This morning I relayed a message from freespeedlondon twitter account on my own timeline, on this blog and on a road.cc forum post. Richard Nye, editor at Sheen Gate for the Richmond Magazine wrote a truly appalling column in the September edition, but I wasn’t quite expecting to see the acerb comments and vilification of my forum post being made.
Let’s be very clear here: I’m not one to claim the man to resign, be sacked or web-lynched, and I have not. Some comments on this story have, and honestly, I disagree. But this information has to be known. To do so, and in the event that the issue gets pulled out or edited of their website, I have, like freespeed and the Richmond Cycling Campaign, saved it so it can still be accessed later on.
We’re pretty much all road users at some point: cyclists, motorists, pedestrians etc… or any combination of those. I’ll happily agree that on both sides there are a minority who don’t abide by the rules, don’t know them or simply don’t care, but by no means they are majority.
The kind of comments made by Richard Nye are just not acceptable. No matter how you want to read the context of the editorial, you cannot retract the words (exactly as they have been printed) “as a daily driver on busy roads, I tend towards the temperate view that the only good cyclist is a dead one”. In or out of context, I cannot see how his response on twitter later on can have any value, claiming to be “misunderstood”. The words are there, he has written them. I’m a daily cyclist, and I try as much as I can to abide by the rules. I’m not perfect either, but I’d like to be safe. And if you don’t even bat an eyelid at this kind of comment (even when made in the editorial of a 40000 copies publication), my guess is that your probably not in the category of road users who would like to share the road peacefully.
road.cc user tony_farelly has rightly pointed out the other distressing cycling news this week, but I also need to tell him the one he didn’t mention: The death of a 79 year old in Walton on Thames, neighbouring borough to Richmond, yesterday 5th September (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-surrey-19491400). Maybe that’s something worth spend a bit of time and bile on? I doubt anyone would joke about that.
Maybe, only maybe, the column intended to be humorous, but you’ve got to weigh your words for your audience, and this one wasn’t funny at all. In the most cycle friendly borough in London, with the best place to leisure cycle and train in the capital with Richmond Park in its centre, I think it’s fair enough to publicise it. It is after all our own right of free press too.