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Newsnight Scotland cycling debate was unbalanced and ill-informed

The Newsnight Scotland broadcast on the BBC on February 7 demonstrates that the corporation really has fallen from grace.

The presenter, Gordon Brewer, showed a clear bias against cyclists and failed to steer a balanced debate. Mr Brewer was misinformed when harping on about how the bad weather in Scotland will always hold cyclists back. The main reason why people do not cycle is because of the real or perceived safety risk, something that Mr Brewer's guest, motoring journalist Alan Douglas, clearly does not take seriously.

BBC Scotland must source better-informed guests, as the level of ignorance shown by Mr Douglas was embarrassing. Stating that there has always been a culture of cycling in Holland merely proved his lack of knowledge on the topic – Holland was not a cycling nation 30-40 years ago. They have worked hard to achieve the levels of cycling they have now.

Then for Mr Douglas to say that when it comes to extra investment, cycling must take its place with everything else (implying money would be better spent on more nurses, healthcare and welfare) proves he fails to see the bigger picture. Two-thirds of the Scottish population are overweight or obese and rates of diabetes are soaring. Encouraging more people to cycle can help address these issues and reduce the need for more investment in the NHS. As we all know, prevention is better than cure.

John Lauder,

National Director, Sustrans Scotland,

Rosebery House, 9 Haymarket Terrace,

Edinburgh.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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