Thursday, 28 February 2013

cyclists, hatred and crime: what was really said?

Yesterday, cycling in the dark, I was struck by the amount of fellow cyclists who not only wore dark clothes (ie no reflective strips or jackets), but had no lights. I felt disgusted that people should care so little for their and others’ safety.

Re-read the last sentence. Do you think it constitutes a hate-crime?

According to the Cambridge News of 28 February, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign has pressed for hatred towards cyclists to be "treated as a crime". I looked for the sources of the article, which is when I started wondering if the News hadn’t over-egged the pudding somewhat.

Cambridge Cycling Campaign have published a summary of the points they made to the 27 February session of the Get Britain Cycling campaign, facilitated by the All-Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. There’s no mention of hate-crime, or of cyclists being given a legal protected status against "stigma" like members of ethnic minorities. The website of Julian Huppert, Cambridge’s MP and prominent cyclist, lists nothing of the notion.

Cyclists face a copious discrimination, as the @CycleHatred page on Twitter shows. People don’t just seem to feel they can have a go, they tweet activities which would constitute dangerous driving or even intent to commit a crime, eg Birmingham’s @Miss_ALThompson: "Can't deal with f**king cyclists today just get out the road before I run you over #mightnotbeaccidently". Surely this can be investigated under existing laws?

click to view tweet

Many cyclists in Cambridge are exemplary. Many need to tighten up their act: often for instance, cyclists stopped by police for not having lights protest that they have reflectors, apparently unaware they predicate their safety on other people observing the laws that they’re breaking.

Intent to commit a crime apart, if anybody wants to insult this cyclist, feel free: just don’t complain when I respond in kind.

Gerry Dorrian
300 words

Resources

Cambridge Cycling Campaign at the Parliamentary Cycling Enquiry

@CycleHatred page on Twitter

all-party Parliamentary Cycling Group

Get Britain Cycling

Click to go to tweet pictured above (contains swearing)

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