Hyperbole: In which I compare cyclist with terrorist

The other day I read an article in the Courier Mail about a cyclist who was in an accident and was subsequently taken to hospital. The article was very short and finished with this line:

It is not know whether the cyclist was wearing a helmet.

(I know. We’re all wondering the same thing. Where’s her helmet.)

Really? Nothing like: it’s not known whether the cyclist’s injuries are severe.

Not: it’s not known who was at fault.

Just: probably the dickhead wasn’t wearing a helmet. (Or words to that effect.)

Don’t you love the way they’re already victim blaming? In an article of about 100 words they managed to cast in our minds the idea that it might be the cyclist’s fault. Too bad if the cyclist has a broken hip and the merest graze to his/her head.

It’s astonishing that a person is lying in hospital and they say such a thing about them. This would not happen to other groups.

Could you imagine:

It’s is not known whether the digger was had kept his rifle clean or was wearing a bullet proof vest. His family were notified this morning.

Could you imagine them casting aspersions like that on any other group except cyclist?

During the recent fires in NSW some people suggested that massive fires and devastating cyclones are just the sort of activity you might expect to see as a result of global warming. Probably true but some disagreed with the timing of their statements. They were dismissed as political opportunists (apparently global warming is a political issue now, not scientific, health or climate) taking advantage of the misfortune of those suffering the consequences of the disasters. Imagine if someone had said, “It’s not know whether they had cleared bushland 100m from their home or followed other fire risk mitigation strategies.”

Hung. Drawn. And quartered. A journalist who wrote that kind of inflammatory crap would be forced give up their career at their failing national broadsheet and take up a lucrative job in one of those flash PR companies. Probably have to learn to take clients out to the best hotels in town and drink expensive champagne too.

Damning the innocent, victim blaming, casting aspersions, those things are reserved for groups we have a special prejudice against. Like cyclists. Or terrorists.

In the pre-9/11 days every time they had a bombing or shooting in the US the news jumped to the conclusion that it was Muslim extremists. The Unabomber, Eric Rudolph and Timothy McVeigh, all assumed to be foreign extremists until it was later proved they were home grown extremists. Until the terrible events of 9/11 they got it wrong time and time again.

No-one ever said of 9/11, “Why did they build a tower so tall?”  No-one asked, “It’s not known whether the victims wore a fast pair of sandshoes that day or whether they might have escaped it they had.” You just don’t say that about the dead or injured.

Cyclists on the other hand seem to get lumped in with that crazy guy who tried to smuggle explosives concealed in his shoes onto a plane. As if we could even fit explosives in our shoes!

(What bomb? These are my new cycling kicks.)

As our society becomes more culturally aware we’ve developed a group of people who know they can’t hate people for their skin colour, shape of their eyes or sexual orientation. They would  be disturbed by bigotry in any form if they were aware of it. They say. Yet they feel free to hate cyclist. They have, they tell you, such excellent examples of the horrific dangers posed by cyclist. They can itemize and retell every incident in the last five years when some cheeky turd cyclist got in their way or broke some trifling road rule.Their hatred is justified. The KKK, on the other hand, were nutbags who believed black people were inferior.

You have to wonder why people are so concerned by cyclists. Look at our impact on the road. I drive a car and I know what a jolly great way to get about it would be if only everyone else didn’t want to do the same thing at the same time. If 50% of the car drivers suddenly took to cycling I’d be driving about in car heaven. I might even give up cycling myself, just because I’m a contrary bastard, grow one of those pot guts and rev my V8 at the lights and pretend to myself that this is somewhat like masculinity feels like.

Somehow the bike bigot ignores the 99.9% of traffic on the road (by size that is) and blame the cyclists. Cyclist use the spaces left over by cars. They rarely (if ever) contribute to traffic. So it’s hard to see why anyone would try and make a argument against cyclist, unless they were bigots.

(I see the problem here. It’s those fucking cyclist stopping all the cars from getting through.)

It’s hard to see why any reasoned person would even bother discussing cyclists. Cars are so much heavier, faster and more numerous than bikes. In comparison to bikes cars must be over 100,000 times more dangerous than bikes. If you cared anything for road safety you think you’d focus your energies on the real dangers. Unless you were a short sighted ignorant bigot.

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