Category Archives: HGVs

Hate Media Inc.’s 45-point Style Guide for writing nasty pieces about cyclists

Got a quick column to write about evil cyclists? Need some pointers for a radio script poking fun at those misguided people who ride bicycles when they ought to drive cars? We’ve got your back here at Hate Media Inc.* In our definitive, 45-point Style Guide we show you the correct and proper way to blame cyclists for everything, including air pollution, traffic congestion and wasteful spending on boondoggle cycleways.

As an outgroup – “them,” not “us” – cyclists are fair game and they are easily triggered (which is good for your web traffic). But be aware that cyclists have no sense of humour, see #13, especially when you joke about killing them.

In your columns and scripts it is critical to mention that ALL cyclists are guilty of the transgressions listed below. When writing about motorists it is acceptable to write some drivers.


1. ALL cyclists run red lights.

Some motorists may also be guilty of such rare transgressions but they are rogue and unrepresentative.


2. Cyclists always ride on the pavement.

Cyclists should get off roads designed for motorists and ride on the pavement instead.


3. Cyclists that ride in cities at 20mph are clearly riding too fast for the conditions and will almost certainly kill pedestrians.

It’s crazy talk to expect motorists to travel as cripplingly slow as 20mph.


4. Cyclists ride two abreast, blocking the road.

Don’t mention the fact that motorists, even when driving solo, ride two abreast all of the time.


5. Cyclists no longer tinkle little bells to warn pedestrians.

Cyclists expect pedestrians to jump out of the way when they rudely ring their stupid bells.


6. Cyclists are paupers that cannot afford cars.

Cyclists are wealthy elites that own expensive carbon bikes which get in the way of poor people in cars just trying to earn a crust.

7. Not enough cyclists wear helmets.

Cyclists wear mushrooms on their heads, haha!


8. Cyclists don’t ride with lights.

Cyclists dazzle motorists with their flashing lights.


9. Cyclists who ride with earbuds deserve it when they get run over and killed.

Motorists should be able to listen to loud music in their cars if they want to. It is not as though it is a distraction.


10. Cyclists are smug treehuggers.

Cyclists emit CO2, endangering the planet.


11. Cyclists cause pollution because of all the motorists stuck behind them forced to drive slowly.

Ergo, no cyclists, no pollution.


12. Cycling is something you grow out of, it’s only for children not adults.

Children should stick to parks and should not be allowed to cycle on roads.


13. Too few cyclists are killed.

Jeez, cyclists can’t take a joke.


14. Cycling is leisure.

A motorist driving to the gym (to ride on a stationary bike) is a legitimate road user.


15. Spending half a million on a cycleway is a subsidy too far, an incredible waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned cash.

Spending billions on new roads for more motoring is an investment.


16. Society should pay for roads for motorists.

Cyclists should pay for cycleways.

17. Cyclists use the roads as a gym; they should ride on a velodrome instead.

Motorists have places to get to, you know.


18. A cyclist going near a motorist’s sacrosanct car is a “jerk.”

Motorists should not give cyclists lots of space when overtaking them because that would waste, what, two seconds?


19. Cyclists should wear yellow hi-viz jackets at all times for their own safety.

Motorists can choose whatever colour car they like: stealth grey is currently the most popular. Car? What car?


20. Cycleways are an incredible waste of space.

Motorists should be provided with masses of free parking.


21. Roads are dangerous so taking children to school by bicycle is criminally irresponsible.

It’s perfectly acceptable for motorists to rush their children to school in oversized SUVs and then to park right next to school gates. Kids not in cars are fair game.


22. Dockless bikes and scooters clutter the streets.

Cars parked everywhere is totes okay.


23. Cyclists don’t have to cycle, it’s a hairshirty, eco-loopy personal choice.

I HAVE to drive everywhere.


24. Cycleways take up too much road space.

Roads should be widened for motorists, and especially today’s wider cars.

25. Cycle parking corrals are a waste of valuable space and, if they are to exist at all, should be hidden away.

A parking spot right outside the cafe/my house/local shop is a God-given right.


