20 October 2009

How Not to Promote Cycling in London


You really get the sense that the writer of this article in The Daily Mail hates cyclists and gleefully claps hands at a mind-bogglingly silly initiative like this one in Islington.

Oh goodness me.

Thanks to William for the link.

15 comments:

Gerry Gaffney said...

Got to love the term "lycra louts" in the Daily Mail article, though... :>)

Brent said...

It seems that the complaints against cyclists are the same everywhere one turns in the English speaking countries -- "they" don't respect the laws, "they" go too fast, "they" do this or that. What does Copenhagen do differently that the motorists aren't so angry at cyclists? Is it simply a matter of segregated paths?

townmouse said...

@Gerry - 'lycra louts' is a fairly widely used term, so not original to the Daily Mail (in fact it's become a bit of a cliché these days).

When I first saw that picture, my first reaction was that that alleyway now looks much more fun for speeding through - should get plenty of clearance off those speed bumps...

Steph said...

The Daily Mail really has a problem with editorialising in its news stories, there's no doubt which side of the argument they are on.

Bristol Traffic said...

1. yes, its ridiculous, and the Daily Mail is something we have to deal with. They are the newspaper we model Bristol Traffic on, though we haven't quite got the anger and resentment right yet.

2. I am appalled that cyclists are criticised for using a quiet back road as an alternative to a main road given five people have died on bikes in London this year.

3. The road is a lot wider than most shared use bike paths, ones without this calming.

4. You could really do a fast XC mountain bike sprint here, the speed bumps would make it fun. Imagine the residents reaction if people started coming to ride here because of all the bumps.

5. I think the thing that copenhagen and amsterdam do differently they is that the cylists are not "them", they are everyone, which makes it harder to find people prepared to be so negative about "them"

anna said...

Hard to believe. And sad.

SteveL said...

You should check out all the comments too, I love the people who want ban bicycles "they have no place in modern society". We have to share the roads with people like these, people to write to their MPs demanding that we are made illegal. You can be sure that these drivers aren't going to give you much clearance when they go past.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Yet another bunch of Daily Mail comments confirming my strong view that in not-yet-cycle-friendly countries such as the UK, every driving test should have a compulsory cycling element (exceptions for disabilities of course, level set such that even unfit people can get a taste of it), part of which is a qualified stunt driver passing a bit close so that everyone knows what it feels like.

Mark said...

No surprises that the Daily Mail hates cyclists really - if you're not white, straight, middle class and have 2.5 children and live in a nice suburb they probably hate you too! Note this week that an article ran in the same paper about the death of Stephen Gately from Boyzone prompted 23000 complaints to the Press Complaints Commission in just 5 days - a new world record, hoorah!

But seriously, there is a more serious issue here (dealt with tongue firmly in cheek over on my blog http://ibikelondon.blogspot.com/2009/10/cycle-speed-bumps-give-me-hump.html here) in that if this deters cyclists surely that would lead to an increase in cars, which actually DO kill people, in which case they would have to speed bump the entire local area to stop all these new car journeys adding to the death toll... am sure Islington Council didn't think of that...

Mark

PS Don't read the comments section on the original Daily Mail article - it will make you feel suicidal...

Mark said...

Bristol Traffic said:
<>
5. I think the thing that copenhagen and amsterdam do differently they is that the cylists are not "them", they are everyone, which makes it harder to find people prepared to be so negative about "them"
<>

THIS IS ABSOLUTELY SPOT ON!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the in the 1930's this same paper (The Daily Mail) was a great fan of Hitler and is policies, they didn't change their tune until 1939.

LGV said...

it's oviously not for cars !!!

Anonymous said...

The Mail (and some of our esteemed Members of Parliament) are at it again today - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222067/The-Lycra-louts-MPs-curbs-cyclists-lives-risk.html

If you read the slightly more balanced report from the BBC* it turns out that this all stems from a National Audit Office report that highlighted the UKs appalling record on child pedestrian accidents and the vulnerability of pedestrians and cyclists.

I haven't read any of the original reports, but the NAO are a pretty sensible bunch and I'd wager their report had little to say about the mennace of 'lycra louts' on or off the pavement.

Pretty pathetic that the MPs in question choose to focus on such a minor issue and apparently ignore such a major one. Their report is more balanced I'm sure, but like me no one will read it.

*http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8319630.stm

Bristol Traffic said...

If you go to the original report it is not bad, pushes for a focus on child safety in deprived areas, advocates 20 mph speed limits and other things. Only one of the bullet points is about bikes and its about "perceived conflict" -yet the Daily Mail, BBC and some of the cycling press focused on that, and got to present a "politicians declare war on bicycles" story. Rest Assured, Bristol Traffic will be in there tomorrow, showing how we managed to deflect public awareness from child safety to the war on bicycles.

People outside the UK may be interested to know that the daily mail has just received a beating in public for its coverage of the death of Stephen Gately -now that they can't be homophobic or racist, that leaves the cyclists as the enemy to pick on. But you can't come out and demand for cylcists to be banned just for being on the roads, you need to demonise them first. This is the plan in action.

Frankly, I'm not surprised by the daily mail, but the way the BBC towed the party line is pretty grim, quoting MPs saying the police couldn't do anything because what the people on bicycles were doing was legal. Yes, cycling round the UK is still legal. Despite what the daily mail think.

again: check the comments out on the daily mail article. Lovely. Split evenly between "They are on the pavements" and "they are in the way on the roads". Surely every bike on the way on the roads is in fact one not on the pavement, therefore one to welcome. Clearly not.

Mark said...

Hey guys, I noticed the difference between what the MP committee SAID ('poor kids die more on our roads - tragic") than what was reported ("Lycra louts out!!!") too, and am lining up a suitably exasperated post on my blog about it now - it's infuriating in the extreme because the coverage seems to have completely missed the primary recommendations of the committee and instead gone for some cheap cycle-bashing. Can you imagine the uproar if the story had read "Black children in poor areas are more likely to die on our roads, and a minority of black children are a cause of crime" and the the media had reported simply "Black children cause of crime!" There would be an UPROAR - how is it that it is acceptable to bash cyclists in the same way???

And as for the Hate Mail, well, really are we all surprised? But from our national broadcaster I expect more. Much more.