: Grant Shapps’ Stupid Cycling Comments Are Misjudged, Dangerous And Further Fuel Hatred Towards Cyclists
Well, it’s official. Twitter notices of this profile with an English flag in its username, which will likely be active for a month before being ‘cancelled’ for racism, have become official government policy.
With Michael Green (sorry, Grant Shapps) telling the Daily Mail that he would make it illegal for people to cycle without a license or insurance (before backtracking somewhat in another interview), social media and the press of straight collapsed. Suddenly the ‘U DON’T PAY RAOD TAX!!!’ The brigade knew that the government had their backs and that their illogical biases were justified. After all, why would the government bother to legislate?
Well, there’s a simple answer to that: populist governments need a target.
Brexit was intended to target ‘unelected EU bureaucrats’ and ‘junk workers who steal your job’ but as has now been enacted they cannot use them as a target. In the modern world you might be able to use dog whistles, but this isn’t the 70s. You can’t target people based on their skin color or religion (although I think some newspapers follow this line very closely). So let’s go after people on bikes.
Cyclists have just become the latest target in the endless culture war that aims to distract from the terrible state of the country. (The economy collapses) RED LIGHT JUMPERS. (Wait 40 hours for an ambulance) THEY DO NOT PAY ROAD TAX. (Fuel bills go up by around £4,000) CYCLING ON PAVEMENT! Now that the unions are the most popular since Thatcher and Jeremy Corbyn are out of power, what other group could they demonize?
It’s all very predictable, but also so misjudged and dangerous.
This government policy is in fact consistent with its general philosophy of governance: to demonize or ignore the most vulnerable and protect the most privileged.
If a cyclist and a motorist collide, the government argues that the damage to both is comparable. Think about it. If I hit a car going 20 mph, what’s going to be worse? A bag of bones and blood or a solid metal object?
It also fuels more hatred towards cyclists, focusing not on the huge benefits of cycling, but demonizing those who do. If I’m a motorist and I’ve been led to believe that cyclists are criminals or “get away with it”, does that make me more or less likely to pass them safely?
What Michael Green (sorry, Corinne Stockheath…no, sorry, Sebastian Fox…ahh, Grant Shapps) has done in one briefing is demonize cyclists, making it more dangerous for millions of us on the road. His legacy among cyclists was not bad at all. He oversaw the appointment of Chris Boardman as CEO of Active Travel England, increased funding for active travel and even changes to the rules of the road to make us safer. What he has done now is not only tarnish that, but in 24 hours he has undone all the positive things the Department of Transportation has done.
Well done, Sebastian. Sorry, Grant…