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"Mums, dads, sons and daughters being labelled as killers. It’s just got to stop": Chris Boardman comments on Telegraph '52mph in a 20mph zone' article as it emerges co-author is former BBC fact-checker

Boardman was one of numerous prominent figures to comment on the inaccuracies in the Telegraph article, while the husband of Kim Briggs has commented on the backlash sparked by the Government's proposal to introduce new dangerous cycling laws...

The backlash to a Telegraph article published on Thursday evening that claimed a cyclist was clocked riding at 52mph in a 20mph zone on Chelsea Embankment has caught the attention of Chris Boardman and numerous other prominent figures, with Boardman describing the article as "hate speech" in an X/Twitter post last night. It has also emerged that the co-author of the controversial Telegraph article, currently a data editor at the broadsheet, is a former fact-checker at BBC Reality Check, now known as BBC Verify. 

Boardman's full post read: "I don’t normally get involved in calling out headlines but it’s just getting bonkers.

"If this was directed at a gender, race or religion it would be rightly called out as the hate speech it is. Mums, dads, sons and daughters being labelled as killers. It’s just got to stop."

The Sky Sports News presenter Sanny Rudravajhala also expressed his anger at the article's inaccuracies, addressing the authors on X/Twitter: "Your whole piece centres on injuries and deaths from cyclists without anything to compare it with. Four deaths caused by cyclists for example versus say the 1,711 from cars in 2022?

"Or 143,326 injuries from car accidents versus the 462 from cyclists that you mention.

"And bloody hell, this quote, “Strava enthusiasts claim dangerous cyclists are a small minority.” - I mean, clearly they are? Or are the majority of Strava cyclists dangerous?

"I just cannot imagine compromising my entire journalistic training to the point of providing no balance whatsoever bar one random rider vox in an entire piece. Please do better."

Jeremy Vine commented: "...The Telegraph is in full culture-war mode, and hating on cyclists is seen as an easy win."

The inaccurate headline on the article in question remains unchanged at the time of writing. As we reported yesterday, an 80kg cyclist on an 8kg bike would have to hold 2,500 watts to ride the Tite St to Chelsea Bridge Strava segment at 52mph, which would be physically impossible for the world's best cycling sprint specialists.

road.cc has approached the Telegraph's data editor for comment. 

The current glut of media coverage around 'dangerous cycling' was sparked by a recent coroner's inquest into the tragic case of 81-year-old Hilda Griffiths, killed in a collision with a cyclist in Regent's Park back in 2022, with the inquest being told that the cyclist would face no charges. 

Last weekend, the Telegraph reported that another pedestrian was hit by a cyclist at the same spot where Ms Griffiths was fatally struck. Strava responded by urging cyclists to "prioritise everyone's safety", stating that "hazardous" segments could be flagged on its platform. 

Earlier this week, the Government agreed to introduce tougher laws for "dangerous cyclists" who kill or injure. The amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill, put forward by Sir Iain Duncan Smith MP, would introduce the offence of ‘causing death by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate cycling, and causing serious injury by careless or inconsiderate cycling', with Transport Secretary Mark Harper saying the proposed legislation would ensure the “tiny minority” of reckless cyclists would face the “full weight of the law”, while protecting “law-abiding cyclists”.

> "You’re not going to legislate away these sort of incidents": Martin Porter KC on cycling and the law

The son of Hilda Griffiths, Gerard Griffiths, has appeared in television interviews this week accompanied by Matthew Briggs, the husband of Kim Briggs who was killed in a collision with cyclist Charlie Alliston in 2016

Mr Briggs has long campaigned for changes to the law surrounding dangerous cycling, saying at the time of Alliston's conviction that the "case [has] clearly demonstrated that there is a gap in the law when it comes to dealing with causing death or serious injury by dangerous cycling."

In 2017, Alliston was convicted of causing bodily harm through wanton and furious driving, via a law that dates back to 1861, and sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment in a young offenders institution.

Commenting this morning on recent debates he has had with a number of prominent cycling and active travel campaigners and journalists, Mr Briggs said on the @BriggsCampaign X/Twitter account: "Any road death is an absolute tragedy. I know the awful consequences. My point has always been that motor related deaths have clear paths to prosecution. If it’s felt that they are not done so adequately, that’s a valid but different debate to my call for new laws. 

"We ALL share these imperfect roads. We are ALL pedestrians at some point. And we owe it to ALL that we conduct ourselves on the roads with care, consideration and awareness. 

"This has never been anti cycling. If people attribute that to me, they are misled. It’s always been a legal matter."

