Cyclingballs #2: Tidings of worry and fear

‘Give the gift of LCC membership and help protect your loved ones who cycle’.

You may have noticed in recent instalments of this blog that I have been complaining that cycle campaigners and the media are both guilty of pandering to people’s fears about cycling.  

I suppose it is understandable, if not justifiable, when it comes to the media, since they have to attract readers, listeners and viewers, and the public is voyeuristic.

However, when it comes to cycle campaigners, fear-mongering defies reason.

Yesterday, an email plopped into my inbox advising me to ‘Give the gift of LCC membership and help protect your loved ones who cycle’.

Clearly, this is designed to stir up deep anxiety.

For a start, the insinuation is that cyclists are riding around 'unprotected'. Leaving aside the notion that the LCC (London Cycling Campaign) is an adequate prophylactic, the biggest cycle campaign group in the capital is, in effect, declaring that the average person who rides a bike requires protection. What an inspiring rallying cry! What a ringing endorsement of the healthy, uplifting and fun activity we cyclists love!

As for those we are loved by, I’m sure we all know plenty of Londoners, e.g. my mum, who spend their waking hours needlessly worrying about us out on our bikes. In a new twist on the Christmas spirit, the LCC is basically asking for money from these worried people – an approach not entirely dissimilar to an insurance salesman preying on anxious pensioners. Or, indeed, to the extent that the LCC stokes people’s fears first and then promises to soothe them afterwards, it is an approach that reminds me of gangsters and their extortion rackets.  

As the great Bill Hicks used to say – Did I miss a meeting? When did we all become so crass?


Crass is the perfect word for

Crass is the perfect word for such a grotesque piece of marketing. It used to be the case that people (children and teenagers especially) would count down the days to getting a new bike for Christmas. How foolhardy we all have been! Still, perhaps the LCC are planning to use the funds generated from their festive-spirited campaign to improve their glass lorry designs... if only they could fly, the roads would certainly be freer for cycle campaigners to lie down on.

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