01 July 2009

Cyclo Brevity

My reading this past week brought me past George Bernard Shaw and this quote, a propos fearmongering and The Culture of Fear:

"Newspapers are unable, seemingly to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization."

Indeed. And how appropriate given the hysteria many papers, especially the tabloids, exhibited by the press about cycling and 'safety'.

And I returned, for reasons nothing to do with cycling, to Philip Larkin's great death poem, Aubade:

"Courage is no good:
It means not scaring others.
"

Courage means not scaring others. Boy, there are a lot of people out there who should reflect on that.

Bicycle by Paul Fattaruso
While we're in brevity mode, I can recommend a book of bicycle poems by Paul Fattaruso called... "Bicycle".

Brilliant stuff. Simple, elegant poems about bicycles. Example:

"Of all the hidden cities, the city of abandoned bicycles is the most perfectly hidden. One can listen a long time to the indistinct whispers of abandoned bicycles in the streets."

10 comments:

Cully_J said...

I haven't noticed ANY media attention - good or bad - given to cycling at all.

Maybe I should get out from underneath my rock?

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Cully_J: feel free to read the papers down here in Melbourne, particularly any time there's a law change and they decide to open up a readers' comments page - 'demonised' doesn't begin to cover it...

Chris said...

Mikael-
From following your blog(s) I'm well aware of your attitude towards helmet laws and fear mongering helmet usage. I completely respect your position as you make very valid arguments. However, I chose to wear one for a few reasons and this is one of them:
http://www.startribune.com/local/49650912.html
This is the kind of thing we have to deal with in a culture where bicyclists are viewed as outsiders.

Nate (Salt Lake City) said...

An example comes from our local source for fish wrap: the SALT LAKE TRIBUNE.

A few weeks ago, 2 cyclists were knocked down on city streets. One went to the hospital - and recovered. One had only minor injuries.

During the same week 6 people were killed in cars, and at least a dozen hurt.

The TRIBUNE summarized the week as demonstrating that bicycling is "dangerous".

... Nate (SLC)

amigosito said...

Nate: fish wrap is right! I think you've alluded to an excellent point: bicycles are not dangerous--cars are dangerous. I'd go ever further and state that bicycles are not the reason I wear a helmet--cars are!

Mikael said...

so... logically speaking you wear your helmet when in cars, when walking - not only because you have a higher risk of injury as a motorist or a pedestrian but also because you are near cars.

please tell me you do, otherwise i don't get it.

oh, and don't forget your lifevest when near water.

amigosito said...

You crack me up, Mikael.

Green Idea Factory said...

The thing about courage is gorgeous, as is the whole post.

I am sensing a backlash against ghost bikes... but perhaps getting rid of this grassroots programme is pre-mature in places where cars-make-cycling-much-more-dangerous-and-way-less-fun-than-if-there were-less/slower/softer cars.

Fellow readers, what would "ghost bikes 2.0" look like?

I am thinking something like every ghost bike needs a closely-proximate "spirit of fun bike"!

Mikael said...

i've never understood ghost bikes. it's such a sub-cultural concept. and it's not logical until all dead pedestrians are "honoured" with white mannequins and dead motorists are "honoured" with white cars.

it certainly doesn't help convince doubting motorists that cycling is safer than most other activities, including, for example, gardening. [White shovels or wheelbarrows?]

it focuses on the wrong point and breathes more life into the motorist myth that bicycles shoudn't be allowed on the streets.

Just a cyclist said...

Its easy to get the impression that the "ghost bikes" are fueled from the same source that scolds relentlessly for the need of bike helmets.