Occupational thoughts

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Posts Tagged ‘top gear

the Top-Gear generation

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I recently complained about motorists on a cycle ride I had. In 3 days, I cycled through the most complicated and car-oriented road networks Oxford has to offer. My patience snapped when we were cycling up a hill in the rain and a Land Rover came speeding round the corner, he ignored us and didn’t even slow down. Peter had to hold his hand out to stop it from hitting me (and the car behind us). The fat git at the wheel sits in the dry, powering himself along with yesterday’s barrels of petrol. Meanwhile, he shuns me, the cyclist who is exposed to the elements, protected only by a thin fluorescent jacket, exhausted from my own efforts to overcome the hill. The reason I titled this article the ‘top-gear’ generation is to demonstrate the brand of thinking which is unfortunately prevalent among (some of) my peers. Motorists are apparently better than cyclists. This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. However you look at it. Bicycles are smaller, more maneuverable, eco-friendly. Cars are dangerous. Cars contribute to global warming.

I’ll explain the greater ideologie of Motorists. Partly because it follows closely the one advocated by Top-Gear’s führer Jeremy Clarkson: Women are objects, Smoking is good for you, Socialists are just lazy, a big car is an indication of your personal wealth, Immigrants and foreigners are bad, celebrities are idols, global warming is a myth, cyclists are whiny complaining dipshits.

I’m making a huge generalisation there. However, with an estimated 350 million viewers worldwide, Top Gear has reached an audience. People who actually agree with their propaganda. People who, I’m guessing rarely use their bike. Or, when they do, they see it as a novelty reserved for forest trails (to my great surprise I discovered this in Quebec City). At risk of sounding like Mark Steel and proposing an extremist solution, I come to my most controversial viewpoints:

  • Cars should be banned.
  • If a car hits a cyclist. In any situation. It is always the car’s fault.
  • In any road-traffic situation between a car and a bike, the cyclist must always have right-of way.

Why? Well firstly because if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right. Making radical changes and being revolutionary achieves much more than moderate reform. Moderate reform and ambiguous manifestos will get the politicians elected. But if they took a strong stance on something unnecessarily controversial, such as cyclist’s rights on the road then they divide their voters into two camps, they don’t know which camp is bigger so them make weak attempts to please everyone. Despite the complete fail of the UK’s car industry, it still has lobbying power because there are so few actual cyclists in government. And if there were, their voices would be soon shouted down by the overweight sweaty businessmen in their suits.

landrover

However, to stray from politick for a while and return to the issue at hand. Thousands of cyclists are killed by cars every year and yet no car has ever been run over by a cyclist. Society in general has a negative attitude towards cycling, some taking the view that it’s ‘dangerous’ and that cyclists are foolish. Others, pedestrians, think likewise that cyclists are a nuisance. Although again, the situation of a pedestrian  being knocked over by a cyclist is as likely as that of a cyclist being knocked over by a pedestrian. I visited Milton Keynes and was impressed by the network of cycle paths. In any other way, the entire city was utopic and revolutionary. However, it had been designed with cars in mind. The system broke down when pedestrians tried to cross busy roads or when cyclists mingled with the motorists on the highways.

Jeremy Clarkson and his generation are wrong because cyclists are like the knights in shining armour on their dashing steeds and the motorists are the obese dragons who roar with fire and sit on mountains of gold but know that their time is soon up.

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Written by Pierre

April 11, 2009 at 09:49

Posted in life, politick

Tagged with , ,