Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

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pjclinch
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby pjclinch » 3 Apr 2019, 3:38pm

pwa wrote:
pete75 wrote:Who says they want the public to stop using the term cyclists?
The title of the OP. And the title of the Guardian article.


No, it's a question, and the article concerned gives a specific context for that question.
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Tangled Metal
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby Tangled Metal » 3 Apr 2019, 4:01pm

pjclinch wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:How long before people on bikes take on the same effect as cyclist does now? Do we then find another phrase to get around the issues?


If you just do a straight swap of terms you don't get anywhere (e.g. various professionals I've heard over the years referring to "whatever we call loonies these days" or similar), but that's not really the thing. So what is the thing?

By way of example, if you've got commuters looking to get to their destination in the morning and look at how they do you might report that commuters who went by bike managed it in 2/3 the time of commuters who went by bus and 4/5 the time of commuters who went by car. Everyone here is a "commuter", so you're comparing, at least at some level, like with like.
But if you compare cyclists to drivers you've immediately set up two different groups so there's an easy opportunity for the hard of thinking to think they've not got anything in common (i.e., dehumanising).

This sort of thing really does seem to make a difference. Language, and how we use it, is important. Compare and contrast "cheated advisory vote" with "will of the people", for example, and think about why certain people are much keener to use one or the other and how it keeps people onside.

Pete.

My response to that would ask who us doing the dehumanising thing when reading the option with cyclist instead of commuter who went by bike? Are they going to be reading such an article in the first place? Are they going to see the word bike and thing cyclist anyway?

I think you might be thinking too subtly for the cyclist dehumanisers personally. They might be really clever people but that distinction is likely to still be too subtle. They'll see through the wording and see cyclist if they actually get that far as reading such an article.

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pjclinch
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby pjclinch » 3 Apr 2019, 4:09pm

Tangled Metal wrote:My response to that would ask who us doing the dehumanising thing when reading the option with cyclist instead of commuter who went by bike? Are they going to be reading such an article in the first place? Are they going to see the word bike and thing cyclist anyway?


Why does it have to be reading an article? How about a TV magazine program they're watching anyway with a 2 minute slot on commuting?

Tangled Metal wrote:I think you might be thinking too subtly for the cyclist dehumanisers personally. They might be really clever people but that distinction is likely to still be too subtle. They'll see through the wording and see cyclist if they actually get that far as reading such an article.


It won't work with all of the people all of the time, but psychologists seem to think it works with some of the people some of the time. And as a further example, I have a friend who finds that being called a person with autism makes their life a better place than being called autistic. Doesn't seem it would, but they think it does.

Pete.
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pwa
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby pwa » 3 Apr 2019, 5:53pm

pjclinch wrote:
pwa wrote:
pete75 wrote:Who says they want the public to stop using the term cyclists?
The title of the OP. And the title of the Guardian article.


No, it's a question, and the article concerned gives a specific context for that question.

I spotted that it was a question and my answer was that it isn't a question worth asking because it cannot be fulfilled. We cannot stop people using the word "cyclists". We can point out that cyclists are people and individuals, but people will still continue using that word.

reohn2
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby reohn2 » 3 Apr 2019, 7:11pm

pwa wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
pwa wrote:The title of the OP. And the title of the Guardian article.


No, it's a question, and the article concerned gives a specific context for that question.

I spotted that it was a question and my answer was that it isn't a question worth asking because it cannot be fulfilled. We cannot stop people using the word "cyclists". We can point out that cyclists are people and individuals, but people will still continue using that word.

Of course they will,ask anyone on the street to describe someone riding a bike and most if not all will say they're a cyclist,like they'd descrbe someone driving a car as a motorist.
It's not the description that's the problem,it's the attitude and actions of the (growing IMO)minority in society toward cyclists that's the problem.
A situation which is reinforced by a rightwing media determined in demonising cycling and the complete and utter failure of government both national and local to recognise cycling as a legitimate,healthy and law abiding form of exercise and transport.
Add to that a completely demoralised and undermanned police forces who can't cope with the illegality towards cyclists on daily basis.
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Campag
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby Campag » 3 Apr 2019, 7:27pm

Not just about cyclists. There seems to be growing intolerance for any 'radical' idea. Ideas like challenging the reliance on cars with one occupant as the main form of transport; investing in roads instead of buses, railways, cycle routes; making rich people and multinational companies pay tax; investing in public services to help the majority of our people.

D363
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby D363 » 3 Apr 2019, 7:35pm

pwa wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
pwa wrote:The title of the OP. And the title of the Guardian article.


No, it's a question, and the article concerned gives a specific context for that question.

I spotted that it was a question and my answer was that it isn't a question worth asking because it cannot be fulfilled. We cannot stop people using the word "cyclists". We can point out that cyclists are people and individuals, but people will still continue using that word.


But the piece doesn't ask if we should stop everyone using the word, so dismissing it on those grounds might be premature.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 3 Apr 2019, 8:28pm

I self identify as a cyclist, and if someone out there doesn't like it they have to respect my diversity.
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby pwa » 3 Apr 2019, 8:45pm

D363 wrote:
pwa wrote:
pjclinch wrote:
No, it's a question, and the article concerned gives a specific context for that question.

