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“RTA language policing = instant ban”: Local news editor blocks Twitter users criticising report of cyclist injured in “accident with a van”; Britain’s favourite climbs; Sagan's back; Niche punctures; Not all car drivers are bad + more on the live blog

It’s Tuesday, and Ryan Mallon is once again in the live blog hotseat with all the latest cycling news and views
14 June 2022, 17:22
“Apologise and try to do better”: Readers react to “language police” blocking spree

Here’s a selection of your responses to the local news editor in Brighton, who has decided to ignore road traffic collision reporting guidelines, particularly around the use of language, while blocking anyone who questions that decision on Twitter (just a normal day, eh?):

I think Jo doesn't appreciate any criticism at all.  I believe a few people have contacted the IPSO regarding her stance on the basis that the article is not following guidelines and the fact that she has decided to institute a blanket blocking policy on anyone who criticises the choice of word accident as opposed to collision.

There's still plenty of reports not abiding by the guidelines, so in some ways Jo is being unfairly targeted, but then again, she could easily apologise and try to do better instead. The BBC is still pretty bad when reporting collisions, but then they do seem to have an agenda against cycling.

From some of her replies, so does Jo.

Amusingly, Jo Wadsworth's LinkedIn page says "I love social media, and how it opens up so many opportunities for getting yourself heard – and hearing what people are saying."

Unless, of course, they're saying something you don't want to hear.

I'm sure there are competent local paper reporters, but way too many of them seem to have a massive chip on shoulder when it comes to criticism, especially from cyclists. This reminds me of Anna Riley's attitude after her completely erroneous story about cycling in Hull city centre. Anna Riley now works for GB News where she probably has an even smaller audience than she did at the Hull Daily Mail.

BrightonNewsJo's mouse button keeps colliding with her finger, causing multiple Twitter blocking accidents.

Can you imagine how easy it would have been to turn that headline and subsequent comments into a 'good news' story, probably winning hearts and minds from people in Brighton and Hove (one of the most walky, bikey and anti-car places in the UK) along the way. Literally SO EASY, but no…

Once we get her to back down about not using the appropriate language, we should then start on the reporting.  The Update "headline" has a pointless meaningless "in" and then in the actual story they quote the police saying collision between cyclist and a van, and the next paragraph, the ambulance service says collision involving a pedestrian and a van.

If you do get to speak to Jo, maybe ask her why the Police don't use the word accident and why if the correct language is good enough for them...

Unfortunately, Jo hasn’t replied to the email we sent her this morning, but by the look of things we haven’t been blocked on Twitter (yet).

I’ll take that as a win…

14 June 2022, 17:47
Move over Tyra Banks, it’s time to find the Netherlands’ Next Top Mechanic…

Call me a sucker for anything to do with cycling and competitive reality television, but this genuinely looks excellent…

14 June 2022, 16:25
Christ on a bike!

This whole Dall-E thing is getting out of hand…

14 June 2022, 16:09
The driver with not enough time to wait to pass, but plenty of time to make an arse of himself (tractor edition)

Fair warning – there’s a liberal amount of swearing in this clip, though it’s heartening to learn that a lack of patience among certain motorists when it comes to cyclists also extends to when they're driving behind tractors.

It’s not just us, eh?

14 June 2022, 15:45
“It’s nice to be back”: Sagan roars back with stunning Tour de Suisse victory

Peter Sagan’s back, baby!

Goes to show what a spot of gravel racing can do for the mind… 

On stage three of the Tour de Suisse, the three-time world champion, who has looked a lethargic shadow of his swashbuckling self in recent years, bulldozed his way to the front to outsprint Bryan Coquard, Alexander Kristoff and Tom Pidcock in Grenchen, taking his first win for his new TotalEnergies team and his first WorldTour victory since stage ten of last year’s Giro d’Italia.

In a messy, technical sprint – perfect for the Sagan of the mid-2010s – the 32-year-old Slovakian rolled back the years, flicking in and out of corners, forcing his way through gaps, and bouncing from wheel to wheel to perfectly position himself on the back of Kristoff’s lead out train.

Sagan then proved he had the strength to match this renewed confidence, getting the jump on the Norwegian and holding off a fast-finishing Coquard to take a surely morale-boosting win ahead of the Tour de France.

Max Schachmann, who had cut the gap to Stevie Williams on GC by taking some bonus seconds at an intermediate sprint, wasn’t so lucky in the chaos, crashing hard outside the three kilometres to go zone, and as a result dropped down from second overall to outside the top ten.

All of the cycling world’s attention tonight, however, will be on Sagan’s win (his 18th at the Tour de Suisse), and the tantalising prospect of the reinvigorated Slovakian going head-to-head with his heirs apparent, Van Aert and Van der Poel, at the Tour next month…

14 June 2022, 15:11
“Bloody Sturmey Archer cyclists”

Environmental journalist and contributor Laura Laker, here, with a strong entry in the Niche Punctures competition…

14 June 2022, 14:40
Baby Giro or the Hunger Games?

Thankfully for the riders, today’s largely flat stage of the U23 Giro d’Italia perhaps felt a little less like it was designed by the Capitol as punishment, with Israel Cycling Academy’s 20-year-old Canadian Riley Pickrell taking the bunch sprint in Chiavenna.

