Irrational attacks on cyclists

What is it about cyclists that attracts such incoherent rage from a normally relatively sane person? Matthew Parris wrote an extraordinary column in The Times a couple of days ago, arguing – I kid you not – for stringing up cyclists on the nearest tree because they throw drinks cans and other litter on the narrow lanes where he walks. You can see the offending piece at
Quite apart from the fact that most of this litter is bound to come from car drivers and their loutish occupants, what on earth made Parris so angry about cyclists, compared with say 4 x 4 drivers who take up far more road space than normal motorists and, of course, contribute much more to the degradation of the environment? I have a theory that the hatred of cyclists by the likes of Parris, who is not alone in the irrationality and extremeness of his views, is to do with the fact that these commentators think we cyclists get a free ride. We don’t pay taxes to ride a bike and I reckon I save over £1,000 per year in fares through cycling round London, at a conservative estimate.
Moreover, it is true that we don’t always obey traffic rules, but then do motorists? Find me a driver who says they don’t break the rules, especially speeding, at times, and you will have found me a liar. It is, too, that cyclists on occasion have a sanctimonious air about them, but then we deserve to. We are part of the traffic and environmental solution, not part of the problem like the Clarksons and Littlejohns of the world. Previously I had not thought that Parris who is normally witty and elegant in his writing, fitted the mould of those two, but clearly he is aspiring to join them. Clearly a boycott of The Times is called for!
This is definitely my last blog of the year, so, readers, have a good 2008!

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