I spotted that it was a question and my answer was that it isn't a question worth asking because it cannot be fulfilled. We cannot stop people using the word "cyclists". We can point out that cyclists are people and individuals, but people will still continue using that word.


But the piece doesn't ask if we should stop everyone using the word, so dismissing it on those grounds might be premature.

Sure. I dislike news headlines that are designed to trigger a reaction but don't actually represent the following content very well. So the daft headline is what I reacted to.

Not recognising the humanity of other people we have fleeting interactions with is a valid topic, far bigger than the "cyclist" thing.

I was guilty of it today for a couple of seconds, and I was driving so it has some relevance. I was driving home after a hospital visit and was feeling weary. At traffic lights the car in front was very slow to pull away when it went to green and I expressed my impatience. My wife pointed out that the driver was an old man. She meant it as a rebuke to me, quite rightly, but for I suppose a couple of seconds my feelings towards the elderly were less than ideal. Pictures of half blind, unsafe decrepit drivers who pose a menace for other road users.

But almost as soon as I thought that I told myself that the old man was a human being and possibly a very good one, and I was just in need of a bit of patience. He continued to drive slowly but nothing he did for the couple of miles I was behind him seemed less than competent. The conclusion I draw is that we all jump to erroneous conclusions about people based of superficial things but if we have any sense we learn to self-correct as we go along.

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horizon
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby horizon » 3 Apr 2019, 10:21pm

Lance Dopestrong wrote:I self identify as a cyclist, and if someone out there doesn't like it they have to respect my diversity.


I'm planning on a "Proud to be a Cyclist" tee shirt.
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PS I always wondered why the YHA HQ was called Trevelyan House. :)

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Wanlock Dod
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby Wanlock Dod » 4 Apr 2019, 6:51am

Here is an example from a recent newspaper article
It reports on a variety of road accidents.
Firstly referring to people cycling “Two cyclists have been injured following collisions with cars”.
A bit further down it gets to incidents which didn’t involve bikes “There were a number of other incidents across the county during the rush-hour, including a two-vehicle crash”.
When someone on a bike is run over it is the rider who collides with a big heavy vehicle, but if it is just big heavy vehicles running into each other they have a crash. The “cyclist” colliding seems to imply they were at fault, whereas there is no blame apportioned to the drivers of the big heavy vehicles, their cars take the blame in that case.

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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby Oldjohnw » 4 Apr 2019, 7:06am

Wanlock Dod wrote:Here is an example from a recent newspaper article
It reports on a variety of road accidents.
Firstly referring to people cycling “Two cyclists have been injured following collisions with cars”.
A bit further down it gets to incidents which didn’t involve bikes “There were a number of other incidents across the county during the rush-hour, including a two-vehicle crash”.
When someone on a bike is run over it is the rider who collides with a big heavy vehicle, but if it is just big heavy vehicles running into each other they have a crash. The “cyclist” colliding seems to imply they were at fault, whereas there is no blame apportioned to the drivers of the big heavy vehicles, their cars take the blame in that case.



Cyclists, bicyclists, tricyclists -or even a man/woman on a bike - or whatever we call them have a habit of "coming out of nowhere".
John

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rfryer
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby rfryer » 4 Apr 2019, 7:12am

I see this as a counter example to the dehumanising of cyclists. By referring to the cyclists, rather than the bikes, it makes it clear that there was a human element to the incident, rather than just some bent metal.

However, it's a good example of the dehumanising of motorists, who apparently had no part to play in the car incident.

pwa
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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby pwa » 4 Apr 2019, 9:17am

Wanlock Dod wrote:Here is an example from a recent newspaper article
It reports on a variety of road accidents.
Firstly referring to people cycling “Two cyclists have been injured following collisions with cars”.
A bit further down it gets to incidents which didn’t involve bikes “There were a number of other incidents across the county during the rush-hour, including a two-vehicle crash”.
When someone on a bike is run over it is the rider who collides with a big heavy vehicle, but if it is just big heavy vehicles running into each other they have a crash. The “cyclist” colliding seems to imply they were at fault, whereas there is no blame apportioned to the drivers of the big heavy vehicles, their cars take the blame in that case.


It didn't say the cyclists "collided", which as you say would have implied they were the active ones in the incidents. It said they were involved in "collisions", which is neutral and accurate. It avoids blame. I imagine the word "crash" was avoided because it is an onomatopoeic word arguably more appropriate to two substantial objects colliding.

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Re: Should we stop using the word 'cyclists'?

Postby atoz » 6 Apr 2019, 6:54pm

landsurfer wrote:I was told i was not a proper cyclist and that people like me make life hard for all other cyclists .... because i don't wear a helmet. :roll:


Wow. I entertain a vain hope that didn't come from an actual cyclist- but there again, it wouldn't surprise me if it did. The fact that most people who are cyclists on the planet don't seem to have helmets seems to have been missed by such comments.

I shall keep riding sans helmet on my ancient steel bikes and Carradice saddlebags- with mudguards, and of course wearing lycra- even when going to the shops, just to wind such people up..