatising the railroads makes as much sense as trying to privatise the roads, or emergency services..