There has been a series of articles in our local paper over the past few days about a “war” that is going on between cars and bikes in the region. You can read them here and here and here and here. They provoked a lot of online debate, more than is usual for this publication. Unfortunately, a lot of the debate is anti-cyclists and the online poll conducted at the same time also indicated that most respondents thought that cyclists were to blame for this supposed “war”.
However, it is impossible to know how much of the debate was vetted by the paper with its comments moderation. My comments were published but another local blogger’s comment was not and this may have been the case for many comments made on the articles. It is also impossible at this stage to know whether the publication of these articles and the ensuing comments will ultimately be damaging for cyclists or if it will help our cause to get better cycling infrastructure. I noticed that many of the anti-cycling commenters called for better infrastructure too, if only to get the pesky cyclists out of their way on the roads, or in the context of telling them to get back into the bike lane, which often does not exist around here.
The really worrisome part of the online discussion for me is that some of the commenters are just commenters – they comment on anything and everything online and do not necessarily have an informed view on those matters they are vociferously commenting about, and the more informed comments can be lost in the sea of those who just want to enter into any debate.