MailOnline news story misleading and unreliable

Two cyclists being overtaken at a safe distance by a motorist.
Joanne Clark's picture

MailOnline news story misleading and unreliable

Cycling UK has raised a complaint with IPSO, the press watchdog over a MailOnline article, which the charity believes is misleading by suggesting to readers that there is wide public support for specific measures to regulate cycling.

The article headline, which was published on 17 August, claims that “91% of motorists back plans to force cyclists to sport registration plates in reference to a FairFuelUK survey.”

The article continues, “A poll of 1500 drivers by motoring group FairFuelUK found 91% supported cyclists being forced to have ‘road registration IDs’. Another 70 per cent backed them having insurance and 80 per cent supported speeding penalties.”

Cycling UK has argued it is disingenuous to suggest that the poll represents the views of drivers in general as the article does not clearly inform readers who took the survey, or what they were asked.

The survey was promoted by FairFuelUK, an organisation which describes itself as ‘fighting for fairer fuel taxation’.  

In this case Cycling UK says that as the poll was shared across the social media accounts of the motoring campaign group, and its founder Howard Cox, it is more than likely that poll respondents also support the views of FairFuelUK meaning results may be affected by self-selection bias.

The limitations of self-selecting polls, where people select themselves into a sample are widely known. One of the main issues is self-selection bias which occurs when individuals select themselves into a group, often causing a biased sample making results skewed and inaccurate. In this case, the only demographic information captured which would allow FairFuelUK to quota or weight the results was location, meaning the survey can’t be said to represent all drivers.

The charity has now written to IPSO, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, who regulate the press standards for many of the UK’s newspapers, to complain.

It is unfair and irresponsible for a national news outlet with millions of monthly visitors to share misleading information. In this case, the article is factually incorrect and leads readers to believe that there is wide support for impractical and unworkable cycling regulations.

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive

Sarah Mitchell, Cycling UK chief executive commented:

“It is unfair and irresponsible for a national news outlet with millions of monthly visitors to share misleading information. In this case, the article is factually incorrect and leads readers to believe that there is wide support for impractical and unworkable cycling regulations.

“As the cost-of-living crisis takes hold, more people are choosing to cycle as an alternative method of transport. Instead of creating expensive barriers for cyclists, we should be removing them and encouraging people to cycle so that they can reap the benefits.

“This case shows how important Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund is as it allows us to fight important cases such as this one.”

The Cyclists’ Defence Fund is invaluable in helping Cycling UK to fight significant legal cases involving cyclists and cycling, especially those which could set important precedents for the future and could affect the safety of all cyclists. Over time, its remit has expended to cover all aspects of cycling and the law. It is funded through donations.

Cycling UK awaits a response from IPSO.

Cycling UK’s Cyclists’ Defence Fund

The CDF specifically helps fight significant legal cases involving cyclists and cycling, especially those which could set important precedents for the future and could affect the safety of all cyclists. Over time, its remit has expended to cover all aspects of cycling and the law and is now funded through your donations.

Your donation will go towards our designated legal fund, set aside as a 'fighting fund' for legal action and cases.

 

Donate to the Cyclists’ Defence Fund 

Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert
Sponsored Advert