Thursday 20 September 2012

Cars: status symbols or tools?

Today cars are an expression of status, to say "I am more successful", "I care enough about my family to drive an SUV", "I can afford a new car every 3 years"

If cars go from status symbols to tools, the need to spend over the odds for metallic paintwork and more lights goes out the window -indeed, the need to replace it every 3-5 years goes out the window too. Status symbols you need to upgrade regularly. Tools you use until they break -and you value a tool by how long it does its job, not what it looks like.

More subtly, you don't use a tool for every task, not unless you are an incompetent tool user. You choose. Some days, walking. Some days, cycling. Other days, public transport. Some journeys, yes driving is it. You make those decisions on a case by case basis, rather than reaching for the car keys.

Once you stop viewing your car is a status symbol, you stop caring whether or not you are seen using it.

This is a great vulnerability for the Empire of the Car -the lie that a car is a visible display of status, wealth and success. It still is for a lot of people, hence fucking useless tools like the Porsche Cayenne are built -the ultimate in fucking useless- and why so many politicians, footballers and celebrities like their tinted-window range rovers.

The rest of society doesn't have to copy them. The (somewhat exaggerated) rise of the City of London MAMIL shows this -you can show wealth and fitness about a high-end bike without being stuck in traffic. The fact that these people are cycling not only helps devalue the car as status toy, it recruits more people to care about cycling conditions. Powerful people who can influence their companies and who can then influence their local councils.

In S Gloucs., it's the employees of the large local employers that have this power. If they can get their companies to start pushing the council for better cycling conditions over more bypasses, we can get a suburb you can cycle through. How to get the companies to care? Get the site managers to recognise there is no more parking space -most sites have this problem- and that adding more cycling facilities -secure parking, showers, changing rooms- and encouraging cycling is far cheaper than building multi-storey car parks. The MoD have realised this, what with their three mile "exclusion zone" -if you live less than three miles from work, you aren't going to get a parking bay on a busy day. UWE hasn't, and still lives a world where 3/4 of the site is parking space -more for staff than students. The vice-chancellor even has his own private car park for his shiny black jaguar and a couple of staff. He still mistakes a car for a status symbol, not a tool.

There's an easy way for the rest of us to destroy the value of the car as status symbol: look down on them.

Thursday 13 September 2012

Ford Social : Dad Dancing

Learning to drive has been a rite of passage, as a way to impress your teenage friends, so getting you into "a habit" that starts off with a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa and ends with you driving down the M4 for a living in a BMW M5, talking into your phone, complaining about traffic and demanding that "more motorways are good for the economy" -because your time is worth more than losers on foot, bus or bike.

It's an addiction -once you stop walking and cycling, you view it as "childhood hobbies" -something you can see from the fuckwit's letters to the local rags -and reflected in the "bicycles shouldn't be there" rants from drivers. It is also reflected in the TfL, Dft, West of England Partnership viewpoints -which is dangerous as they design the roads.

A key threat to Imperial Car is that driving goes out of fashion, that teenagers stop aspiring to drive, that young adults choose to do other things. What other things? Facebook, twitter, emails, texting. Talking to their friends instead of reading car magazines.

What will the car manufacturers do? Ford Social.

Look at this piece of turgid web site. You can get ford "badges" for your own facebook page -and notice how the bicycle is in the "play" category -shown on the roof of an SUV, not in use in a town. Indeed, Ford Social doesn't have any photograph of a car in a situation with pedestrians or cyclists. They aren't part of Ford Society.

This whole web site is "Dad Dancing" -Ford trying to be hip and cool to the youth and doing it so badly it's painful. Want an example, hit the "social networks" button on the bottom and you'll see one icon that you won't recognise. It's for Delicious. Once upon a time that was a "Web 2.0 company", though Yahoo! bought it and effectively shut it down. In 2010.

Dad-dancer Ford Social hasn't picked this up yet, and still links to it, even though that page vanished a while ago.

We are lucky that this isn't going to get new recruits to driving, any more than a Dad Dance to Joy Division is going to inspire interest by the offspring into late 1980s music. Instead it's preaching to the converted -Ford customers- to reassure them that they made the right decision -and that they should buy a new Ford, either a later model or a status upgrade.

Maybe that will work. What it -hopefully- will fail to do is get the rest of society to care, as seeing what your friends are up to on Facebook is way more interesting.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Bollocks to Number Plates

"They need number plates" is a classic piece of bike-hater bollocks, now being reprinted in articles in the Daily Mail, quoted in the London Transport Committee, etc. They also cite Geneva as a case in point, "Switzerland has licenses"

Maybe, but here's something those fuckwit fascists don't say "Geneva is surrounded on three sides by france -and as they don't have licenses, nobody gives a fuck about whether a bike is registered or not."

The little fact that major suburbs of the city -places like Annemasse a couple of km from the centre means that a large proportion of commuters don't have license plates. Which means that all attempts to enforce cycle licensing on the streets of the city would fail.

Another quirk: that license plate is forever -no need for renewals, no need for paperwork saying the bike has changed. And given Switzerland's "One registration number for any number of cars" rule, you can probably swap your plate onto another bike.

