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Role reversal - 'shameful' Time Out columnist calls cyclists 'fascists', Standard highlights killer HGVs
4.05.07 by Buffalo Bill

The topsy-turvy coverage of London cycling continues. Yesterday (3rd May 2007) the London Standard reported in depth on the death of Emma Foa, killed by a left-turning HGV (lorry) in December last year on York Way. Her daughter is quoted: ‘if she had been a little less law-abiding and had cycled through a red light, she would probably be alive today’.

This echoes many reports that running red lights is safer than stopping. We covered the subject here.

As Jack and I said on the Bike Show special on the Standard’s ‘Battle for Safer Cycling’, this is a complete and welcome reversal of the previously anti-cyclist tone of the Standard.

And now, inspired perhaps by the maxim: my enemy’s friend is my enemy, Time Out this week carries a column called ‘Slice of Life’ which redresses the balance somewhat. In an extraordinary, ignorant, racist, unfunny and absurd attack on the ‘assault from cyclists’, whom the writer describes as ‘privileged, white, self-absorbed and arrogant… …two-wheeled fascists’, the writer only displays his utter and complete lack of knowledge of any facts related to road casualties in London. I am not going rebut line by line what the guy has written. Onionbagblogger has done a much better job. OBB has also christened him ‘King Knobber No 1‘. It’s worth reading OBB’s rant in full. As a connossieur of top-quality self-righteous rants, I award this one the full 5 stars.

A couple of things I would say in response to the offending column:

1. pedestrians have an absolute unconditional right to be on the road. No cyclist should ever knowingly put a pedestrian’s safety at risk, whatever the circumstances.

2. I went to a state school.

  1. Hi!
    i don’t know how to answer on this shit and your site will be the wrong place too…
    but: who is the fascist? it’s allowed to gas the planet, murder by cars is legal, hurricane mitch was genocide! i call that automobile fascism, climate fascism and wheather-crime!
    as ya know the revolution won’t be motorized.
    watch that little hitler on carssucks.org
    is there any possibility to send it this to that two-minute- fucker?
    may be he gets a heart attack…
    ride safe and have spasz in dublin

    — fuffich    4 May 2007, 22:43    #
  2. Actually, he was speaking for pedestrians, not cars. But never mind.

    — Bill    5 May 2007, 16:47    #
  3. Here is the text of a letter I sent to Time Out.

    In likening bicycling with fascism, Michael Hodges (Slice of Life, TO 1915) neglects the long history of cycling in progressive politics. The bicycle played an important role in the birth of feminism in the late Victorian era and in the twentieth century, cycling socialism and anti-fascism were closely linked, as embodied in the National Clarion Cycling Club. The bicycle made possible the daring acts of the French resistance and the Viet Cong used bicycles to move arms and supplies along the Ho Chi Minh trail. José Antonio Viera Gallo a member of Salvador Allende’s government in Chile, said that “Socialism can only arrive by bicycle”.

    The embodiment of affordable mobility, it is hard to conceive of a more egalitarian invention. Cycling has been popular amongst revolutionaries, writer, artists and dreamers from Alfred Jarry to Jeremy Deller. As H.G. Wells said, “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of mankind”.

    Hodges article was very silly, taking a contrarian view far beyond the point of absurdity.

    Jack Thurston
    The Bike Show
    Resonance 104.4fm
    Mondays 6.30-7pm
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    ‘Very on the ball unlike some of those personality-crisis tossers at the BBC’
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    -Southwark Cyclists

    ‘Less a radio station than a living art installation’ – Harpers & Queen

    ‘I wouldn’t have dreamt of cycling along Oxford street butt-naked if it hadn’t been for a feature on your show. – Kieron Yates, London

    ‘The best radio station in London’ – The Guardian

    ‘I plan to listen to another episode tonight as I wash the dishes.’ – Jonathan Winston, Bikescape, San Francisco, California

    Jack    7 May 2007, 14:46    #
  4. It’s pointless getting upset by Michael Hodges. That’s what he wants you to do. His column is written every week with the express intent of pissing people off, which he acheives through a combination of ignorance and obnoxiousness. That Time Out feel fit to keep him on as a columnist is more questionable – this latest article is perhaps the lowest he’s sunk, and in a time when cyclists actually looks like they might be getting some protection from the sort of ignorant opinions that Hodges spouts, TO has got it totally wrong in attempting to justify this viewpoint.

    — Kristian    9 May 2007, 10:45    #
  5. Agreed. As some other blogger said: ‘who the f*** still reads Time Out anyway?’

    — Bill    10 May 2007, 07:34    #
  6. I have been boycotting Timeout for 27 years and 4 months. I shall continue to do so.

    — Tommy    17 April 2008, 20:20    #
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