Appleyard started his piece thus:
"It may be simple idleness, but I¹ve never been the killing sort. Genocide,
murder and manslaughter have all passed me by. So far. But now I am facing
the real possibility that I am going to kill someone and they will probably
be wearing Lycra shorts.”
It will be “assisted suicide”, said Appleyard, believing that all cyclists, unprotected as they are by metal exoskeletons, have a death wish.
“The law will not see it that way. I shall lose my driving licence and probably be imprisoned. Forthe victim will be a cyclist and I, a car driver, will inevitably fail to
elicit the jury’s sympathy.”
Clearly, Appleyard is ignorant of the fact that most drivers who kill cyclists get off unbelievably lightly.
He says many people he has talked to share his belief that “demonic bio-mechanical centaurs” are getting more aggressive.
“Almost all had been shouted at by cyclists for no clear reason. ‘Oh yes, cyclists are screaming at me all the time,’ said one resigned lady,” claims Appleyeard with not a hint of a suggestion that it could possibly be the drivers at fault.
He believes the claimed bad behaviour of cyclists is down to “environmental
“Everybody knows cycling is better for the planet and, therefore, cyclists must be better people. But also there is an element of backlash. There have been countless road rage incidents committed by motorists on cyclists. Now, it seems, they are exacting revenge.”
And this is where Appleyard starts to put the other point of view. He even mentions the fact that cycling is healthy and used the British Medical Association study that demonstrated despite all the risks, it was still healthier to ride a bike than not ride one.
“This, of course, is of no consolation to the motorist plagued by the new two-wheeled
And these terrorists are likely to increase in number, warns Appleyard, once the £5 congestion charge comes into force in London and on roads that “aren’t designed to accommodate [cyclists].”
He ends on a conciliatory note:
“The only solution is for everybody to calm down. Traffic, like life, is hell
and we’e all in it together. Drivers should be considerate and cyclists
should respect my right not to kill them.”
However, the piece enraged Peter Harrison, a consultant to Madison and ATG.
“I think a reply to this scandalous affront to all cyclists should be sent from the industry to the Sunday Times.”
Last year Harrison was the victim of a road rage assault, but despite many witnesses police decided not to prosecute the motorist. For details on the case see the link below.