Leo Hayter, the Katniss Everdeen of the Baby Giro (okay, I’ll stop now), finished safely in the peloton to retain his commanding lead on the pink jersey.

Oh, and if you were wondering what the nutritional secret to the Hayter boys’ success is, turns out it’s chocolate brownies:

Looks like I’m suddenly a favourite for the Tour de l'Avenir now…

14 June 2022, 14:15
Marta Cavalli and Ruben Guerreiro win solo on Mont Ventoux

Mont Ventoux won’t be appearing in this year’s Tour de France, but cycling fans still got their fill of the iconic climb (well, if it had been on TV that is…) during today’s Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.

While the one-day race was first held in 2019 for the men, today marked the inaugural women’s edition, with FDJ’s Marta Cavalli following in the wheel tracks of Nicole Cooke, who won atop the Giant of Provence in 2006 on her way to winning her first of two editions of what then constituted the women’s Tour de France.

Cavalli soloed clear 2.5 kilometres from the summit to win, 41 seconds clear of Cofidis rider Clara Koppenberg and teammate Evita Muzic.

It was a similar story in the men’s race, though winner Ruben Guerreiro fancied being alone for even longer, attacking through the climb’s claustrophobic wooded section with 12 kilometres to go.

In a coup for EF Education-EasyPost’s attempt to stave off relegation from the WorldTour (though they’re slightly late to the party on that front), Guerreiro’s teammate Esteban Chaves completed a one-two for the American squad, with Groupama-FDJ’s Michael Storer in third.

According to stat-mad Twitter account MF Naichaca, the Portuguese climber Guerreiro climbed the mythical ascent from Bedoin (the side usually tackled in the Tour) in 58 minutes, 36 seconds, faster than Tadej Pogačar, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.

Obviously, the usual caveats apply that this was a one-day race, not a grand tour (though the riders had to climb two sides of the Bald Mountain today, from Sault and Bedoin), but still – that’s a pretty impressive performance, which certainly bodes well for the Tour…

14 June 2022, 13:18
Red and green: Vuelta introduces new environmentally friendly leader’s jerseys made from recycled fabrics

Oh, and there's also a nice nod to the race's start in the Netherlands this year, with three special red jerseys paying homage to the host towns Utrecht, 's-Hertogenbosch and Breda. 

14 June 2022, 12:14
Swain’s Lane comes out on top in list of Britain’s most popular climbs

North London’s Swain’s Lane, the home of the annual Urban Hill Climb, is Britain’s most popular cycling climb, according to a recent study by online bike supplier ProBikeKit.

Using cycling writer and hill enthusiast Simon Warren’s 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs books as a guide, the study delved into the Strava data, analysing the number of times different hills have been climbed, and ranking them based on the number of attempts per person, with Swain’s Lane sitting comfortably atop the, ahem, summit.

Britain's Top 10 most popular cycling climbs

At just under a kilometre long, and flanked in part by the eastern and western sides of Highgate Cemetery, Swain’s Lane is popular throughout the year for North London cyclists seeking out some hill repetitions in the city.

In second place on the list, and just rounding the final bend, is Box Hill, the iconic Surrey climb which played a prominent role in the 2012 Olympic road race and subsequent editions of RideLondon.

The first non-London-centric climb to be featured on the list is West Yorkshire’s Cragg Vale, a bona fide Tour de France climb after featuring in the 2014 edition, which at 8.7 kilometres is the longest continuous ascent in England.

West Sussex’s Steyning Bostal occupies fourth, while Norwood Edge, a nine percent kicker on the edge of Lindley Wood Reservoir, came in fifth.

The Bwlch in Bridgend emerged as the most popular climb in Wales, while Scotland’s favourite hill is the Crow Road, not far from Glasgow, which also came ninth on the overall list.

But what, I hear you ask, makes a popular climb, repeated by cyclist after cyclist on Strava?

“A repeatable climb is one that’s on your doorstep, one you fit into your training rides and test yourself on week in week out,” says Warren.

“It doesn’t want to be too hard or too long, just hard and long enough to hurt a bit so you can keep going back without being scared of it.”

“One climb I never get bored of riding is Newlands Pass in the Lake District. It is long, hard, but not too hard to make it unpleasant and just about the most beautiful road in Britain.

“Often new roads turn up out of the blue like the freshly surfaced Bamford Clough in the Peak District. 

“It was only given a coat of asphalt last summer and is now a must ride UK climb. At 36.5 percent it’s also the steepest climb in Britain but I’m pretty sure it will never be popular because very few people make it up without walking.”

So, is your favourite climb on the list? Or are you raging your local hill climb wasn’t featured? Any other must-ride hills that should have been included? Let us know!