Together that means something important that the cycle-haters don't recognise: "cycle registration is meaningless". If it works in Switzerland it is because the native residents are so law-abiding they bother to pay however many swiss francs it costs -but nobody else does.

There's also something else that the fuckwit fascists don't realise that Geneva has -and which they won't be demanding: Geneva has armed police on Mountain Bikes.

Imagine how differently drivers would be if there is an off chance that the bike they saw and chose to cut up happens to belong to a policeman who could be pointing a gun at their head in twenty seconds while they wet themselves and promise to behave. Imagine how happy you'd be in a bluewash cycle path if you knew that in your group of cyclists was a policeman who could do more than just shout back at the taxi driver that swings into you sounding his horn.

Remember that the next time someone says they want to copy the swiss rules -ask for the armed cycle police as that would also improve car/bicycle relations.

Returning to the licensing issue -are they really going to propose a license for every bicycle? How big will it be? As the Swiss one is a tiny red plate that you could easily obstruct with a light or a saddle bag -and if your light is in the way, what are they going to do -have a new law "obstructing a registration plate"

How is it going to be enforced? Are the police really going to pull over every cyclist that they see without registration and say "where is your license plate?". And if so, what are they going to do when you reply in French saying "Je suis ici en vacance?". Or are they going to have some extra law saying "all bicycles brought into the country are required to also have a license" -which would mean some global licensing scheme with cross-country registration and enforcement. Even then -how would they deal with the "my license got stolen" gambit?

Returning to fuckwit commenters and columnists in the newspapers, they always say "registration would be good for cycle theft". Bollocks. How would that be implemented? An international set of strictly issued Vehicle Registration Documents for all bicycles? It couldn't be based on registration numbers, as they would be easy to steal and re-use -so it's frame numbers, which have no global numbering scheme.

What would make sense from a theft perspective is something else.

  • Every new bike issued to have an RFID tag in the frame
  • Every bike owner to have registration documents showing they own the bike with the frame.
  • EBay to require that the resale of all bicycles retailed after the roll-out date of the mandatory RFID scheme must have their RFID marked, that all purchasers should have the RFID tag of any received bike checked at their local bike shop, and that if the bike is shown to be stolen, the purchaser gets their money back, the bike gets returned. The sell would get nothing but a visit from the police.

That would work. A piece of plastic cable-tied to the back of a seat post won't. It won't help the fuckwit's goal, something to call the police about whenever they want to complain about a bicycle.

Why then, do fuckwits keep asking for registration? It's because they are fuckwits.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Congratulations on coming out as a cyclist hating wanker!


This is just to congratulate you for coming out as a cyclist hater, or as is known in the cycling community "a selfish wanker"!

Coming out as this publicly is a bold move -and one you can't go back from- so we congratulate you for your bold decision!

Some people may have suspected you were an "in the closet" selfish cyclist hating wanker before now. Cyclists may have waved their hands up and down in the international gesture of this as you drove past them too close!

They may also have videoed your bad driving, stuck it up on youtube -and maybe even reported it to the police. Why not enter your registration number without any spaces into google and see if this is the case? If you have been videoed, don't be offended -all it does is show the world what a wanker you are -which is something to be proud of!

Now that you've come out, what can you do?

1. Watch Top Gear and believe everything Jeremy Clarkson says! He is "the wanker's wanker" -though the fact that he gets paid so much for saying the same stuff you say must be very frustrating.

2. Join a "wanker's rights group"! The Association of British Drivers is its public name -but it is nothing but cyclist-hating wankers!

3. Complain that the government is waging a "war on the motorist"! It takes longer to drive round the UK than it did twenty years ago -back when there was only half as many cars.

4. Drive up behind bicycles and sound your horn repeatedly! If you were already doing this -and perhaps have been videoed doing this- carry on. Do remember to put your phone down when you do this, as the police may get the videos.

5. Join "wankers pride" events! These are when lots of selfish cycle hating wankers get together in places where there are no bicycles, and hold sit down protests. These happen on the motorways near all our big cities, twice a day. Now that you have come out, spend some time on the M25, M4, M5/M6 interchange or somewhere else where you can be confident there will be no cyclists in the way.

6. Consider a career in politics! Most politicians are wankers. The UKIP is the best party for hating cyclists -theirs was the only manifesto who came out against them.

7. Consider a career as a taxi or minicab driver! Many of these are wankers. You will be able to spend time with other wankers complaining about bicycles.

8. Write letters to your local newspaper -or even become a reporter there! Regional newspapers only get read by a small number of people, but as most of them are wankers over sixty that vote for the UKIP they'll like to read it.

9. Shout it out to the world. Don't just declare it on twitter, shout out to passers by that you are wanker!

There are lots of other things you could do now that you have come out on twitter, so be bold!

Now that you have come out there is no going back!

Talking Points

Here are some things to use as arguments against cyclists to back up your opinions!

1. Do say: they pay no road tax!
Don't say: it's a car tax and all Class A vehicles pay nothing -by the same logic Fiat 500s and Toyota Prius's shouldn't be on the road either..

