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JoAnne Good has a go at cyclists on BBC London
6.11.08 by Buffalo Bill

Just got this email:

Hey Bill

As an occasional reader of your fine online zine, I read your comments about what the Met Traffic Police are doing with relation to HGV/cyclist collisions. Good opinions well voiced. I thought I’d draw you attention to what I heard on BBC Radio London that same morning when they commendably chose to cover the event with an outside broadcast unit.

Sadly, one of the presenters, JoAnne Good, used this as a platform to have a go at all cyclists and tar them with the same brush. She continued on about it through the whole breakfast show, completely belittling the Met initiative. The show is now online at here – but I’ve transcribed out some of the main bits at the end of this email if you don’t want to go through listening to it. Timings are from the start of the show. Doesn’t really get across though the tone of what she was saying, and its frustrating (though I suppose not surprising) when someone in a position of influence, on a station listened to by lorry drivers and taxi drivers on the same roads we are on in London, puts across such negative views without any attempt at balance, and diluted the impact of the main thrust of the segment on the initiative by the Met/TFL at Southwark.

Perhaps I shoud shrug my shoulders and think ‘c’est la vie’ but is me on those London roads on my bike, so I’ve decided to complain to the BBC through their online complaints procedure.

All the best


01:38 This is about when I tuned in
JoAnne – They are [cyclists], sorry I’m not generalising, yes I am, foulmouthed and very angry but I’ve said that a million times I won’t go into it.
Paul Ross – Not all cyclists though. If you’re a cyclist, give us a call. This isn’t turning into an anti-cycling rant.
JoAnne – Well, it might do

01:47 The infamous lorry caller – take care around Wimbledon for this guy!!!
JoAnne – Lets go to a lorry driver. Graham’s called us from Wimbledon Morning Graham.
Caller – Good morning Jo
Paul – So have you ever had a collision with a cyclist?
Caller – Yes, I drive for a living. I drive [some type of lorry] and I’ve got mirrors everwhere. [….] I was driving along this straight road. I saw this cyclist in front of me, about 100yds, and I caught up with him at the roundabout. I started to proceed over the roundabout and nearly got completed when the cyclist just decided to turn right.
Paul Ross – So he was crossing in front of you then?
Caller – Yes
JoAnne – That’s like David and Goliath, what a ridiculous thing to do
Caller – Well I class him as a professional cyclist
JoAnne – Oh yeah, the helmet and the day glo and the little tap shoes
Caller – […] with wrap round sunglasses and I’m sure he had head phones on because he definitely didn’t know I was there. I knocked, I didn’t thank God knock him because if I did he wouldn’t be here today but I knocked his bike, he went flying and he actually enpierced (sic) himself on the handlebar. So he eventually came out of hospital. I can understand how lorry drivers are getting a bad name, but its not always their fault.
Paul Ross – And how long was he in hospital for?
Caller – About two, maybe three weeks
JoAnne – Well thank you very much for that Graham, let that be a lesson.

02:11 After a text message from a cyclist, asking JoAnne to highlight the positives of cycling and how bad cycling rarely kills whereas bad driving does on a daily basis:
JoAnne – What I hate about cyclists, and I’ve said this before and I’ll stop saying it soon, is that we are breeding a very bold generation of cyclists, they have so much freedom. We’re making them angry and bold and over confident. That is the danger. You know you should have humility when you are cycling

Updated: many months later the BBC got in touch to complain about this article. See this post.

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  1. Bitch. Way to stay fair and balanced there, and show some concern for human life.

    BuddhaDave    6 November 2008, 18:57    #
  2. If you can spare a minute or two, PLEASE COMPLAIN. It does make a difference. I complained a number of times about John Gaunt and it wasn’t long before he was axed in favour of Vanessa Feltz.

    Jack    6 November 2008, 19:19    #
  3. (sorry if double post – browser weirdness)

    I’ve just done an online complaint. This kind of ignorant vitriol needs to be accounted for by the BBC.

    I’ll post a link to this article over on londonfgss (if it’s not there already), and see if we can’t get a few more people complaining.

    — BringMeMyFix    6 November 2008, 20:02    #

    Multi Grooves    7 November 2008, 02:14    #
  5. 3 weeks in hospital = let that be a lesson.

    thats cold!

