Since Friday the video below of a driver not stopping to let a five-year-old cyclist pass has been watched 1.8 million times, at the time of writing, and has attracted close to 8,000 replies on Twitter...
How can we expect parents to let their kids ride to school if this is how their neighbours drive towards them? He's five by the way and this is 100m from his home. @theJeremyVine @MikeyCycling @TheWarOnCars @London_Cycling @KingstonCycling @markandcharlie @cyclegaz pic.twitter.com/TPoqThXmiG
— AZB (@azb2019) November 4, 2022
Posted by the father, who this morning appeared on Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 show to respond to the hoardes of internet critics pointing the finger at him — and some even at his son — for riding on the road and expecting a driver to not continue within touching distance through a narrowing caused by parked vehicles.
Much of the dialogue about the clip has ignored the advice of the recently added 'Hierarchy of Road Users' part of the Highway Code which tells road users with the potential to cause the most danger to others that they will be deemed to have greater responsibility to those who are more vulnerable than them.
Instead, also ignoring the basic "human compassion" journalist Mike Parry suggested was lacking from the driving, much of the 'debate' has centred on if the child should have been riding on the road in the first place, something Conservative peer Baroness Foster — appointed to the House of Lords by then Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December 2020 — argued online.
The former Conservative Transport Spokesperson in European Parliament, specialising in the aviation and aerospace sectors, replied to the viral video, arguing: "A child that small should not be cycling on a road! A completely irresponsible decision along with your comments that puts the entire onus on the car drivers if/when something goes horribly wrong!"
Responding to the backlash during a segment titled 'Cycling row: Who's in the wrong?' the father who filmed the footage, Ashley, told Jeremy Vine on 5 "the facts are clear on this one — the driver was wrong and my son has every right to ride on the road".
"The facts are clear on this one, the driver was wrong, and my son has every right to ride in the road.
"That's clear cut."
Ashley joins us after a cycling video of his five-year-old son being driven at by a car went viral.
— Jeremy Vine On 5 (@JeremyVineOn5) November 8, 2022
He added that it would be "factually wrong" for anyone to claim the driver did not put the young cyclist at risk.
"You can see from the clip they should have stopped way sooner," he said. "They had plenty of distance to make that decision, we had lights on, reflective clothing. The distance [to the pair cycling] just is not safe. People will argue 'oh, plenty of room, you could drive a bus through there'... well, I'm sorry, that's not factually correct.
"That's less than a metre gap so legally that's wrong and then morally that's wrong. You can debate as much as you want about whether the law is wrong but you know for a fact, everyone knows, that was too close."
Backing Ashley up, journalist and panel guest Mike Parry said the debate about whether the child should have been cycling on the road is "utterly irrelevant".
"Surely human compassion, surely human nature says that if you're driving a car at speed and there's a little child coming the other way your instinct should be the protective nature of an adult in a car over a child," he told Vine.
"There's no argument there. Every time I see this I flinch, I get a shiver down my back [...] I don't know whether the child should have been there or not, that's a separate scientific argument on roadcraft and all that... but when you see a child on a bike, a little five-year-old coming towards you, you pull in just to make absolutely sure no harm is going to come to the child. It's natural instincts."
Writing on Twitter, Vine suggested that anyone who cannot see that the driver "must go dead slow, or stop" should "cut up their driving licence and send the pieces back to the DVLA".
Dan joined road.cc 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 road.cc, 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.