Friday, 7 December 2012
THE WAR ON BRITAIN'S ROADS - IRRESPONSIBLE OR NOT?
For the first ten minutes of this programme, I was shocked and wanted to turn it off. I mean the title in itself was antagonistic enough, but something made me watch the entire thing. I'm glad I did in the end.
Seeing the road from the camera of a cyclist is a view I see nearly every day, but not to that level. I cycle around London and I love to see the city from my bike. This programme did show drivers aggression at it's worst and it does concern me that if anyone was thinking about taking up cycling but was a little unsure - well, it's going to well and truly put them off. Can I say to those people - don't let it.
Cynthia, the woman who lost her daughter tragically in a cycling accident summed it up for me. Yes, all road users do ride/drive in a competitive space, but shouldn't it be a co-operative space?
We're all riding together, whether we like it or not and the number of cyclists is growing. It's cheaper, more economical and let's face it much more fun than being in an underground capsule smelling someone else's armpit or being sneezed on.
The London Cycle Campaign and The Times are pushing fantastic campaigns to improve the safety of cyclists - such as 'No More Lethal Lorries' and 'Love London, Go Dutch'. However, these changes aren't going to happen over night and in the meantime we all need to try and ride together and give each other respect when doing so. With so many different types of road users it's clear that we all need to understand the others road positions. Cyclists need to look out for other drivers and drivers need to look out for cyclists.
So was this programme irresponsible? On one level I thought this programme was sensationalising the issues on the roads. Of course it would, it makes good TV. It proved to me that having a camera on your helmet can help as evidence or show drivers how irresponsibly they're driving, but I feel so sad that it's come to that.
It also showed the devastating affect the death of a cyclist has on their family and the courage of a mother who made positive change for the safety of all cyclists in her daughter's memory. I hope this will make some drivers think twice before they do something dangerous.
For me though, you had to wait until near the end to pick up any real positive aspects of the programme. This is where I think the programme could have been much better. It needed to be clearer that there is the need to educate ALL road users. For example, for cyclists to sit in a cab of a HGV and see it from their angle and for ALL drivers to have cycle training. This includes bus drivers, cabbies, HGV drivers and cyclists themselves. Cycle training needs to be part of the driving test - either in a practical or theoretical way. We also need to do some creative campaigning and TV programming to make existing drivers aware of what is good and safe cycling practice so that we can start to eradicate these so called 'wars'.
As for the two idiotic courier racers, I abhor you. You're stupid and dangerous!
To people like Lewis, the traffic droid, I salute you. Here is a cyclist with respect.
So BBC – irresponsible in places with some good intentions that you had to dig deep for. Next time, can you make more positive programming about cycling? Make peace not war.