The Bathurst Arms is an ivy-clad pub hotel in the sleepy Cotswolds. The restaurant is to die for. If you make it that far, that is. If you’re a cyclist the landlord of the The Bathurst Arms wants to see you dead. Or at least he did, until others pointed out that writing death threats on social media, even in jest, is (a) bad for business and (b) potentially actionable. James Walker – the Emma Way of beer retailing – wrote about smashing into cyclists at 60mph in his “four by four” but has since offered his “unreserved apology.”
A social media shitstorm quickly followed his remarks. As he’s the director of the Bathurst Arms he won’t be sacking himself.
He recognises he’s been an idiot. His intention hadn’t been to “upset cyclists” so his comments that cyclists are “weak kneed individuals who hide their lack of athletic ability behind thousands of pounds of hi-tech gear” shouldn’t be held against him. And now that he recognises that roads are funded by income tax, road tax and fuel duty” (he gets this wrong even after the facts have been pointed out to him) presumably he won’t he ramming cyclists at “sixty miles an hour” because the cyclists are “riding three abreast on a surface paid for by me.”
This belief that roads belong to motorists alone – because, apparently, they pay for them – can be found all over social media, and is even captured on helmet cams. Otherwise intelligent people reveal they genuinely don’t know how roads are paid for. Some put their entitlement prejudices on public view. They see it as socially acceptable to verbally abuse fellow road users because of the mistaken belief that those road users don’t pay for roads. Motorists don’t pay for roads, all tax payers pay for roads. How many “punishment passes” – and worse – are due to this corrosive, dangerous belief that cyclists are interlopers on the motorists’ domain?
Road tax doesn’t exist. The ironically-named iPayRoadTax.com helps spread this message on cycle jerseys.