    — Smallfurry    7 November 2008, 08:02    #
  6. This lady needs to go. Read the highway code! When a cyclist or a fricken horse for that matter is on or appraoching a roundabout, you need to give them them plenty of room, not catch up to them and knock them off intentionally. Lady the cycling community is going to have you out of a job.

    — zack speedfast    7 November 2008, 09:22    #
  7. I wouldn’t mind using my“little tap shoes“to tapdance over what’s left of that womans brain!

    — overdrive    7 November 2008, 10:08    #
  8. compliant filed! Debate with her is useless. She is like a racist and trying to change her mind will be dam near impossible. Lets just hope she gets some sort of come back on this.

    — Tommy    7 November 2008, 11:29    #
  9. You freak cyclists you can’t even spell. I’m going to run you all over on my way to my local K.K.K meeting. Overdrive i’m going to rub my fat arse all over your face.

    — JoAnne Bad    7 November 2008, 15:19    #
  10. Overdrive i’m gonna run you over with my trakkkktor

    — Benny    7 November 2008, 15:22    #
  11. “…we are breeding a very bold generation of cyclists, they have so much freedom. We’re making them angry and bold and over confident.”

    This is true – and a bloody good thing too.

    — zero    8 November 2008, 14:02    #
  12. if you read the highway code it says that you must treat vulnerable road users with care.. if you almost get killed by a driver, frankly they need to be given some anger.. hopefully they will learn to drive with more care next time.

    i guess the problem with sensationalist types is they don’t have a wider view point.. much like the narrow view points of HGV vehicle drivers which are so lethal

    — mr_tim    8 November 2008, 20:34    #
  13. I found Joanne Good’s ill-informed comments on cyclists offensive and insulting. Cycling in London is dangerous enough without having presenters telling listeners that after being knocked down they should “let that be a lesson”.

    Would the presenters voice the same to the families of the nine cyclists killed by lorries in London so far this year?

    “we are breeding a very bold generation of cyclists” is a good thing. A totally legitimate form of transport we shouldn’t need to be second class to anything else on the road.

    Please educate your presenter.

    hippy    9 November 2008, 01:12    #
  14. This is truly shocking. Just a few weeks after a child was killed in Tooting on his bike, that someone like this can trivialise being knocked off as “a lesson”. It’s wholly irresponsible – it’s like saying that cyclists get what they deserve for daring to cycle on the streets.

    To my mind it’s not a million miles away from saying women who wear short skirts deserve to get raped. I hope she does get reprimanded and at least has a think about how stupid her comments are.

    urbancyclist    10 November 2008, 11:40    #
  15. …. sorry, just wanted to add:

    “helmet, dayglo and tapshoes”

    So wearing a helmet, visible clothing and proper cycling shoes is also some kind of example of cyclists being too bold?

    Remember guys; cyclists shouldn’t wear helmets, always dress in dark clothes so as not to distract drivers and if they are going to wear shoes, make sure they are heavy boots.

    urbancyclist    10 November 2008, 11:48    #
  16. You bunch of self-centred fools.
    I drive, I ride & I walk. I’ve been crashed into several times by cars and once even by a cyclist. I have respect for all road users and especially for the ones in massive lorries who have a really hard time on small roads – have YOU driven one? Do you know how hard it is to see a darting cyclist who never looks, never mind indicates?

    Jeees, people sat in metal boxes die on our roads every day and all you have to protect you is a hat. GET A GRIP and stop riding like ‘your rights’ will protect you in a collision with an HGV.

    — just a person    17 November 2008, 08:45    #
  17. Hello just a person.Are you Joanne good?Were you in the classic soap opera Crossroads?Are you mad!?
    All the best.x

    — overdrive    17 November 2008, 10:32    #
  18. I gave up yelling at cars and trucks years ago. Better to turn your attention on ignorant incompetent cyclists (noone says they don’t exist?, and they’re the minority that give us a bad name, right!?!). A favourite trick of mine right now is to time your approach behind a cyclist you know is about to cut across the middle of the road before looking or pointing, and if they swing hard enough you can give them a heavy left shoulder. Also works well with those who swing around buses without knowing what’s happening behind them. They tend to look before moving next time. Does this make me like the lorry driver?

    — matt    17 November 2008, 16:13    #
  19. ooh,controversial….

