Times are changing and some of the old guard just can’t take it. Furthermore, in this day and age of social media revolution and of instant viral communication, you better watch what you say, as well as to how.
The uproar caused by an article (see the article below) written by founder and chairman of the Addison Lee taxi company in the UK, John Griffin, in the April issue of AddLib magazine is not surprising for most individuals who live in 2012 and not in 1962. Fifty years ago, a litre of petrol cost only pennies; we never gave much thought about environmental issues; people drove without a seatbelt-one hand on the wheel-a cigarette in the other one-and a beer between their legs. This was the time of the Griffins. It was their road no matter what.
What ultimately disturbs me in Mr. Griffin’s article is not the content… It’s the tone. It has entitlement written all over it. Don’t get me wrong; I believe cyclists should be held responsible when breaking the law and should do all the proper moves in order to protect themselves such as wearing a helmet. Where Griffin’s words turn sour, or rather venomous, is in the very last sentence: “You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up”. Excuse me? “gang”? Do you mean to say that roads are controlled by you and your cronies? Aren’t you aware that roads belong to everybody…? And the term “pay up” is in reference to what exactly? Pay for roads? Guess what Mr. Griffin…? Everyone in the UK already pays taxes for that. As Kaya Burgess writes in The Times: “road tax was abolished in 1937. Car drivers pay Vehicle Excise Duty, which is linked to emissions and therefore not applicable to cyclists”. Furthermore, cycling create zero pollutants… That’s right: one big fat bike wheel my friend.
Seriously now, the popularity of biking is growing by leaps and bounds! And this, all over the world. Everywhere I go, bike shops are buzzing with activity… In Thailand, teen boys are choosing fixies over the traditional motorbikes. In Paris, the Bixi system is now completely integrated in the urban fabrik of the city. America is seeing a huge increase in bike races. In my home cities of Ottawa and Montreal, biking is no longer a trend… It’s a frenzy!
Mr. Griffin, you and your “gang” are loosing this battle… This is the time of biking.