26. Cyclists exhibit devious entitlement by demanding safety on the roads.

Motorists never exhibit any form of entitlement ever.


27. Cycling on the sidewalk is a heinous crime.

It’s necessary for motorists to half-wheel sidewalks, where else is there to park?


28. Cyclists should always use the cycleways provided for them at great expense, no matter how badly surfaced or stupidly routed the cycleway might be.

Motorists should have access to every road everywhere, and these roads should be butter smooth.


29. Cyclists should be happy with cycleways that don’t go direct to destinations because they are riding for recreation not transport.

Motorists should be provided with the most direct routes possible because motoring is transport.


30. Cyclists dress funny, they are all Lycra Louts.

Motorists are normal members of society and don’t wear silly clothes.


31. Plans for a short stretch of cycleway should be put out to public consultation and should be blocked if it requires the loss of any car parking spaces whatsoever.

Hugely expensive road projects will cure congestion so should always be nodded through.


32. It’s “accident.”

Never “crash.”


33. Remember, it’s “the cyclist collided with” not “the cyclist was hit by” a car.


34. Driverless cars roam the streets, so it’s “Four injured as car smashes into house” not “Four injured as motorist crashes car into house.”

On the other hand, always mention the mode of transport when it involves a miscreant who happens to have been riding a bicycle. So, it’s “Cyclist strangled cat,” but never “Motorist strangled cat.”


35. Cyclists dangerously weave in and out of traffic.

It’s okay for motorists to switch lanes if there’s a gap in traffic.

36. Cyclists should not ride up the inside of trucks, putting themselves in danger.

It’s okay for truck drivers to overtake cyclists, putting these cyclists on the inside.


37. Cycleways can start and end in the middle of nowhere.

Roads for motorists should be hyper-connected.


38. Cyclists who ride fast are scofflaws.

Motorists may break the speed limit from time to time, but these are arbitrary war-on-the-motorist rules and, anyway, we are just trying to get somewhere in a reasonable length of time, the police should be out there catching real criminals.


39. Cyclists who kill pedestrians deserve jail-time.

Motorists who kill pedestrians didn’t mean to so shouldn’t even be charged, never mind jailed.


40. Any bicyclist in front of a motorist is “in the way” and has to be overtaken swiftly and aggressively.

Any car in front of a motorist is just how it is and it’s fine to wait patiently behind because it’s not like you’re going to get anywhere any faster.


41. Electric cars should be subsidised.

Electric bikes are a luxury, middle class items and should never be subsidised.


42. A motorist’s time is more important than a cyclist’s life.


43. Roads were not built for bicyclists.


44. Cyclists are very angry people, always shaking their fists.

Why do cyclists get so defensive about being nudged from behind by my bumper, cut up on corners or nearly being sideswiped when I shot out of that junction without looking for anything other than other motor vehicles? It’s a total mystery.


45. Cycling is weird. Driving is normal.


* Naturally, Hate Media Inc. doesn’t exist, it’s a fictional representation of those mainstream media outlets that allow columnists and shock jocks to write or say things about cyclists that would never be said about other groups in society. This post was inspired by an earlier “Bingo card” and a Twitter thread.

Walk on a road? You’re a jaywalker and deserve to die

George and Vera Maskell were killed in 2014 when they were struck by a 7.5-tonne recycling-truck driven by Darren Sanders. The elderly couple were walking across a service road in Sunbury when they were struck. This road has a 5mph speed limit and has a give-way triangle at the end of it. 44-year-old Sanders, who is blind in one eye, was driving at up to 12mph and failed to stop at the give-way sign. Newspaper reports say that George, 81, and Vera, 80, froze as the truck was driven into them.


Sanders was prosecuted for dangerous driving, and acquitted by a jury. Last week the judge gave him a suspended sentence for “careless driving”, and banned him from driving for 18-months. So far so normal – such cases are all too common, with killer-motorists routinely walking free from court, often because of the there-but-for-the-grace-of-God-go-I reluctance of judges and juries to punish fellow motorists for so-called “accidents”.