2. Do say: they don't have the right to be there!
Don't say: they have a legal right, and as roads are paid for from general and council tax, they pay for them too!

3. Do say: they hold up cars and cause congestion and pollution!
Don't say: congestion and pollution are caused by fat-arsed wankers in cars

4. Do say: they need insurance!
Don't say: cars need insurance because of the damage they can cause, and 20% of London's cars are still uninsured!

5. Do say: cyclists are lawbreaking criminals!
Don't say: most drivers break the speed limit!

6. Do say: cyclists jump red lights!
Don't say: driving into the Advanced Stop Lane on a red light is technically jumping a red light -and carries the same penalty!

7. Do say: cyclists cycling two abreast hold me up!
Don't say: it's legal to cycle two abreast, and if you were to pass a single-file cyclist with safe clearance you'd need to change lanes anyway!

8. Do say: cyclists are required to get out of the way of cars -not ride in the middle of the road!
Don't say: the Department for Transport actually recommend this (legal) position to stop cars trying to squeeze you off the road!

9. Do say: cyclists must use cycle lanes!
Don't say: most cycle lanes are blocked by wankers parked in them, and those that aren't are usually shit!

10. Do say: cyclists endanger pedestrians!
Don't say: all but the odd pedestrian every few years are killed by cars and HGVs!

11. Do say: helmets should be made compulsory!
Don't say: helmets do fuck all when an HGVs driven by an blind driver on the phone turns left over them!

12. Do say: cyclists wear lycra!
Dont' say: lots people wear replica football shirts that look even dafter when they are that fucking fat and unfit.

Your arguments don't have to hold up! These are "politician" arguments, not "scientist" arguments. Talking bollocks is OK as long as you repeat your message regularly and consistently!

Otherwise -now that you've come out, carry on! Cyclists are the only group of people that you can publicly hate now that the the EU and human rights gits have made abusing people for being gay, black, brown, foreign, traveller, disabled, muslim or some other minority group! Make use of that luxury while it lasts!

Finally: avoid making threats on twitter to run cyclists over or teach them a lesson!

That looks really bad when you do decide to teach one a lesson by running them over -it makes it look like a premeditated action, so the police may actually do something about it!

Sunday 2 September 2012

Why do the Twats hate? Fuckwit or Frustrated?

Go to twitter and search for "hate cyclists" or "pay road tax" and you'll find outbursts of prejudiced hate from fuckwits who blame cyclists for being the reason they are being held up as they try and sprint from one traffic jam to the next. Why the hate?

They've spent lots of money on a car, and despite the adverts showing empty roads and open spaces, they are stuck in a narrow traffic jam waiting for the lights to change (notice how the ABD hates traffic lights?), if they are lucky they get through the lights in time for the change, if not they are stuck there again, maybe driving into the ASL for a bit of satisfaction.

While they sit there all these cyclists come up past them and get right in your way, making faces for the wanker sitting in the ASL. The lights go green and they can't sprint off, put your foot down to get up to 20mph, because these cycle-people are slowly pootling off. Of course they are angry. Of course they sound their horn at them. Of course they vent hate on twitter and at the pub as they and their fat-arsed mates whine about everything, "fucking cyclists" is up there with "global warming myth" and how much petrol costs. Or it's how the council is anti-car despite the government promising to end the "war on motorists"

Or they get a gap in the traffic and for 20 seconds they could put their foot down and go into third gear, only they can't as there's a bicycle in the way, "forcing" them to slow down.

You know what pisses all these fuckwit wankers off the most? The way, at the next set of lights, the cyclist catches up and goes past them, to repeat the same thing all over again.

There they are, spending lots of your money on some overpriced status toy, paying various taxes and lots for petrol and diesel, and there are people on bicycles who not only don't have to pay all these costs, they don't take any less time to get round a city?

How unfair is that?

Of course these people hate cyclists -they need someone to vent their anger on. Twitter? That's verbal abuse. The ones to worry about are the wankers that drive extra close to show how they dont think that you should be there; the ones that sit right on your tail sounding their horn then try and squeeze past when there isn't room.

What should we do about the twats on twitter? Call them fuckwits? Retweet their posts? Entertaining. Will it make them change their views or make them safer drivers? Who knows.

What about reporting people who say they would "run cyclists over" if they don't get out the way? Someone should try that. Racist abuse, threats to an oymplic athelete, declared intent to participate in a riot -all of them on twitter have led to convictions, as well as that poor bastard who got done for threatening to blow up an airport.

that court case is interesting as he was tried not under any terrorism act, but for "causing distress"

There's a legal article on this topic, which concludes that the initial judgement implies that under the Malicious Communications Act 1988, any 'indecent or grossly offensive' message that causes 'distress or anxiety' to the recipient can lead to prosecution

Someone should try that some time, for a sufficiently offensive message. Maybe an explicit threat to a specific individual would be the one to try, as that's gone from generic expression to a threat.

In the meantime, here's something for all the cycle-hating twitter twats:
If you have expressed an intent to run over a cyclist, then were you to actually collide with a cyclist, it may appear premeditated.
Bear that in mind