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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

Avatar
brooksby replied to jaymack | 1 month ago
3 likes
jaymack wrote:

How can the quite man of politics keep a straight face? 'Cos he's a Tory....

I suppose that not having a soul does help with that… 

Avatar
Mr Hoopdriver replied to jaymack | 1 month ago
2 likes
jaymack wrote:

How can the quite man of politics keep a straight face? 'Cos he's a Tory....

He's not so quiet - in the amendments document, he's named as sponsor of two amendments (including NC57 "Offence of causing death or serious injury by dangerous, careless or inconsiderate cycling") but is mentioned as a co-sponsor in 30 other amendments.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/58-04/0155/amend/criminal_day_rep_0515.pdf

Seems to be a serial OffAmender.

Avatar
brooksby replied to Mr Hoopdriver | 1 month ago
1 like

I think he's realised he's probably not going to be in the next Parliament, and so wants to try and secure a Legacy (his place in legislative history).

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to brooksby | 1 month ago
3 likes
brooksby wrote:

I think he's realised he's probably not going to be in the next Parliament, and so wants to try and secure a Legacy (his place in legislative history).

Unfortunately, his legacy will be to be on the wrong side of history. Why would you want to be known as someone that wants to clamp down on such a beneficial (in health terms) form of transport?

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Clem Fandango | 2 months ago
13 likes
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ktache replied to Clem Fandango | 2 months ago
16 likes

Chapeau Ms Jones.

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dubwise replied to Clem Fandango | 2 months ago
11 likes

No doubt Sunak will have her arrested for being an extremist or terrorist.

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chrisonabike replied to dubwise | 2 months ago
2 likes

You think he'd confuse her with Jeremy Corbyn (another cyclist of mature years)?

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dubwise replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
6 likes

Who knows, Sunak doesn't seem to be very bright. Denying things he said, which are recorded and reported, shows there isn't much between the ears.

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hawkinspeter replied to dubwise | 1 month ago
6 likes
dubwise wrote:

Who knows, Sunak doesn't seem to be very bright. Denying things he said, which are recorded and reported, shows there isn't much between the ears.

Tory voters don't usually care about reality and facts, but are driven by hatred and spite (see Telegraph for details). He's not going to alienate his supporters by lying and the rest of us already despise his unelected leadership.

Avatar
eburtthebike | 2 months ago
21 likes

"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."

Not while it sells media, and not while peurile editors and writers make money from publishing outrageous lies about an out group.  I fully expect an increase in the ksi rate for cyclists as a result of these despicable articles.

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

No.  He hates cyclists and doesn't contradict the hate speech.  If he was really interested in road safety and wasn't anti-cycling, he'd be condemning it.

 

Avatar
ktache replied to eburtthebike | 2 months ago
17 likes

Alliston was charged and prosecuted for manslaughter, for which a jury of his peers, probably containing very few fellow cyclists and many drivers, did not convict him of.

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