Everyone has already heard that the head of London’s Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, Steve McNamara, has compared London’s cyclists to ISIS. It’s a bit more controversial than the normal slagging that cyclists get, but let’s be honest, it’s not really all that exciting.
The comments were made in response to Boris Johnson giving the green light to the new “crossrail” cycle superhighways, which is a pretty big deal, and which the LTDA have had issues with. One London taxi driver has this to say on the matter:
“Well as a taxi driver I have always thought McNamara was a publicity seeking bafoon…. If only the LTDA had supported the Superhighway scheme whilst putting forward the case for the best possible taxi access. That was the only logical and sensible course to take. Instead, McNamara and his cronies have done nothing but engage in nothing short if a ‘hate’ campaign against cyclicts over the years in its paper ‘Taxi’.
That’s pretty much what I figured, and which is why this is my response to someone saying that cyclists are the ISIS of London – meh, whatever. Oh, and you can’t see it, but my eyes just rolled. These comments are made from a position of weakness from an attention seeking taxi advocate who has a problem with the roads having to be shared a little bit more (as an aside, wouldn’t having to go further out of your way actually benefit a taxi driver in terms of increased fairs, i.e. more income? Shouldn’t they be rubbing their hands together with dollar signs in their eyes? No! Must… rail against… cyclists!). It is such a ridiculous and desperate sounding comment that I can’t really take it seriously as something that matters. Oh, sure, maybe a handful of people who are already outrageously upset that people cycle on “their” roads – for free, mind you! – will take this comment and get some mileage out of it, but really, there’s nothing in it that has any lasting effect on people who choose to cycle, and people who have yet to. Plus, those people don’t need any excuse to spout off about cyclists – they’re going to do it anyway. It’s no different from what cyclists have always heard. More than that, it’s far less worrying than the actual, physical attack of people driving their vehicles into cyclists and pedestrians, so sorry if I don’t have time for your tiny words.
I don’t want to drag this dead old horse back into the room, but one person, who isn’t actually in a position of real influence in the grand scheme of things, comparing cyclists to ISIS, is far less influential on public opinion about cycling than the more subtle and popular celebration of cyclist-bashing that was the Family Feud episode.
So what really is the takeaway from this little ISIS episode? Is there anything we can learn from it? Sure there is, and it is this: ignore it. If people don’t react to such drivel then it has no power. Yes, he has some status in a somewhat significant motoring body in London, but there is no real power in it to affect the laws that concern a cyclists safety, which is where our concerns should lie.
These people are a dying breed, and this is just one little episode in a long line of them throwing their toys out of the pram over the inevitable shift that is happening towards using a bicycle to get from A to B. Haters gonna hate, so let’s just tune out and relegate it to the background like the white noise that it is.
Header image: source