For the back story click here and here
This morning I found myself listening to BBC Radio London. The Vanessa Feltz phone-in had Mr Addison Lee a.k.a. John Griffin spouting bollocks about cyclists. The basic premise of the programme was 'are cyclists bad road users?' I called the radio station twice but didn't get on air so here in a nutshell is what I told them. Firstly I said it's entirely inappropriate to allow John Griffin to agitate against cyclists whilst not mentioning that he is also inciting his 2500 drivers to break the law. The producer/telephonist said he might get back to me, he didn't. I called again to set straight a different point that road tax is levied against emissions and that Griffin's "pay up" demand was a red herring. "So are you pro bike or anti bike?" asked the producer/telephonist. I pointed out that it's not that simple but if you're going to frame it like that I'm pro bike. Again I was told they might get back to me - they never did.
I'm wondering if the producers screen out sensible voices in order to create conflict, and hence a story. Most of the callers seemed to support Griffin with nothing more than anecdotal evidence. But I really think my points should have been made up front.
Griffin's hypocrisy knows no bounds. He calls for restrictions for cyclists whilst calling on his own mini cabbies to break the law and drive in road space reserved for cyclists. When this point was made to Feltz she said "what's that got to do with cyclists then?"(37:20). Griffin also says (12:40) "I'm not in the business of breaking the law" , that's not true, and he was not challenged on that.
The worst point that was made was that cars have side impact protection and air bags and bikes do not. Hang on a mo' Vanessa, the idea behind air bags is to make your car safer for you, not for making the Queen's highway into a stock car race. Sheeesh.
Vanessa's broadcast was simply irresponsible because it used a broad brush to polarize road users. Yet we all have a right to use limited road space, until John Griffin acknowledges that he shouldn't be allowed to use the BBC as a platform. In short cyclists need a union to fight against this kind of prejudice.