Branding a menace

More coal is being heaped into the furnaces of the Anti-Cycling Machine. Yesterday I popped out for some lunch and noticed this nonsense outside the newsagents.

“If this doesn’t shift a few extra newspapers nothing will”

Was it such a slow week for news that this was the best that the Post could come up with? Or does this sort of sensational, whinging crap actually sell newspapers? I didn’t bother to buy a paper as it was easy to guess the content of this apparent ‘story’:

Elderly, respected members of the community scared to walk to the shops for fear of marauding gangs of youths illegally cycling on the footpaths. Pregnant mothers with innocent babies in push-chairs terrified of high-speed crashes with law-breakers on bikes intent on causing harm. There would be no mention of the greater threat posed by driving on the pavement or the regular ‘menace’ of parked cars on the footpath; offences both often overlooked by society. The article’s chief aim would be to try and further alienate people who choose to ride a bike.

But then I started thinking – the only cyclist I had ever actually seen riding on the pavement was the local paperboy. Surely it would be counterintuitive for a newspaper to vilify their own supply chain. So I thought about it some more – maybe my little, paranoid cycling brain had misinterpreted the headline and the story was actually about an heroic crew of vigilantes who go by the name of ‘The Pavement Cyclists’ and serve up punishment to any local law-breakers. This week they caught a menacing journalist guilty of unsubstantiated hate-crimes and branded the word ‘Liar’ on his forehead. If only.

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