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

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72 comments

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Laz | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

looks like the rag is cashing in with all the views and comments about it (mine included to the tally just here though)-  better chance the scribe lose his job if everyone just ignored him instead ? 

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quiff replied to Laz | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

I wish I had the self-restraint. I'm often 3 replies deep before I realise I'm helping someone monetise their bile.

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OldRidgeback | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

As much as people on the right in particular drone on about the woke agenda, they know they can't be as blatantly racist, homophobic or sexist as they would've been in the old days. They're still able to unleash their bigoted bile against cyclists, partly because cyclists are more likely to be lefties. Or that's the eganda the right wing press seems to work to anyway. Bigots will be bigots.

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hawkinspeter replied to OldRidgeback | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
OldRidgeback wrote:

As much as people on the right in particular drone on about the woke agenda, they know they can't be as blatantly racist, homophobic or sexist as they would've been in the old days. They're still able to unleash their bigoted bile against cyclists, partly because cyclists are more likely to be lefties. Or that's the eganda the right wing press seems to work to anyway. Bigots will be bigots.

Why do they even want to be bigoted? All they're doing is closing down their own opportunities to make connections with other people and instead filling their need for human connection with hatred instead. Doesn't make sense to me when they could just open their eyes and see that differences between people are what enriches society. I mean where would be without all the contributions from other ethnicities, sexualities or genders?

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horrovac replied to hawkinspeter | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

Why do they want to be bigoted? They don't. They're right-wingers. That's their nature.

Put in simplest of terms, right-wing is the political expression of selfishness, while left-wing is the expression of community and solidarity. Just look at the policies and political programmes of right-wing parties. I don't want to pay taxes. I won't have MY taxes supporting THEM. I don't want to obey rules, the rules are for THEM. Everything I achieved is fruit of MY effort and to MY credit, while THEY are af fault for whatever befalls them. I'm allright Jack, keep your hands off of my stack.

That's why they constantly look for any kind of identifiable group to denigrate and vilify, and deny them any right they can. Homeless, unemployed, working poor, single parents, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, gays, trans people, cyclists... Doesn't matter, as long as they can flatter themselves, and be constantly in panic about these other groups supposedly being after their stuff, their privileges, their money. So they keep electing people who DO, and ALWAYS WERE stealing their stuff.

George Carlin explained it brilliantly. There are only three kinds of people: the rich people, the middle class, and the poor people. The rich people own everything and everyone works to make them money. Middle class is there to work to make the rich people even more money. And the poor people are there to scare the shit out the middle class and keep them working.

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grOg replied to horrovac | 3 weeks ago
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Car drivers hating cyclists has zero to do with politics, but your rant has exposed how toxic lefties are, not to mention mixed up; most wealthy people I know are leftist creeps; highly educated and enjoy all the fruits of capitalism, yet follow a socialist dogma that seeks to undermine capitalism; arrogant hypocrites.

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Rendel Harris replied to grOg | 3 weeks ago
8 likes
grOg wrote:

Car drivers hating cyclists has zero to do with politics

Sheer coincidence that the vast majority of anti-cyclist rhetoric comes from right-wing politicians, pundits and publications then?

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horrovac replied to grOg | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Did I say drivers hate cyclists because they're right wing? Remember, what I said is right up there ^^^ and everyone can see it.

Of course I didn't. That would be silly. I was responding to the observation that the right-wing media and right-wingers always seem so eager to jump on some hate-bandwagon against any sort of group that isn't them. Sure, anyone can be bigoted - hell, I even sometimes hate cyclists myself when I'm not on a bike - but only the right-wing has made an institution out of it, and a whole industry. Maybe you've become numb to it because you're in the UK, but trust me, it is not at all normal that almost the entire press of a country lives off whipping up hate for this and that and another, and uses hate speech so openly and unabashedly. "Lycra-clad louts", are you f**** kidding me? That's dehumanising and giving their audience permission to hate you, and they are not even subtle about it. Straight out of Goebbels' textbook. If you had regulators worth a damn, this cynical type of behaviour would have these "papers" fined to kingdom come or even have their rags banned.

Leftists aren't toxic. Right wingers just don't like mirrors.

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Hirsute replied to horrovac | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

They live in Australia and frequently comment on UK issues that they fail to understand or have inadequate knowledge of. Also prone to racist comments.

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marmotte27 replied to horrovac | 3 weeks ago
4 likes
horrovac wrote:

Why do they want to be bigoted? They don't. They're right-wingers. That's their nature.

Put in simplest of terms, right-wing is the political expression of selfishness, while left-wing is the expression of community and solidarity.

In a nutshell.

