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I was filling in the Road.cc survey and it really made me think what I liked about the site.

I think one of the best things about it, is the fact it "stands up" for cyclists. i.e. all the coverage of unecessary deaths on the road, reporting on near misses, and close passes, on Chris Boardmans initiatives, West Midlands Police initiatives, etc etc, the list is massive.

Then I thought about the Road.cc competition on other websites and Youtube channels I regularly look at. Mainly GCN and Bikeradar.

I suddenly realised that I could not remember ever seeing anything similar on GCN or Bikeradar, that stood up for cyclists rights, or our safety on the roads. Maybe they do cover it, but I cant ever remember seeing it. And if they do, its definitely not a regular feature.

I love Road.cc standing up for cyclists, but considering GCN and Bikeradar probably have a large readership/Viewership as well, they don't seem to do it much, or at all. Which doesnt really go anywhere towards improving conditions on the roads for cyclists at all.

Why is that, do you think?

19 comments

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Mathemagician [41 posts] 1 month ago
7 likes

I tend to disagree that the road.cc coverage of cycling related accidents/near misses/close passes etc. is "standing up for cyclists", as the coverage doesn't really reach a wider audience. I'm willing to bet close to 100% of readers are regular road cyclists, and so such coverage is really just preaching to the converted. Standing up for cyclists would be campaigning to a wider, none cycling audience, which I accept isn't exactly something road.cc should particularly be interested in- it's a news/magazine site.

Personally I tend to find the daily close pass thing tedious, clickbait akin to a "2 minutes hate" practice. Honestly, what does anyone get out of it apart from a rant at yet another bad driver? Who really learns anything from any of the video clips? How many said bad drivers have looked at one of the clips and changed their ways as a result? The last question should be the most pertinent as that should be the whole point of "standing up for cyclists", but I'm guessing the answer is close to none.

I don't necessarily blame road.cc for their approach, journalism of this sort is pretty difficult to fund these days as nearly everyone expects to be able to access it for free. Daily close passes always seem to be the most commented on and hence probably most viewed articles, so why change a winning formula? But let's not equate it with some kind of morally laudable campaign, when no one else is even listening.

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davel [2711 posts] 1 month ago
1 like
Mathemagician wrote:

I tend to disagree that the road.cc coverage of cycling related accidents/near misses/close passes etc. is "standing up for cyclists", as the coverage doesn't really reach a wider audience. I'm willing to bet close to 100% of readers are regular road cyclists, and so such coverage is really just preaching to the converted. Standing up for cyclists would be campaigning to a wider, none cycling audience, which I accept isn't exactly something road.cc should particularly be interested in- it's a news/magazine site. Personally I tend to find the daily close pass thing tedious, clickbait akin to a "2 minutes hate" practice. Honestly, what does anyone get out of it apart from a rant at yet another bad driver? Who really learns anything from any of the video clips? How many said bad drivers have looked at one of the clips and changed their ways as a result? The last question should be the most pertinent as that should be the whole point of "standing up for cyclists", but I'm guessing the answer is close to none. I don't necessarily blame road.cc for their approach, journalism of this sort is pretty difficult to fund these days as nearly everyone expects to be able to access it for free. Daily close passes always seem to be the most commented on and hence probably most viewed articles, so why change a winning formula? But let's not equate it with some kind of morally laudable campaign, when no one else is even listening.

I disagree that it doesn't reach a wider audience.

Firstly, the 'close pass' type stuff travels well via twitter etc.

Secondly, the trolls and one-and-done posters those types of threads tend to attract are evidence that they are reaching motons who not only have very different perspectives, but are motivated to register on here to get that perspective across. I'd suggest that for each one of those, there are many others who shrug it off/can't be arsed to register/don't see the problem. 

I have no idea how effective the preaching is, but that is some evidence that it is getting out there, and the point of the OP was that other sites don't even make anything similar to *put* out there.

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Jimmy Ray Will [989 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes

Personally speaking... when I stop and think about it, I think the sites focus on poor driving, failings in the judicial system, highlighting danger on the roads, the prejudice against cyclists, is a negative thing.

As already commented, by definition the audience here are converted road cyclists, so really the only thing this coverage, in this environment, can achieve, is to increase safety fears and feelings of resentment towards other road users. 

Personally, over the past two years I have become more aware of poor and aggressive driving on our roads. This has reduced my enjoyment of cycling, and has seen me start to avoid using certain roads where I was previously comfortable.

