The AA's president Edmund King has hit out at numerous newspapers for suggesting it is somehow ironic that the head of Britain's biggest motoring organisation would suggest cycling and walking are more affordable than driving for short journeys.
Taking to Twitter, King posted several newspaper clippings in which the headlines appeared to express surprise at his comments.
Under the headline 'AA: Drive? You're better walking!', The Sun's opening paragraph was: "Fuel prices have got so high even the AA is advising drivers to walk instead."
King's response to the headlines was: "Media seems surprised @TheAA_UK
suggesting drivers walk or cycle short journeys. Being saying this for years. Save money, keep fit, better for environment. What's not to like?"
Sensible and responsible advice. Incredible some want to paint it as somehow sensational, radical or even undesirable.…🤷♂️
We need more influential people like this 👏👏 https://t.co/EFQzpnWlQ9
— Chris Boardman (@Chris_Boardman) June 11, 2022
The interim commissioner for Active Travel England Chris Boardman praised King's advice as "sensible and responsible", and also expressed bemusement that it could be considered radical to cycle or walk instead of drive short journeys.
King's quotes that were picked up on were: "This is the worst week of pump pain so far for drivers.
"We would urge drivers at the moment to cut out shorter car journeys if they are able to do so, and walk or cycle to save money. Almost one fifth of AA members are already doing this."
While the AA president has pushed for government assistance to ease current record petrol and diesel prices - telling BBC Radio 4's World At One that another 10p fuel duty cut should be introduced immediately - it's certainly not his only reason for advocating active travel over motoring in many situations. In 2016 King was instrumental in launching the AA's Cyclist's Highway Code book backed by Chris Boardman, and also wrote the foreword to Roads Were Not Built For Cars by transport journalist Carlton Reid.
While the UK government's 5p-per-litre fuel duty cut in March was criticised by some for having little impact on prices at the pumps, other countries have been considering alternative methods to make transport more affordable. Germany, for example, has just introduced a 9 euro unlimited train ticket that can be used on the whole Deutsche Bahn rail network for one entire month during June, July and August.
We'll be waiting in great anticipation for the lucrative private franchises that are responsible for a large proportion of Britain's trains to introduce similar wallet-friendly offers...
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.