It's not easy being Matt Seaton
9.05.07 by Buffalo Bill
Matt Seaton gets a lot of stick from MT. I once called him the Jeremy Clarkson of cycling. It’s partly the tall poppy thing – Matt has achieved prominence amongst cycling writers, through his excellent book The Escape Artist, and his Two Wheels column. It’s partly because although his column does cover all things cycling, he hasn’t always focussed enough attention (in my view) on the danger from HGVs (lorries) to cyclists.
I also disagree profoundly with him on the red light red herring. He subscribes to the ‘to get respect, we must show respect’ school of thought, along with the Bromptonocrats at the London Cycling Campaign. My own view is that as the law fails to protect cyclists, law-abiding or not, from death and serious injury, our only duty is to our own safety and that of the road-users around us. I think Matt and ‘stop at red’ crew are getting left behind. I once heard Christian Wolmar, a very respected transport commentator, speak against red light jumping by cyclists, but even Mr Wolmar has a had a change of heart, and calls for debate on the issue in a post this week in his online column.
But Matt gets more right than he does wrong. His latest column talks of the futility of getting involved in confrontations with drivers, something that is exercising MT forum correspondents at the moment.
Being one of the leading writers on cycling in the UK has its draw-backs, though. Part of the column is ‘Bike Doctor’. This is the Guardian’s version of Moving Target’s own advice columnist Aunty Nasty. But Matt has to be Uncle Nice. This week’s question is from someone whose saddle is getting wet whilst on a rack on his car, and wants to know what to do. Of course the obvious answer is to stop driving the f&cking car, and start riding the bike, you utter muppet. Unfortunately for Matt, he can’t say that. My deepest sympathies.