Now, here's the rub. If I stop and really think about it, driving standards haven't really changed, they have always been as they are. Attitudes haven't changed, they have always been poor. All that has changed is my awarness of attitudes and a change in my mindset to now actively look out for, acknowledge, and be offended by episodes of poor driving. 

Now, the site is not exclusively to blame, far from it, the media in its various guise has identified the clickbait appeal of cycling and its everywhere, however I am convinced that if I ignored all of this coverage, within 12 - 18 months, my enjoyment of cycling would only improve.

Now... if I believed this coverage could change mindsets, and could be used as a catalyst for change, I would feel differently, but it doesn't. Nor does it encourage those negatively affected to stand up, lobby and become a catalyst for change. No, what happens is that this site, social media groups, etc. become echo chambers, where we all vent our frustrations to like minded people, difuse our frustrations, and carry on as we are.

Ultimately the only way to improve our lot is to get more people riding bikes. More cyclists means a louder positive voice. In that respect GCN et al, have it right. 

 

 

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Rich_cb [812 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes

You will often see people passionately arguing that anything that makes cycling seem like a dangerous activity will reduce rates of cycling.

They also argue that reduced rates of cycling reduce the 'safety in numbers' effect and therefore make those of us who continue to cycle less safe.

Near miss of the day makes cycling seem like Death Race 3000.

It gets a lot of clicks and a lot of comments so it's lucrative for road.cc but I doubt it does any good for cyclists generally and it could even be making things worse.

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harragan [257 posts] 1 month ago
4 likes

I agree with the comments above that Road.cc doesn't actively stand up for cyclists.  It preaches to the converted and gets plenty of traffic to satisfy the advertisers.  That's their business model and I appreciate that it keeps it free.  

I don't engage with the close pass stuff as I don't find it helpful.  I've been cycling for over 30 years and I'm well aware that there are idiots out there.  I don't need to see videos of that stuff.  It might get shared on social media but that it is not what Road.cc aim to do, it's just a by-product.  And it's certainly not the most effective way of getting anything to change.

Ultimately, it's not the role of Road.cc to lobby or petition or actively seek to effect change.  Theirs is a journalistic role and therefore they report on that sort of stuff.  They do a pretty good job of that.

PS Cycling UK is worth joining if you want to support an organisation that "fights the good fight" for cyclists.

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Tony Farrelly [2975 posts] 1 month ago
13 likes

Near Miss of The Day doesn't get tons of traffic - we probably make tens of pounds a month out of it - if that - in ad revenue. It does get noticed though, our pieces are regularly picked up by mainstream media outlets around the country and discussed in print and on local radio. They do their bit - we think - to get people talking about a subject they didn't talk about before. Changing attitudes is never going to be a quick fix, but they're not going to change at all if you keep ignoring the problem.

We know NMoTD divides opinion amongst regular visitors to the site - according to the reader survey roughly a third of you really don't like them. However, we also get lots of comments along the lines of 'it reminds me I'm not alone in regularly having to deal with this' – and that as I've said before is the core reason we run them - a small show of solidarity. 

As to why other sites don't run stories that feature some of the negative sides of riding on the road - I can't speak for how either publication deals with things now, but I do know from my time as editor of both Cycling Plus and BikeRadar that there was a generally accepted 'don't scare the horses' feeling amongst senior editors and publishers that talking about danger and especially death would put people off and be bad for traffic and sales. Advertisers don't like them either and indeed we've been told our rivals sometimes try to use it against us when pitching for ads.

Our view has always been that the people who read road.cc are intelligent enough to deal with the truth - most of them will know well enough what it's like to ride on the UK's roads, and if you're about to start out it seems to me only fair to give an accurate picture of what you might have to deal with.

Stories about death are sensitive for many reasons, and we do feel the need to strike a balance in terms of not giving a distorted sense of danger while trying to highlight problems with incidents involving certain types of vehicles - lorries and buses, or what many will feel are unduly lenient sentences handed out to drivers who cause death by dangerous or careless driving and in some cases an unduly lenient criminal and judicial process full stop.

Do we get the balance right all of the time? No, but we do try.

Does that put people off? The short answer is 'I don't know', but nobody has ever told us directly they've been put off cycling by our coverage (no doubt someone will comment that in below), and I don't think anyone who's sent us a near miss video has ever said 'that it's I'm off the bike now' – quite the contrary.

