Saturday, 19 January 2008

BBC TV: Promoting Road Danger

A couple of nights ago I watched ‘The One Show’ on BBC 1. I hate the BBC. They have ‘Top Gear’ with the odious petrolhead Clarkson but they never have any programme about cycling or urban walking. Watching BBC TV on driving and streets you sort of know that everyone involved is on a fat salary, drives a Four Wheel Drive, and has a string of speeding convictions.

‘The One Show’ tonight attracted my attention because it said it was about road humps. And it was typical BBC TV motorist propaganda. For a start, it only looked at road humps from the perspective of the motorist. Nothing about how they might affect pedestrians or cyclists.

The programme was crude and impressionistic because it failed to register the large variety of traffic calming devices involving raised surfaces. The ones in the programme in fact weren’t road humps but speed cushions. Apart from a brief clip of a Councillor who quoted some statistics showing how local traffic calming had resulted in a drop in pedestrian injuries to zero, the message was that road humps are BAD. In the studio there was publicist Max Clifford, who whined that humps put on roads where drivers never speed. Complete crap, of course, but the kind of message that the BBC media class are keen to promote (their agenda is no different to that of the gutter press and its rabid motoring lobby).

Clifford sobbed that road humps are bad for people with arthritis. And next to him there was some Z-list celebrity, who whined that the emergency services don’t like road humps because they reduce arrival times. (Traffic congestion also slows down emergency vehicles, but you never hear that as an argument to get cars off the roads.)

And putting forward the views of the cyclist and the pedestrian? No one. The BBC is indifferent to organisations like the CTC, LCC and Living Streets. Road deaths aren't news. A faulty jumbo jet which injures no one is mega news but the fortnightly jumbo-jet toll of road fatalities never registers at a national level.