Friday 25 August 2017

Richard Madeley, Cyclist Hater? AHA!

Alarmed to discover that one of the key proponents of Alan Partridgism, Richard Madeley, is still a thing. I seem to recall he was on some telly thing when I was a student, but whatever it was seemed so banal that even then I couldn't watch it. I used to occasionally catch it in one of the telly rooms on campus between lectures, and hope that Madeley would shut up and let his wife (Judy Finnegan was it?) talk, but that rarely ever seemed to happen. You know the show I mean, with the weather map with the disgusting child molester strutting around on it.

But anyway, this Madeley. He ought to understand that sometimes there's a delay on a line when you're interviewing, but he apparently doesn't. As you can see from this.

So, yeah. Madely, you just cannot be that much of an idiot. I don't accept that someone with as much experience in broadcasting as you can't understand how thats a guaranteed way to mess up an interview. You know how delays work and you know that if you keep yapping on and on rather than sticking to a question then anyone who hasn't got decades of experience on camera will struggle to answer you clearly. Because you're not being clear. You know that, and you knew it when you conducted this interview. You jumped about from one question to another - he was asked about accountability and he was answering about accountability. Your insistence that he's avoiding answering a question he's not been asked (about insurance) is facile and rude. What point were you trying to make other than throwing your weight around to denigrate cyclists?

But lets answer you anyway. Why is it cyclists aren't required to have insurance, (presumably from your stance that motorists are)? Because we're many, many orders of magnitude less harmful. We can analyze this in any way you like - we can look purely at kinetic energy if you want, where we can easily demonstrate you're comparing bullets (cars) with tennis balls (bikes). We license guns,we don't license tennis rackets. Because the former is orders of magnitude more hazardous than the latter.

Or we can look at fatalities due to road traffic if you prefer - drivers directly kill over three orders of magnitude more people than cyclists, and indirectly kill four to five orders of magnitude more. Not three times more, not four or five times more, but many thousands of times more. And, of course, proportionally the number of injuries caused is likewise huge in comparison.

Cycling harms so few people, in fact, that if you join a cycling club or campaign group you'll probably get insurance as a freebie. If you've got personal liability as part of your home insurance then that may well cover you too (all such policies I've inquired about have done so). Insurance for cyclists is so ridiculously low risk that it is effectively free. The case for compulsion for insuring low-risk groups is very weak indeed - tragedies happen but they're absurdly rare. And against any (marginal) benefit from that we've got to answer what the cost is. And the cost is to those who benefit from cheap, healthy, fast, easy, quiet, clean transport. Which is, incidentally, everyone. If you don't cycle but instead drive, you benefit from everyone else who does cycle (freeing up space, not polluting, and not endangering you). There is no compelling argument to dissuade cycling by demanding compulsory insurance. And never has been - rather like there isn't an argument for licensing.

What you've got to do Richard is step back from your identity as a motorist and ask whats best all round. The constraints put upon you due to your own choice to utilise a hazardous and polluting class of vehicle only reflect upon you, and not upon those of us who choose a less harmful, non-polluting transport option. That you resent having to do something to mitigate the (actually severe) hazard your decision imposes upon others does not mean that someone doing something colossally less hazardous should pay the same cost. 

Nobody defends dangerous cycling. But you are more likely to be hospitalised in a trouser donning accident than by a cyclist. Get a sense of perspective.

It. Is. Not. All. About. You. Richard.