At the end of the day we're not showing people anything that isn't actually happening – it's not an attempt to drive traffic (pardon the pun) - which is just as well, and nor is it about making money, also just as well. We don't try to sensationalise, nor do we editorialise - though some people would like us too – you can make your own minds up. If there's any extra advantage to it at all for us maybe it's that for good or ill  – probably the latter tbh – the unvarnished nature of our coverage has become one of road.cc's USPs.

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peted76 [1214 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Interesting comments above.

I can attest to promoting road safety within my cycling club and by default, the wider community from reading certain articles and incidents read on this site, our club fb page has 1600+ members and they mostly are not  'died in the blood cyclists' as wot would read this site.

So I can say that because road.cc is publishing these stories, myself, as a casual advocate has reached a wider audience and road.cc is NOT just preaching to the converted.

I wonder how many other 'road.cc regulars/community' have shared a story or started a campaign to their social circles directly or indirectly from reading something on here?

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davel [2711 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

You will often see people passionately arguing that anything that makes cycling seem like a dangerous activity will reduce rates of cycling. They also argue that reduced rates of cycling reduce the 'safety in numbers' effect and therefore make those of us who continue to cycle less safe. Near miss of the day makes cycling seem like Death Race 3000. It gets a lot of clicks and a lot of comments so it's lucrative for road.cc but I doubt it does any good for cyclists generally and it could even be making things worse.

I'm not sure whether you genuinely think they're the same thing or are just conflating them to make a point.

One is in the context of the encouragement of PPE, which is generally an argument for 'just in case'.

One is documented evidence via video. That's sorely lacking in the helmet debate. 

Your wider point about the impact the series has, though, is fair. Anyone know how to measure the response the articles get in terms of positive/negative? 

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Simon E [3480 posts] 1 month ago
8 likes
Tony Farrelly wrote:

They do their bit - we think - to get people talking about a subject they didn't talk about before. Changing attitudes is never going to be a quick fix, but they're not going to change at all if you keep ignoring the problem.

This is exactly why I think NMoTD and similar road crime stories is an important part of the site's range of material. Road.cc is not GCN or Bikeradar (that's an observation, not a criticism of any of them). While I certainly don't enjoy viewing them and don't watch every video, they do serve to highlight some of the serious issues we face on the roads. While it can be unpleasant to watch, it's also evidence, and that evidence can be used to push for infrastructure change and even government policy. The more people see videos and say "That is NOT acceptable" the stronger our argument is for better facilities and better policing.

We can't ignore how persuasive a video is for the companies where the vehicle is identified. K2 Transport wouldn't be in a position to admonish their driver if Monday's video hadn't seen the light of day. And who could ever forget arsehole Jason Wells and his hilariously ugly performance?

There's no doubt that, despite reluctance by some police forces, video footage has prompted many of them to accept and even invite video footage as evidence. From road.cc articles we can know that sometimes these have resulted in convictions or other steps taken by the police. It may not be pretty but it's progress.

Ultimately people have to see how bad things are before they will get better. I see NMoTD as part of a broad strategy to lift the lid on how bad things are and how much better they could be. They should be seen alongside the work of West Midland Road Harm Reduction Team and Andy Burnham & Chris Boardman in Manchester, among many others.

And let's not forget it was road.cc that brought us the Cyclists Stay Awesome stickers etc. Stay awesome, road.cc  3

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Arjimlad [10 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes

A strange irony that you say "died in the blood cyclists" when the saying is "dyed in the wool" but I think the variation is quite apt here enlightened

 

I hope that sharing some of these things amongst, say my facebook friends (the majority of whom don't cycle) might induce/remind them to take greater care around cyclists. Certainly, the articles can be useful on group pages or similar when countering some of the common prejudices.

 

peted76 wrote:

Interesting comments above.

I can attest to promoting road safety within my cycling club and by default, the wider community from reading certain articles and incidents read on this site, our club fb page has 1600+ members and they mostly are not  'died in the blood cyclists' as wot would read this site.

So I can say that because road.cc is publishing these stories, myself, as a casual advocate has reached a wider audience and road.cc is NOT just preaching to the converted.

I wonder how many other 'road.cc regulars/community' have shared a story or started a campaign to their social circles directly or indirectly from reading something on here?

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FluffyKittenofT... [2298 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

You will often see people passionately arguing that anything that makes cycling seem like a dangerous activity will reduce rates of cycling. They also argue that reduced rates of cycling reduce the 'safety in numbers' effect and therefore make those of us who continue to cycle less safe. Near miss of the day makes cycling seem like Death Race 3000. It gets a lot of clicks and a lot of comments so it's lucrative for road.cc but I doubt it does any good for cyclists generally and it could even be making things worse.