What makes this particular case unusual is the public intervention of the 44-year-old driver, and his 23-year-old daughter. Both have recently contributed to the comments section of a news report of the trial. If these are genuine comments, and there’s no way to prove this, they shine a sickening spotlight on how some motorists believe they have greater rights than other road-users. Roads, these drivers feel, belong to motorists; pedestrians – and cyclists – shouldn’t be on them, and when they get hit they share the blame with any motorists who hit them. It also highlights why the media and judges are deeply wrong to call such collisions “accidents”.

“EKSanders”, posting on the Standard website saying she’s the daughter of Darren Sanders, wrote this about Mr and Mrs Maskell being killed by her father:

“Accidents happen. It’s why they’re called accidents.”

She added:

“If they had used the path that was created for pedestrians rather than jaywalking then this wouldn’t have happened. My dad and the couple were both in the wrong.”

This is amazing, frightening and gut-wrenching. Were the fatal injuries inflicted on Mr and Mrs Maskell to have been done with a blunt instrument it’s unlikely the killer’s daughter would feel able to defend her father on an online forum. Furthermore, were the couple to have been bludgeoned to death on this service road with a club wielded “accidentally” it’s unlikely the punishment would have been so light.

Mr and Mrs Maskell were crossing a service road, pulling a shopping trolley, after shopping in a Tesco store. They were heading for their own car, left in a multi-storey car-park.

Rule 170 in the Highway Code states: “Watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way.” Few motorists (or cyclists) know this rule exists, and pedestrians have to meekly scuttle out of the way, or risk being flattened, as happened with Mr and Mrs Maskell.

Sanders – if it really is him on the Standard’s website – clearly doesn’t know Rule 170 of the Highway Code. He wrote:

“im not trying to say im [sic] a victim and never will, but read the highway code and then go and sit near where it happen and watch.”

I haven’t sat near the spot in question but with Google Streetview I can go there virtually. From photographs on other news reports it’s possible to work out the exact place where the elderly couple were so brutally killed. They were crossing a road, and Sanders should have stopped at the give-way sign.

Sanders did not give this elderly couple priority because he says he did not see them. If he was paying attention he would not have hit Mr and Mrs Maskell – by not paying attention he was clearly driving dangerously but courts seemingly find it hard to convict motorists of “driving dangerously” which is why prosecutors often prefer to charge killer motorists with the lesser offence of “driving carelessly”.

“dsanders” wrote on the Standard website: “i see in the paper that they didnt put i only had 2.5 seconds to see them and i wasnt speeding , you should get your facts right before judging anyone and are you saying you never done anything wrong whilst driving, i bet you have answered your phone, or pulled out without looking.”

This is not a driver who appears to be showing remorse for the result of his actions. His daughter is looking forward to the ending of his driving ban.

“After his ban is up I will feel safe in the car with him again because I know he is a careful driver. He would NEVER hurt anyone intentionally.”

Darren Sanders won’t even have to do community service as per his sentence. Why? Because his ophthalmologist said his vision would not be good enough. Good enough to drive, apparently, but not good enough to do community service.

“My dad was happy to do community service,” wrote EKSanders. “He’d take his punishment because he’s a decent man. It was his eye doctor who advised not to. She never advised him not to drive.”

At Sanders’ sentencing hearing, the Common Sergeant of London, Richard Marks QC, told him: “The real cause of this accident was not in reality speed, nor indeed your failure to observe the ‘Give Way’ sign, but the fact that you simply didn’t see them in front of you.

“Had you been looking ahead of you and paying proper attention as you should have been, then you would have seen them.

“This incident was wholly out of character and can properly be described as having been a tragic accident.”

Despite what the judge said, this was not an accident.

During his trial Sanders said that “It’s narrow and it’s a service road, as I approached I slowed down until I could see the road – when I knew nothing was coming I looked to the right then I started to accelerate.”

By his own admission Sanders was looking for other motor vehicles, not pedestrians, and was accelerating when he should not have been accelerating . According to his daughter pedestrians who walk across this road are “jaywalkers”.

George and Vera Maskell were not “jaywalkers”, they were crossing a service road where there are very few motor vehicles. To apportion any blame whatsoever for their deaths is sick.

