Top marks to GEM Motoring Assist for its speedy retraction of the anti-cyclist article in the latest issue of the organisation’s membership-only quarterly magazine. 60,000 members were treated to a diatribe in ‘Good Motoring’ that was as inaccurate as it was distasteful.
Columnist Jane King hated on both cyclists and horse-riders for daring to take space on roads she believes are paid for by motorists. She wrote:
“Harsh weather conditions…serve to highlight exactly how little understanding most of us have of our driving space…You’d think that cyclists, being at one with the elements, would be able to deal sensibly with [passing motorists]. Unfortunately, certainly of late, this group seems to consist of real and exacting enthusiasts who behave as if every training trip is a stage of the Tour de France. And, as such they have a narrow blinkered vision of how the road should be used at that moment – which is purely for them. The motor vehicle must, and will, take at least second place. Sorry – who pays road tax, exactly?”
GEM Motoring Assist has just 68 followers on Twitter and doesn’t get an awful lot of @ messages or retweets. This morning the person responsible for the organisation’s Twitter account was on the receiving end of 40+ messages from cyclists, angry at Jane King’s article. GEM Assist’s CEO David Williams also received a number of emails. He reacted quickly:
“I can only apologise and agree with you that Jane King’s article was ill-informed and at total odds with the aims and objectives of GEM Motoring Assist.
“Regrettably due to an error on our part the article was not checked nor edited in our normal way. Again I can only apologise for this error and assure you that Road Safety for all road users remains our prime aim and we continue to promote a courteous and considerate approach for all those sharing our roads. Jane King has been advised that her contributions to Good Motoring Magazine will not be required in the future.”
If only the BBC took the same approach with Jeremy Clarkson.
iPayRoadTax.com is an ironically-named campaign supporting the road rights of cyclists. The message that cyclists have equal rights on the roads is carried on iPayRoadTax t-shirts and jerseys.