 

Your argument here is either based on repeated misunderstandings or is deliberately sneaky - stringing together as it does different arguments made by different people with different meanings and pretending they form a single chain of reasoning.  It's dodgy to hide behind arugments allegedly made by un-named 'many people' while not actually trying to make those arguments yourself.  Do you believe those points yourself or not?  If so, then argue for them, don't just assume them.

 

Making cycling seem dangerous will reduce rates of cycling, but it's not a big effect, because those who think it is dangerous mostly think that because they can see the roads as they are for themselves.   People can actually see the world around them, amazingly enough.

Other factors are very secondary to the reality that people experience at first hand.

 

Secondly not everyone is a big believer in the 'safety in numbers' effect.  Again, it's a secondary issue, one that I don't attach much importance to, that only kicks in intermittently in particular places with very high levels of cycling.  And it's largely because of motorists becoming regular cyclists themselves, rather than from being used to  being around them.   The real 'safety in numbers' is a political one - the relevant numbers being numbers of voters who value cycling, not numbers on the road.

The whole 'safety in numbers' thing as usually presented is massively over-stressed, in my opinion.  It seems way more likely that the causation runs the other way - more people cycle where it's safe rather than it being safer because more people cycle.  Many motorists don't see 'safety in numbers' so much as a 'target-rich environment'.

 

Pretending that the bad stuff doesn't exist won't make it go away.  I entirely doubt NMOTD does very much either way, but it does at least make explicit where the responsibility for that danger (which everyone who uses the roads in any way is already aware of, albeit in a non-specific way) lies.

 

 

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bikezero [38 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Well i'm new to this site but I have enjoyed most of the several dozen close pass videos I have viewed in last weeks. It is a reminder of just how dangerous cycling can be and I think in some cases you can learn valuable things from the videos (things that might save you an accident) There is however such a thing as rude and dangerous cyclists and I cringe to think of the fact that a certain small number of cyclists out there equipped with video will be on an adrenaline rush and perhaps behaving too agressively and dangerously themselves. After all a cyclist has no number plate unlike a vehicle driver so a vehicle driver's video of him (or her) cycling dangerously most likely amounts to squat.

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don simon fbpe [2723 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
bikezero wrote:

Well i'm new to this site but I have enjoyed most of the several dozen close pass videos I have viewed in last weeks. It is a reminder of just how dangerous cycling can be and I think in some cases you can learn valuable things from the videos (things that might save you an accident) There is however such a thing as rude and dangerous cyclists and I cringe to think of the fact that a certain small number of cyclists out there equipped with video will be on an adrenaline rush and perhaps behaving too agressively and dangerously themselves. After all a cyclist has no number plate unlike a vehicle driver so a vehicle driver's video of him (or her) cycling dangerously most likely amounts to squat.

Me thinks that you're not that sympathetic of the poor cyclists who are being put at risk by stupid selfish drivers who think they own the roads. I can ride several hundred kms a week in perfect safety. Cycling is not inherently dangerous. I don't even wear a helmet as it's that safe. What I have learnt from the videos is that one should ride away from the roads if one wants to stay safe. Roads are full of self entitled wankers who don't know how to drive safely. I also drive upwards of 500 miles per week, you'd shit yourself at the number of near misses that I witness on a daily basis. In a 50m walk this evening 2 cars speeding through an amber traffic light and the third one almost locking up as the pededstrian stepped on to the crossing on the green man was quickly followed by a stupid bint doing a dangerous uturn and almost hitting a lit up, hi viz adorned cyclis who was just cycling. What excuse could she possibly have for not seeing him? What excuse could the three drivers have for accelerating on an amber traffic light?

So, while I hate saying it, if you think that cycling on the road is dangerous, it's because you're a part of the shitty, self entitling wanker driving fraternity that thiinks they own the road. You have a licence, you don't even have a fucking right.

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CygnusX1 [1099 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
bikezero wrote:

After all a cyclist has no number plate unlike a vehicle driver 

Careful, you're treading on dangerous ground there.

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don simon fbpe [2723 posts] 1 month ago
3 likes
bikezero wrote:

Well i'm new to this site but I have enjoyed most of the several dozen close pass videos I have viewed in last weeks. It is a reminder of just how dangerous cycling can be and I think in some cases you can learn valuable things from the videos (things that might save you an accident) There is however such a thing as rude and dangerous cyclists and I cringe to think of the fact that a certain small number of cyclists out there equipped with video will be on an adrenaline rush and perhaps behaving too agressively and dangerously themselves. After all a cyclist has no number plate unlike a vehicle driver so a vehicle driver's video of him (or her) cycling dangerously most likely amounts to squat.

