Monday 28 January 2013

Cambridge News just don't let up...

And I don't blame them - as things stand now, they've got 108 comments. That means people coming back time and again, keeping the hit counter ticking over, generating hits, thus revenue. I don't know anyone who buys a paper copy of Cambridge News any more - at one time people used to for the jobs and small ads, now its awful hard for kids on paper rounds which are longer and harder because ever fewer people want a paper delivered. Trolling Cambridge to get more hits is, I suppose, one solution in a shrinking market place.

Lets put this story into context - if the allegation there is true then some complete gobshite got off far too lightly. And there my sympathy for the journalist ends. All the article then goes on to do is to offer a platform to someone who doesn't like cyclists.

We can of course go through the article, pick out the points therein, and refute them. Such as the claim that were this a motorist there would have been a harsher punishment, a blatantly false claim when so many killer motorists walk free. But, bluntly, why the hell would I? What, so because someone who has had a bad incident now holds that against people who are in no way at all related to what happened, who are neither responsible for or in any way involved in the incident, we're expected to get all apologetic? No, no, no. That  fantasy isn't worthy of a reasoned response.

What really is worthy of response is just how blatantly bad our local paper is being towards cyclists yet again. I've covered this before - basically if you hate cyclists because they ride over a bridge they're allowed to ride over or because you have a grudge against all of us for the actions of one, thats enough for our local paper to treat it as a story. In todays News you'll note that the Police have had no complaint or request for further investigation on this matter - this fact conveniently tucked away at the bottom of the page. 

You'll also note yet more of the same complaining there as we always see - cyclists still using the pavements on Gilbert Road (who'd have thought it, cyclists avoiding fast, dangerous traffic using the pavement rather than inadequate cycle lanes), on Tennis Court Road (an almost impossibly narrow, allegedly 20mph road which I can assure you motorists will readily drive at twice the speed limit on - riding on the pavement doesn't seem like an unlikely survival strategy there). While the journalist could have used this as a springboard to demonstrate the clear, suppressed demand we have for segregated cycle routes in Cambridge instead we've got an article that amounts to being a cheap shot at cyclists. Again.

Let me be clear - if a cyclist has hurt you on the pavement or by going through a red light, you have my sympathy. But if you extend that into any kind of view against cyclists rather than the individual who harmed you or, worse, you publicise such a stance as if its reasonable then I'm sorry - much of that sympathy has gone now.

Do you suppose Cambridge News will contact this cyclist for comments about motorists in general? I doubt it. After all, they didn't even allow comments on an article covering a cyclist knocked off and injured by a taxi driver - be under no illusions, Cambridge cyclists - this newspaper is not our ally. Its out to drum up as much anger against us as it can. 

I doubt whether anyone from Cambridge News is reading this. If you are, you can refute my arguments here simply enough - lets see some news stories from the cycling perspective. I don't mean some faux concern that a cycle bridge has a dent in it (yes, really, they covered that). You can find relevant information on whats happening to cyclists on our roads readily enough. The only question remaining is whether there is a single cyclist in the city who is willing to talk to you.

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