A range of opinions and perspectives in The War on Britain's Roads
Executive Producer, The War on Britain's Roads
This week we've seen lots of discussion (on the Guardian and Independent on Sunday) following the distribution of an early version of The War on Britain's Roads that was shared with TV and cycling journalists. What has become clear is that the subject of the relationship between cyclists and other road users in Britain is one that incites a wide range of heated opinions.
The documentary set out to look at Britain's roads from the perspective of both cyclists and drivers. From flouting the law by using a mobile phone while driving or going through red lights, to more serious matters like encounters that can get out of hand between cyclists and motorists, the documentary offers different examples of behaviour on our roads. The aim of this film is to give all road users the opportunity to reflect on the issues around sharing this already crowded space.
One piece of footage that has attracted attention from those that have seen the early version of the programme is a sequence that shows some bicycle couriers racing through London. We've included this footage of a so-called 'Alleycat' bicycle courier race to show the most extreme side of cycling behaviour. These races are widely condemned by much of the cycling community because of the dangers they pose and have been included in the War on Britain's Roads to illustrate some of the most dangerous behaviour seen on the roads. But the footage of these races makes up a tiny part of the programme and we show all different types of cycling and motoring behaviour - from the everyday to the extreme.
Another question that has been raised is the origin of the Alley Cat footage and whether it is actually "commercial" or "professionally shot". Leopard Films has chosen to include this footage because it is authentic footage shot by one of the cyclists involved in the race and subsequently posted online. The footage has since been released commercially, but the fact remains that it depicts real behaviour by couriers engaging in an unauthorised race on public roads.
Given the limitations of a sixty-minute programme it's impossible to present a comprehensive investigation into every aspect of cycling and motoring. This film is timely and explores real-life incidents and potentially dangerous behaviour between cyclists and other road users, using helmet camera footage alongside other footage and we're proud of the distinctive way that the film takes on this sensitive subject.
In The War on Britain's Roads, we present a range of opinions and perspectives. Ultimately it is left for the viewer to decide their viewpoint. Whatever your position, raising awareness of these kinds of issues, on a primetime BBC One programme, can only be a positive thing for both cyclists and other road users.
Samantha Anstiss is Executive Producer, The War on Britain's Roads