Introducing a new law for the Internet
Hembrow's Law: whoever cites Franklin in a debate about cycling loses.
This week the losers citing Franklin are @nicewaycode trying to defend their bus ad:
Cyclecraft author John Franklin is strongly in favour of overtakes on the right unless the nearside lane is free of traffic in a multiple lane situation.
The correct riposte to anyone who cites Franklin is: so fucking what?
Franklin criticises dedicated cycling infrastructure and claims that having it makes the Dutch lazy. Yet the fact they have that infrastructure means that they can get to and from their destinations alive, irrespective of age or skill. By denouncing infrastructure and advocating taking the lane, Franklin has got the UK into a situation where about one cyclist a week is dying, yet all the Scottish government is prepared to is divert some of the tiny amount of money dedicated to cycling into an advertising campaign that says, essentially, "do not use what shit pieces of paint we've put in so as to claim that we are cycling friendly -as that will only kill you"
(photo: Nicewaycode GB)
They have a point: the red-paint routes are shit. The showcase South Causeway cycle route is shit. What is proposed in Leith Walk is an even bigger pile of poo as they are actually spending money on road redesign there -but still producing something shit where there is space for it.
The nicewaycode people are just victim-blaming cyclists for even imagining that the shitness provided across Scotland for them is safe to use.
That "don't go up the left" advert is reflecting what campaigners like pedal on parliament are saying: what we've been given today is shite. The other sign, "maybe", means "maybe if you are fit and brave you could cycle in the traffic"
Which summarises the problem of cycling in Scotland. Except the niceway code fuckwits are just repeating a fact to cyclists, cyclist who, unless this is the first 15 minutes of a bike ride in Britain they will know: cyclists are not welcome.
These bus signs are the cycling equivalent of the Home Office "immigrants go home" racist vans. Here they are instead sticking buses in the bus lanes that cyclists are forced to use as they are the least unsafe par of a road, with a sign on the buses saying "cyclists: fuck off to the Netherlands".
Why are they doing this? Because the MSP with responsibility for cycling doesn't seem able or willing to make cycling a safe transport option in the country, and he lives in the imaginary Franklin Land where he, Franklin and the nicewaycode team can pretend that cyclists will live if they take the centre of a lane, don't run lights, and instead pretend that they are a horse.
Keith Brown, MSP has passed the poisoned chalice to the niceway code agency, with a brief "stop the cyclists running red lights and maybe wankers with a history of killing cyclists won't kill another one then get a light slap on the wrist as a penalty"
Those naive fools took the bait -and so are getting vilified and ridiculed for producing what will go down in history as the "what not to do" example for any road safety campaign; an example whose YouTube videos will be watched and laughed at by media studies students in future courses on the effective use of social media.
Here is the message of the cycling front to the niceway code: stop it before you make things even worse.
Go back to the minister and say "we are spending cycling money telling cyclists to not use the shit you build for them". Say "cyclists ride on pavements as you have provided nowhere else safe for them -and an advert isn't going to change that".
Finally, say "stopping now will save cycle fund money which can actually be used to make cycling in Scotland safer for pedestrians."
Because if you don't: you will just dig a deeper hole for yourself and your paymasters. The more bollocks you put out, the more of a reaction you will get from the cycling campaigners. Eventually those organisations naive enough to sign up: CTC, Sustrans, will drop put -and the publicity from that will mean Keith's spin doctor will be on the phone to you swearing like Malcom Tucker, blaming you for the press disaster.
Stop now and tell the politicians that Franklin's approach is exactly what left Scotland in the condition it is in: a nation where most sit in traffic jams on their way to coronary heat disease sounding their horn whenever one of the few cyclist does what Franklin says and gets in their fucking way.