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Idiotic cycling article on BBC. Terrible, lazy writing.

rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
edited July 2007 in Campaign
A saint in the saddle?

An estimated five million people regularly cycle in the UK


By Brendan O'Neill



There was a time when riding a bike was about getting from A to B - not any more. For some it's become a moral and environmental crusade, but are cyclists getting too big for their boots?
"A menace is spreading. Silently, invisibly, moving across the planet. A new breed of hero is needed."

That new breed of hero is the cyclist, the menace is climate change and the line is from a new cinema trailer to promote CycleHero Week - not Hollywood's latest blockbusting action movie.


People cycle to save on travel costs
Today, it seems, cycling is more than a mode of transport. It is a noble enterprise, a "good thing", an activity that's taken up by responsible people who care for the planet and for future generations.

CycleHero Week is organised by the Cyclists' Touring Club (CTC), Britain's largest and longest-established national cyclists' organisation.

As part of events organised all this week, people driving carbon-coughing cars or motorbikes will be encouraged to become cyclists instead and to "pedal for the planet".

The cinema advertisement - courtesy of a £295,000 government grant - shows cyclists weaving their way through smoggy traffic jams, past miserable-looking motorists, towards a beautiful sunset in a vast green field.



'Saviours'

But has cycling become too politicised? Might government-funded campaigns that flatter cyclists as "heroes" give rise to "conviction cyclists" - people who ride their bikes with an air of moral superiority.

There are, of course, many good reasons to take up cycling - which is why five million Britons have done so.


Cyclists go to great lengths to get their message across
Bike-riding is better for the environment than driving a car. The average car produces three tonnes of carbon a year; a bike produces none. Cycling is also more efficient. Transport for London (TfL) estimates a four-mile trip around the capital takes on average 40 minutes by car, 30 minutes by public transport and 22 minutes by bicycle.

But motorists frequently complain cyclists ignore the rules of the road, rules put in place to keep everyone safe. One of their main gripes is that cyclists jump red lights.

But it's about more than just rule breaking - it's about attitude, say critics. The modern cyclist "ascribes to himself the most unassailable moral superiority", said one in a recent magazine debate on the issue.

Unpredictable

They are "politico-bikers" who use their bikes "like sandwich boards rather than vehicles" says Zoe Williams, a newspaper and magazine columnist.

Joseph Clery drives a van around London for a living, delivering day-labourers and tools to building sites across the city. He describes cyclists as "my worst nightmare".

"You never know what they're going to do. They're unpredictable, especially at the lights."


There's competition for space on the UK's roads
He says cyclists have also "become more argumentative".

"I've had cyclists kicking the side of my van and shouting unrepeatable things at me. Some of them think they own the roads - roads that we motorists pay for through our road tax."

But cyclists who may have a "holier-than-thou, high-handed sense of superiority" are in a small minority, says Matt Seaton a cycling columnist for the Guardian and the author of two books about cycling. The vast majority take up bike-riding for practical rather than political ends, he says.

"People who turn to cycling are really thinking about the money they will save, the convenience of being able to get from door-to-door quite quickly.

Competition for space

"Advertising campaigns that emphasise the planet-friendly aspect of cycling might act as a feel-good push to take up cycling, but most people do it to save time and money rather than the planet."

Mr Seaton thinks the era of the "politico-biker" has passed.

"There was an eco-warrior element in cycling communities in the 1990s, in that era of Swampy-style anti-roads guerrilla campaigning. But those energies have now been diverted elsewhere."


Cyclists have been campaigning for years
The aim of the CycleHero ad is to show that "anyone who gets on a bike can be a hero tackling climate change" says Yannick Read, media officer at the CTC.

He doesn't think the campaign will create "conviction cyclists". If anything, he says, it is cyclists' experience on the road that politicises them.

"People don't start cycling for out-and-out political reasons. But some of them become politicised the more they cycle. They see the impact too many cars can have on the roads and on city life."

Mr Read says the CTC wants better lanes and facilities for Britain's five million cyclists. "Maybe lack of resources is one reason why some cyclists appear angry", he adds.

'Anti-social'

Fenno Outen has been riding a bike most of his adult life - first as a student in Oxford and now as a mental health worker in London.

He believes that those cyclists who adopt a "noble posture" are being "anti-social".

"Compared to Holland, there is no decent road infrastructure in Britain that allows cyclists and motorists to interact in a friendly way - there is always competition for space.

"And that means individual cyclists and motorists have to try and make things work. There is no room for being uppity."


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6900694.stm
Brendan O'Neill is a censored :

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6900694.stm

What's the point of that censored ?

Might government-funded campaigns that flatter cyclists as "heroes" give rise to "conviction cyclists" - people who ride their bikes with an air of moral superiority.

What the freaking bumgravy are you blithering on about man?

Posts

  • Dangerous stuff.

    Yet another article legitimising hatred of cyclists.
  • I think that article deliberately makes the effort to put both points of view, and I don't think you've actually read it really have you rothbook. You've clearly just seen the words "cyclist", "saint", "crusade", and "politico-biker" on the same webpage and have put 2 and 2 together and come up with 8, and on that basis, come to the decision to chuck your toys out. But the BBC have deliberately put both sides of the argument, such as by quoting the CTC's point of view: "People don't start cycling for out-and-out political reasons. But some of them become politicised the more they cycle. They see the impact too many cars can have on the roads and on city life".
  • rothbookrothbook Posts: 943
    Dangerous stuff.

    Yet another article legitimising hatred of cyclists.

    One of the comments: -

    Excuse me, lets not forget that human beings riding bikes produce more carbon dioxide from respiration than human beings sitting down behind the wheel of an electric car - whenever somebody gets round to making this available, that is.



    So we've got it all wrong - heavily-breathing cyclists are the real environmental threat.

    Articles that divide road users, demonise vulnerable road users and dehumanise cyclists are dangerously reckless. We've seen all of this before and the comments that have now appeared beneath the article are even more depressing.

    I'd be interested to know how a riding style can be described as "santimonious" or as Brendan claims, implies the "moral high ground"!


    Is it in the bend of the knees?


    The angle of the elbows?

    What?
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