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Mr Hoopdriver replied to hawkinspeter | 3 weeks ago
1 like

You forgot to mention squirrels  1

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hawkinspeter replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 3 weeks ago
1 like
Mr Hoopdriver wrote:

You forgot to mention squirrels  1

Quite - who can forget the many, many contributions made to society by squirrels?

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
hawkinspeter wrote:
Mr Hoopdriver wrote:

You forgot to mention squirrels  1

Quite - who can forget the many, many contributions made to society by squirrels?

They invented hi-viz?

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hawkinspeter replied to chrisonabike | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
chrisonabike wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Mr Hoopdriver wrote:

You forgot to mention squirrels  1

Quite - who can forget the many, many contributions made to society by squirrels?

They invented hi-viz?

Also flourescent bellies (https://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/artful-amoeba/for-some-reason-new-world-flying-squirrels-fluoresce-pink/)

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S.E. | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Apparently you can get high just by driving/riding, and it still happens to me in both positiions, even though I can also feel the pain caused by other road users... and it's obviously not getting better with fast e-bikes, on cycling lanes and wilderness trails!

Anyway, I'm not in the UK, but if you live near a city, it's seems just overcrowded everywhere?

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bensynnock | 3 weeks ago
9 likes

All of this hoohar just makes me want to reduce my possible interactions with pedestrians. So when I'm riding on the road next to a shared use path I hope the telegraph readers are happy waiting to overtake safely.

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quiff | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Genuine question: the practice of including a social media post in full, and then telling us what it said, in full - is that an accessibility thing? If so, as you were. 

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hawkinspeter replied to quiff | 3 weeks ago
4 likes
quiff wrote:

Genuine question: the practice of including a social media post in full, and then telling us what it said, in full - is that an accessibility thing? If so, as you were. 

Probably more a method to bump up the number of words in the article. However, my browser has most social media sites blocked, so it's useful for me as most of the time I won't see the original post (though I do for St Chris' post above).

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grOg replied to hawkinspeter | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Boardman is a saint?

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hawkinspeter replied to grOg | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
grOg wrote:

Boardman is a saint?

Maybe not officially

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mattw replied to quiff | 3 weeks ago
8 likes

It does 3 things (at least).

1 - Makes it guaranteed to be accessible to eg screen readers or "read out this article" buttons on the page.
2 - Makes the content still coherent if the original tweet has been deleted. As a comparison, IIRC we had a video that had been made private recently, so we could not see the main thing the article was about. We whinged in the comments.
3 - Makes sure that search engines get the words of the tweet. It may be they index embedded things, but I'm not sure they all do - depending on how it is embedded perhaps.

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quiff replied to mattw | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Thanks, good points.

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bensynnock replied to quiff | 3 weeks ago
1 like

It makes it easier to copy and paste the text from the post without having to click on twitter, which only takes me to a logon page.

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HLaB | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

I had a reassuring Sunday evening.  I got back after 105miles to an anomymous post on the residents farceboke group complaining about a noisy cyclist on a Sunday morning.  The group totally shot them down and it was deleted a bit later.

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kingleo | 3 weeks ago
12 likes

I'm 81, I wish I was told off for cycling too fast. All you young cycling enthusiasts, don't take any notice of all the moronic anti-cyclists - you have made the correct lifestyle chose 

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NotNigel | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

If you thought Friday's front page was cringe....one of of lads ain't he, in to football and all that.

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Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

Telegraph wants number plates now to stop dangerous cyclists.
Where to begin ...

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Cyclo1964 replied to Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Looks to be an opinion piece by Simon Heffer ? When I looked him up his surname seemed quite apt and probably needs to partake in some active travel ! 

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kingleo replied to Hirsute | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

How would numberplates on cycles stop dangerous pedestrians  who cause accidents by walking out onto the road without first looking carefully to see if anything was coming?

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a1white replied to kingleo | 3 weeks ago
1 like
kingleo wrote:

How would numberplates on cycles stop dangerous pedestrians  who cause accidents by walking out onto the road without first looking carefully to see if anything was coming?

I don't know if it's a culture thing, because segregated cycle lanes are so rare and new compared to the likes of the Netherlands and Denmark, but certainly cycling in London you need to be constantly aware of people stepping randomly out on to the cycle path directly in front of you without looking. I had one today, motor traffic on the road was stationary and a guy just stepped across right infront of me walking straight onto a busy cycle path without looking once. I'd already anticipated and braked but you constantly have to be aware (don't get me started on the mess on Westminster bridge). Maybe a public information campaign on not stepping out onto cycle paths would be more helpful.

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