You'll have to define a person cycling dangerously from the viewpoint of a driver, I have never seen one. I have seen one or two dodgy ones when I've been a pedestrian but never when I'm driving.

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FluffyKittenofT... [2298 posts] 1 month ago
2 likes
bikezero wrote:

 After all a cyclist has no number plate unlike a vehicle driver so a vehicle driver's video of him (or her) cycling dangerously most likely amounts to squat.

 

Can't say I've ever seen a "vehicle driver"  with a number plate.  How do they attach them?  Nail them to their chest?  The number plate identifies the vehicle, not the driver.  Hence the cases where having indentified the vehicle no action was taken because the police couldn't identify the driver.

 

(Also - a bicycle is a vehicle, you realise?)

 

Oh, and, to borrow an acronym from other forums, WWYBYWB?

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bikezero [38 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

Don..

'Enjoyed', in this instance means benefitted and learnt from. I have riden very almost 100km a week for the last 15 months also (straight, every week, no exagerration), never with a helmet either. You think as such a person I take pleasure in watching cyclists enduring near misses or in some cases close to being killed?
I also typically try, where possible, to avoid roads I consider dangerous though at the same time I still ride quite a lot of lethal roads where there are regular fatalities (noptice I said it's a "reminder" that cycling ius dangerous, because I am obviously not afraid of cycling any roads). I am not a car driver though I did drive for a couple of years when I was 18-20 (near 20 years ago)

CygnusX1..

Please explain to me what you mean by saying I am treading on dangerous ground? I honestly have no idea what you could possibly be talking about. Cars, and all motorised vehicles have number plates, bikes do not, so my point was simply that if you are one of the small number of dangerous cyclists that exist, you probably cannot be threatened by the prospect of being recorded.

Don..

Though not a driver in many years I have been in cars plenty of times and seen cyclists driving dangerously. Yes, I understand that a lot of drivers think cyclist are driving dangerously or rudely when they are not but nevertheless a small percentage of cyclists do cycle dangerously and are arrogant rude wankers. It's hardly a surprise that this is a fact of life.

Fluffykitten..

Great sense of humour.

In closing, while I am from UK, I live in North Italy for last several years and only have road cycling experience here (past my childhood in uk on MTB's on roads and elsewhere). I'm near Slovenian border and there are a lot of nice roads to cycle. You see quite a few road bikers but rarely to the point that they feel like part of the traffic. Perhaps as a result drivers here are typically more respectful of cyclists than uk and other places. This is my experience generally. I have people going past me too close but it's usually the exception. It's relatively rare. As I said I also cycle on some quite dangerous main roads where there is a lot of cars overtaking at speed and almost daily big crashes occuring. That's what worries me most on such roads rather than the trucks, buses, and drivers otherwise passing me constantly. I can only be left with the impression (whether right or wrong) that road cycling in much of UK is more popular than here where I live. That the roads are more populated with cyclists and that the rate of wankerish drivers may be much much higher.

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ChancerOnABike [60 posts] 4 weeks ago
0 likes

Agreed, i hate the close pass items. Yes these things happen to most cyclists every day, but all it serves is to heighten fears. It's very rare i read any of them for that reason

 

my only other criticism of this site is the reposting/rehashing of old article (best 21 widgets to make you go faster and such like).

 

i think the team do an excellent job overall tho

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jh27 [110 posts] 3 weeks ago
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Videos of close passes serve as a remind to us all to take a more dominant position and not to ride in the gutter or the door zone.  Unfortunately CyclingUK linked to a close pass video in their most recent newsletter email, but they neglected to point out that the cyclist in question was putting herself in danger, by putting herself in a position that:

  a) allowed the close pass

  b) made her less visible to road users emerging from junctions

  c) put her at risk from people carelessly opening car doors

  d) put her at risk from pedestrians carelessly stepping into the road

  e) put her at risk from pedestrians stepping out from behind parked vehicles

  f) and I'm sure much more that I can't think of just now 

 

It is quite rare on the in the UK that there is the space for a motorist to safely pass a cyclist who is riding in the gutter.  Sure you will get the occasional angry wanker shouting abuse.  But an angry wanker isn't to kill you - it'll much more likely be some careless person who never meant you any harm (if nothing else, there are a lot more of them).