    — overdrive    17 November 2008, 17:27    #
  20. J-Good`s clearly a rabid hater..no arguing with such folk.
    But pretending that some cyclists aren`t part of the problem ain`t good either.
    Check the evening 5-6pm “race” from Soho to Broadway Market…it`s crazy.
    Stuff like that helps JB types to ignore/dismiss valid anti-vehicle arguments and campaigns…

    — akeley    17 November 2008, 19:59    #
  21. People like J-Good were dismissing cyclists as a lunatic fringe who deserved whatever happened to them a long time before the current renaissance in cycling. Anti-social behaviour by cyclists might be annoying, and very very occasionally dangerous, but 3000+ people are killed on the UK’s roads every year by motor-vehicles. 1 or less by a collision with a bicycle.

    The current efforts to raise awareness of the problem of London cyclists being killed by collisions with lorries is well-founded in careful research and analysis, and now includes action by legislators, law-enforcement agencies, cyclists groups, employers of lorry drivers – in other words, a serious attempt by all concerned parties to remedy a continuing problem. I doubt that J-Good’s comments will serve to derail those efforts, but they do show a shocking ignorance of the facts in someone who, after all, receives money from the public purse for providing information to her listeners.

    — Bill    18 November 2008, 09:07    #
  22. I was the person who originally emailed Bill. I complained to the BBC and got the following response:

    “Thank you for your e-mail.

    We note your concerns regarding comments made by Jeremy Clarkson during ‘Top Gear’ on 02 November. This issue was raised with Executive Producer Andy Wilman who has made the following statement.

    “Top Gear is BBC Two’s long-running motoring show and its audience has clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson’s long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona and exaggerated humour.

    These references did not go out without the BBC giving them careful consideration and we did not intend to cause offence.

    We took the view that their inclusion was justified as we were taking an urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and then exaggerating it to an absurd level. The comments should be seen within the context of the programme.”

    Please be assured, however, that we have registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive, are circulated and considered across the BBC.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.


    BBC Complaints”

    — Ali    19 November 2008, 19:45    #
  23. I just got this back regarding the show from the BBC. Pretty much a “fuck you” from them really. All I said was that it was irresponsible to incite a load of people to feel antagonism towards a minority – I mean I said a bit more than that, but it was along those lines.

    Anyway – this is what I got:
    Thank you for your e-mail about JoAnne Good’s comments on cyclists. We’re very sorry for the delay in replying.

    Regular listeners to the Breakfast programme know that Jo has an issue with cyclists in London who ignore traffic lights, ride on pavements and use abusive language or hand gestures.

    Many times in the past, cyclists have called in to point out that not all cyclists behave in this way and Jo has also interviewed spokesmen representing cyclists and cycling organizations who have contradicted her views. She accepts their points, but still maintains it happens too often and represents a danger to all road and pavement users.
    Jo’s co-presenter Paul Ross also balances her comments by emphasising that it is only a minority of cyclists who act in this way and that there are, of course, other road users who break the law or act in an aggressive or dangerous way.

    Specifically in relation to reports on BBC London about the Metropolitan Police / Transport for London initiative to reduce the number of cyclists who are killed in accidents with large goods vehicles, Jo was making the point that many cyclists take unnecessary risks, which was precisely the point being made by the police in this report.

    She illustrated this further with her wider criticisms of cyclists who break the law and those who show aggressive behaviour. Jo acknowledges this is a minority of cyclists, a point her co-presenter Paul Ross made emphatically.

    JoAnne Good is entitled to a view, just as Paul Ross has strong opinions on other matters. Both are balanced by listeners who call, text or e-mail to oppose or agree with them or to add their views. Throughout the programme, Paul and Jo invite listeners to join the debate, giving out the phone and text numbers and the e-mail address.

    So overall, the programme is fair as Jo’s views on cyclists are adequately balanced by listeners, contributors and by her co-presenter.

    Once again, thank you for taking the time to contact us.


    BBC Complaints

    urbancyclist    24 November 2008, 14:30    #
  24. I had exactly the same e-mail as well.

    — Alex Ball    24 November 2008, 14:33    #
  25. Yeah i’m sure we all got the same email. What a load of shite if ever i heard it.

    — speedfast    24 November 2008, 16:31    #
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