Sad as it is to say, I suppose there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary about another sequence of deaths and serious injuries of people riding bikes – the most troubling and unsettling being yet another woman being crushed by a left-turning tipper truck at a notoriously dangerous London junction – running in parallel with a series of poorly-timed articles and programmes, apparently driven by a media industry that seems determined to pour petrol on the flames of what should be a deeply serious issue, for the sake of ratings.
A feature of these articles in newspapers, or appearances on TV, is the reference to people cycling as ‘them’, or ‘they’. All from the last few days –
Glenda Slagg nonsense there, from Sarah Vine, Fiona Phillips, and Angela Epstein, respectively.
Of course the trick with this kind of ‘journalism’ is to play to what you think is your audience, parroting their prejudice back to them. And sure enough the response was predictable –
Pictured below are just some of the 51 people who have been killed riding a bike in Britain so far this year.
Keep the word ‘them’ in mind.
‘Them’? What do these people have in common, beyond the tragedy of their deaths, and their mode of transport at that time?
They are – were – just ordinary people. Husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, daughters, sons. Not ‘them’. Ordinary people who just happened to be riding a bike.
The full list of 2015 fatalities is at Beyond The Kerb.