Commit to stopping the bias in road traffic collision reporting in the media

Commit to stopping the bias in road traffic collision reporting in the media

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Łukasz Sielski started this petition to Ofcom and

We, readers and viewers, continuously experience unfair and damaging bias in language used to report a road traffic collisions. Almost every time, when a cyclist is involved media call them directly. Anyhow when a motorist is involved reporters tend to say that a car, a truck or a van did something wrong (i.e. mounted the pavement or killed a person).

Such language causes overgrown and sickening hostility towards sustainable transport like cycling or even walking, while it promotes the car culture. This happens in the time when we fight air pollution, climate change, congestion and try to allow social distancing on the streets.

We ask all responsible media companies and regulators to enforce change in the language used, so the operator of the vehicle is always mentioned as a subject of the reported event. That should happen especially in the headlines and excerpts as they are most read and shared.

Examples with cars:

  • BBC "Sloane Square: Man arrested after car hits pedestrians" 3 Jun 2020
  • Mirror "Boy, 3, dies and woman, 37, injured after car mounts pavement and crashes into shop" 30 Jun 2020
  • BBC "Arrest after car mounts Ipswich pavement and hits two people" 8 Mar 2020
  • Metro "Boy, 12, dies after car mounts pavement and hits multiple children by school" 2 Dec 2019
  • Sun "Three injured as car mounts pavement and ploughs into Christmas shoppers at Stratford Centre in East London" 14 Dec 2019
  • Daily Mail "Car mounts the pavement and smashes into the front of a Bunnings leaving at least two injured as police and ambulances rush to the scene" 30 Apr 2020
  • Evening Standard "Charing Cross crash: Three injured after car mounts pavement outside busy London station" 4 Aug 2019
  • Independent "Dad and two children killed after being hit by car while on Father's Day walk" 22 Jun 2020
  • Guardian "Father and children killed in Cumbria road crash named by police" 23 Jun 2020

Examples with a cyclist:

  • BBC "E-bike cyclist cleared of killing Hackney pedestrian" 2 Mar 2020
  • Guardian "Cyclist settles case for £30,000 after hitting pedestrian who was looking at phone" 24 Feb 2020
  • Telegraph "Cyclist mowed down and killed pedestrian while speeding at 30mph in first suspected e-bike death, court hears" 26 Feb 2020
  • Daily Mail "Cyclist, 31, appears at Old Bailey accused of killing pedestrian, 51, by ploughing into her on his electric bike in first case of its kind" 21 Oc 2019
  • iNews "Uninsured cyclist who hit a pedestrian could be left £100,000 out of pocket — so should bike insurance be compulsory?" 21 Jun 2019
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