As Peter Norton has shown in his book about the erosion of pedestrians’ rights in the early 20th century*, motorists didn’t monopolise the streets overnight, but had to fight to suppress the road rights of slower users, and this fight proved to be essential for the success of motoring. “The street,” said Norton, “was a place to walk, a place to play. In this traditional construction of the city street, motorists could never escape suspicion as dangerous intruders. While this perception prevailed, the motor age could not come to the … city.”

Pedestrians – and cyclists – can be forced aside, unthinkingly, by nurses, nuns and White Van Man alike. Motor vehicles are deemed, by many, to have priority on roads. Might, it seems, is right. On a bicycle, or when crossing a road as a pedestrian, you often don’t register on retinas. This results in SMIDSY – “sorry, mate I didn’t see you” – a phrase commonly heard by upended cyclists (and motorcyclists).

When motorists do notice cyclists and pedestrians it’s often because they are perceived to be “getting in the way.”** Motorists sometimes articulate that cyclists “slow down” what they consider to be the only legitimate road users. More normally, what slows down motorists is fellow motorists but it’s human nature to scapegoat the “other”.

A small minority of motorists believe they should inform the non-motorised what modern roads are for – the use of cars as weapons is well documented***. Far more motorists blithely accept that roads are for motor vehicles alone, which is why the family of Mr and Mrs Maskell – like millions of other bereaved families down the years – did not get justice.


*Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, Peter D. Norton, MIT Press, 2008.

** Dr. Miles Elsden, the deputy chief scientific advisor at the UK’s Department for Transport, told horrified delegates at an active travel conference in July 2013 that cyclists were guilty of a number of sins including “getting in the way.” Shifting Gears, University of the West of England, July 2nd, 2013.

***Driven to Kill: Vehicles as Weapons, J. Peter Rothem University of Alberta Press, 2008. “Violence and the car”, Helmut Holzapfel, World Transport Policy & Practice, Vol. 1 No. 1, 1995.

Los Angeles Olympic peak-hours truck ban in 1984 resulted in 60 percent reduction in traffic congestion


Cyclists and pedestrians die under the wheels of heavy goods vehicles in London but this, it seems, is often deemed to be a price worth paying for the supposed economic benefits of having a bustling, thriving city. Much the same can be said about other UK cities, and cities around the world, too. Cyclists and pedestrians don’t seem to matter. So, let’s talk congestion. A ban on truck movements during rush hours can lead to clear and obvious benefits for car drivers. (Yes, valuing the time savings of motorists rather than lives lost is callous but this how much transport planning works.)

Earlier today I wrote a piece on arguing that car drivers should support the growing number of calls for HGVs to be made safer and to be prevented from using roads at peak hours. And here’s why: reduced congestion. During the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics one of the key ways of freeing up roadspace was to restrict the movement of trucks – and it worked, there was no gridlock. If they want to sit in shorter traffic jams car drivers should join the campaign to get trucks off the road at peak times.

In 1987, the Los Angeles Times reported that the city would revisit the Olympic truck ban. In the end it didn’t – mainly because of a law requiring traffic planners to provide a comparable alternate route for any section of federally funded road that was made off limits to trucks – but it’s instructive to read the reporting from the time.

“Banning trucks from crowded Los Angeles freeways during rush hours may be an idea whose time has arrived,” reported the newspaper.

“Transportation planners say such restrictions could sharply reduce congestion on many freeways and streets. [The proposals] have as their antecedent the successful voluntary truck ban that is widely credited with helping create free-flowing traffic during the 1984 Olympics.

“During the two-week Games, trucks were lured from the freeways in peak hours by the temporary lifting of ordinances prohibiting operators from picking up and delivering goods before 7 a.m.

“Everyone recalls how marvelous it was when for two weeks the freeways and streets worked,” said Ginger Gherardi, highway manager for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, “and they want to go back to lessons learned then to solve our increasingly serious congestion.”

The traffic reduction measures brought in for the duration of the Olympics – including the truck ban during rush hours – led to a 60 percent reduction in congestion.


HT William Robison.