On your bike, cycling cranks...
We’ve always been a cranky sort of people, happy to play the poor mouth and claim victimhood whenever something doesn’t go our way.
There’s a reason for this, of course. Lobby groups and advocates know that the best way to get attention for their cause is to claim some degree of oppression, safe in the knowledge that we traditionally side with the underdog and don’t like to see people being persecuted.
People like... the Dublin Cycling Campaign, who have just been unsuccessful in their quest to make the Late Late apologise for an item involving Maura Derrane (above).
Derrane is a fine person (I admit a connection, I’ve known her for a few years and she’s great), but during a Room 101-style item on the Late Late she suggested binning cyclists.
Now, lots of people have had issues with bad cyclists in their time — in much the same way that we’ve all had issues with bad drivers, and bad pedestrians.
But the usual cycling advocates were furious and made numerous complaints because they now seem to think they’re a persecuted minority who need protection under the law from ‘hate speech’.
According to them, the item, “could be seen as inciting prejudice or hatred toward people who cycle”.
Well, lots of things could be seen to spread hatred and prejudice if you reach the stage where any criticism or, as in this case, a bit of slagging, is seen as hateful.
But when people, not just cyclists, squawk about ‘hate speech’, what they really mean is that it’s simply speech they hate hearing.
Cycling advocates have long been among the crankiest single issue groups in the country, which is odd, because most of cyclists I know couldn’t give a toss about them.
Some people are considerate cyclists, and some aren’t. Some people are considerate, full stop, and some aren’t.
It’s not ‘dehumanising’ as some complainers claimed, to point out that some people are simply eejits on the road.
If I wrote a piece about the nutter driving the car that nearly ran me down on Harold’s Cross Bridge this week, I doubt Conor Faughnan from AA would be on to my editor screaming that I’d ‘dehumanised’ motorists.
When people give out about bad cyclists, they’re just giving out about bad cyclists, they’re not engaged in some pre-pogrom campaign of vilification designed to turn the populace against our two-wheeled friends.
Most cyclists are grand, they’re just getting from A to B. But this desire to appropriate the language of the persecuted is truly risible.
First they came for the cyclists and I said nothing?