14 June 2022, 11:34
Who’s your favourite Hayter?

With Leo Hayter’s dominance at the Baby Giro fuelling speculation that he may be even better than big brother Ethan – who hasn’t looked too shabby competing with little-known names like Wout van Aert this year – I think it’s only fair to go to their dad Tim for the definitive answer:

That’s that cleared up then… 

14 June 2022, 10:42
I know what I want for Christmas…

Cycling, Monopoly, and an ad featuring a screaming Marc Madiot – what more could you want? 

14 June 2022, 10:01
Another good car driver

Last week on the live blog, reader Nigel told us that “not all car drivers are bad”, an epiphany he reached after a number of motorists came to his aid in the wake of a nasty crash which broke his femur.

Since then, Richard has got in touch to share a heart-warming tale about another Good Motoring Samaritan (and a doggedly determined septuagenarian cyclist):

I read your article… and thought that I would share what happened to my late father a few years ago.

My dad (72 years old at the time) wanted to cycle from west (St David’s) to east (Lowestoft) over four days.

Day one went to plan, but around midday on day two a company van driver decided to undertake a car waiting to turn right, then turned right itself and crashed into the back of my dad’s bike, with the pannier taking most of the hit, and knocking him off his bike.

 The lady driver who was waiting to turn had a few heated words with the van driver, checked if my dad was okay, then due to the damage to the bike offered my dad a lift to a bike shop to see if it was repairable.

The shop they went to confirmed that the bike frame was bent and that the wheel was beyond repair, and so a write off. My dad was keen to carry on, but the shop did not have a similar bike in stock but said that there was another shop about 10 miles away that could help. The shop phoned ahead to let them know my dad was on his way.

The lady then gave my dad a lift to the next shop where my dad purchased himself a new bike, fitted his old saddle (a Brooks) and carried on with his ride, finishing as planned in the four days.

We have no idea who the lady was who spent a considerable amount of time helping my dad, taking him and his bike to two different shops, but who enabled him to carry on with his bike ride.

14 June 2022, 09:51
Tufty declined to comment…

This brilliant tweet – in response to the completely bonkers revelation in a recent Near Miss of the Day that an aggressive close pass driver was unable to attend court “because he was bitten by a squirrel” – will transport readers of a certain vintage back to their childhood, learning about road safety.

I also heard that Bobby Brown Rabbit is refusing to answer any of the police’s questions…

14 June 2022, 08:55
“RTA language policing = instant ban”: Local news editor blocks Twitter users criticising report of cyclist injured in “accident with a van”

As any dedicated reader of the live blog will know, language matters.

Believe me, I’ve scrolled through enough of our readers’ comments to know that you’ll pick up on any mistake, major or minor (I won’t mention my excellent colleague Dan’s “segway” mishap a few weeks back… sorry, Dan).

But one area where the importance of language can never be underestimated concerns the reporting of road traffic collisions.

Last year, a new set of guidelines for reporting RTCs, co-ordinated by journalist and contributor Laura Laker working alongside the Active Travel Academy at the University of Westminster, were launched to ensure that the press can play a role in making the streets safer for everyone including vulnerable road users.

The Road Collision Reporting Guidelines encourage the media, among other things, to avoid using the word “accident” before the full facts of the case are known – “crash” or “collision” not carrying the same association with chance – and to acknowledge the role of motorists, eradicating headlines such as “car crashes into tree”.

> “Language matters” – Road collision reporting guidelines launched

Unfortunately, the guidelines seem to have been lost in the post on the way to Brighton and Hove News.

On Friday evening, the local news site reported that “a cyclist was seriously injured in after [sic] an accident with a van outside a primary school this afternoon”.

That tweet – which seemed to be an attempt to tick off the entirety of the ‘no’ column in the RTC guidelines – somehow managed to make it through the weekend unscathed.

Yesterday, however, a number of cyclists began to question the potentially misleading headline, which appeared to insinuate that the cyclist accidentally, out of nothing, collided with a stationary – or autonomous – van…

> Petition to amend road traffic legislation to refer to 'collisions' and not 'accidents'

In a since-deleted tweet, Brighton and Hove News’ editor, Jo Wadsworth, responded to a rather polite query about language by condemning cyclists who she said criticise the reporting of local news outlets "every time we post a story, even if we use your approved language", and that her site will not adhere to the Road Collision Reporting Guidelines.

Wadsworth, it seems, then changed her Twitter bio to read “RTA language policing = instant ban”, before going on a blocking rampage, which one user who had criticised the report described as a “badge of honour”:

We have contacted Jo Wadsworth about her views on the Road Collision Reporting Guidelines and why she decided to implement such a heavy-handed response to critics on Twitter, and will of course keep you up to speed with any developments, accidental or otherwise…

Ryan joined as a news writer in December 2021. He has written about cycling and some ball-centric sports for various websites, newspapers, magazines and radio. Before returning to writing about cycling full-time, he completed a PhD in History and published a book and numerous academic articles on religion and politics in Victorian Britain and Ireland (though he remained committed to boring his university colleagues and students with endless cycling trivia). He can be found riding his bike very slowly through the Dromara Hills of Co. Down.

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