The trade’s emphasis on the very direct impact of poor reporting on all matters cycling in the press has been a standout stat in CyclingIndustry.News’ annual research for two years now.
This year we found that 40% of bike shops have significant concerns that both local and national press reporting is detrimental to sales of cycling goods and ridership rates.
We at CI.N agree strongly with the sentiment and believe addressing the language and imagery often used to portray cyclists in the press is a matter of industry interest. Whether it is wrongly categorising electric bikes as most outlets did following celebrity Simon Cowell’s electric motorbike crash, or simply the prevalence of baiting on social media channels that has become an all too common “us vs them” format, CyclingIndustry.News believes reporting guidelines are important in bringing about a more respectful and accurate representation of vulnerable road users.
Laura Laker, Guidelines author and co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted that Cycling Industry News has announced it is the first publication to ‘sign up’ to our ten Road Collision Reporting Guidelines. The Guidelines already have the support of a wide range of individuals and organisations, but having our first pledge from a publication to follow the Guidelines is a fantastic show of support from CIN. Although the guidelines aren’t legally binding, this demonstrates a commitment to reporting of the highest standard – and we hope many other publications will follow suit.”
CI.N Editor Mark Sutton added: “I was delighted when the Active Travel Academy announced it had begun developing media reporting guidelines.
Language matters in reporting as even subtle projections can directly influence and affect how readers latterly perceive a subject. In the case of cycling, it is not uncommon for media outlets to paint taking to two wheels as dangerous or some- how an anti-social thing to do in the midst of climate emergency. The data tells a different story, of course, and so responsible reporting can stand to do a lot of good for road safety, people’s health and many more social issues. We whole-heartedly support this important work and were delighted to be the first media outlet to commit ourselves to the reporting guidelines.”
To view the reporting guidelines in full, head to the website here.