The hosts of consecutive shows on radio station LBC yesterday provided a striking example of the polarised attitudes towards cycling prevalent in the UK’s mainstream media, with morning show presenter James O’Brien insisting that “any argument against cycling is an argument against pollution, obesity and death.”
His comments came after his colleague Nick Ferrari, in the station’s breakfast slot, had spoken of cyclists put themselves in danger by riding through red lights and undertaking vehicles.
LBC was focusing on cycling following the publication on Tuesday of the report from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (APPCG) on Cycling and the Justice System.
The APPCG called, among other things, for the Highway Code to be changed “to give clearer priority to cyclists (and other vulnerable road users), particularly with regard to the issue of close overtaking and the need to give way to cyclists and pedestrians at side road crossings, which would support the introduction of new cycling infrastructure.”
A tweet from LBC trailing its coverage of the report drew a withering response from West Midlands Police’s road policing unit, which has been widely praised for its close pass initiative launched last year and which is now being adopted by forces nationwide.
— CMPG – Road Policing (@Trafficwmp)
O’Brien referred to one of the arguments deployed by opponents of protected cycling infrastructure such as London’s Cycling Superhighways – that they increase congestion and, by implication, pollution.