Click bait, it's called, or carcase journalism. That is, a stinking piece of writing that lies there to attract the barking jackals and howling hyenas. This piece of decaying flesh by Rod Liddle, one of the busiest of bait layers, attracts a better class of response than it deserves.
No quoting out of context. The full text:-
My best mate revealed to me that his bicycle was wrecked. I asked if he would be buying a new one. He said yes, via the government’s Cycle To Work scheme. What the hell’s wrong with Halfords, I thought silently to myself.
Apparently the government will let you pay for a bike tax and NI free, and in instalments. Did you know that? Why am I paying for my friend to have a new bike through my taxes? Why am I subsidising the process whereby a perfectly decent human being is transformed into an arrogant, self-righteous, lycra-clad sociopath with homicidal intent towards people like me, ie pedestrians? At the very least they should make those who take advantage of the scheme carry organ donor cards. We’d clear up kidney disease within a week.
I'm as lazy as Liddle so I'm not going to do that solemn cyclist thing he would find so amusing where we trot out statistics of health, wear and tear on roads, better use of transport infrastructure and so on that makes this policy worth the investment, or go on about the subsidised motorist. I'll just snatch at a few of the comments his piece attracted:-
Oedipus Rex answers in kind:-
Blingmun uses a common argument from motorists, though more overstated than normal:-
For a direct answer to Rod's question, the reason for the scheme is to wind up all those fat, arrogant, whinging drivers who see their private motoring as a sort of personal Road to Golgotha where they are martyred by VED/petrol tax/pesky cyclists and so on as they drive their company cars, dripping in sweat, listening to 'Sultans of Swing' or some such rubbish and nearly killing me whilst blabbing on their mobiles.
Cyclists also use roads without paying for them. Not only should they not be subsidised as described above, but if their number is to increase at current rates, they should be taxed in order to make way for motorists, who are the lifeblood of our economy and entire way of life.Marty560 ripostes:-
Should we tax pedestrians too? They have had an entire network of pavements provided for them at my expense. Freeloaders.
Businesses that have become national or international companies, from small ones or start-ups, in the last decade due to the cycling boom:-Phil:-
Rapha, Vulpine, Hope, Brompton, Boardman, Mekk, Genesis, Orange, On-one, Planet X, Ribble, Condor, Cube, Demon Frameworks.
Generating approximately £2.9bn for the economy - nearly enough to pay the NHS bills of obesity, in fact.
Drivers are not on the roads as a right but as a privilege. They are there through licensing. Pedestrians and cyclists are all there by right and always have been long before the institutionalization of the automobile came along.
In a nutshell, a driver can have their license taken away, but short of being put in prison or killed by a member of the anti-cyclist brigade, cyclists will always have a right to the road. For this reason alone, we have already won the battle regardless of how much noise the opposition makes.
Red Baron with another common argument that cars own the roads (from Roman times?)
The reason that this country isn't set up for mass cycling is that the infrastructure is non-existent. I am not against this infrastructure being put into place though, as long as the cyclists pay for it and stop being self-righteous by getting off our roads and our pavements and respecting the rights of the ordinary driver and pedestrian.
Don Shipp replies:-
Britain has cycling infrastructure. The old Roman roads, turnpikes, coach roads; country lanes and city streets are perfect for cyclists. None of them were ever designed to be used by anything faster than a horse so of course you motorists get frustrated with them.
And - here I'm getting annoyed enough to add my own comment - motorists do effectively own swathes of huge expensive roads called motorways, from which cyclists, horses and pedestrians are banned.
"Phil" who comments throughout makes a lot of sense. Why isn't s/he writing articles for the Spectator on cycling instead of that idle wind-up merchant, Rod Liddle?
Men, women and children were all cycling many years before the current masses of materialists all took to driving long distances to get the best paid jobs. These cyclists were using roads that lasted for decades before cars started blighting them.
Thanks to societies willingness to give into the cars, hospitals have been centralized, Tesco superstores have sprung up destroying many of the small family-run businesses in a 20 mile radius. Society is more anti-social than it has ever been before. And why? Because of the bloody motor car and the lazy people that give in to them! Yet you still label cyclists as the root of all evil just because of the idiots. These idiots proportionately exist behind the wheel of all other vehicles, but everyone chooses to ignore that.
And the inevitable Downfall parody:-
You can read the rest of the comments to get a taste of the usual cyclists vs motorists debate. Producing this has taken me over an hour - about 12 times longer than Rod Liddle took to write and publish this piece in a respected journal.