The Invisible Visible Man makes a post today on a subject I mentioned a while ago, namely Twitter users who choose to make open threats to cyclists. I wondered some time ago whether a court might look upon such threats as premeditation, fortunately we’ve not actually found out yet.
Since then we have had the @cyclehatred account keeping the world updated about the idiots who like to make threats, we also had a young woman hit a cyclist and then laugh about it on Twitter. I don’t subscribe to the cyclehatred account as I find it too depressing and enraging but I’m well aware of the sort of guff that keyboard warriors like to say on Twitter
Gnomicide had similar concerns last year when he identified the Type 1 cyclist hater, I don’t know if it says more about the demographic of twitter but a good proportion of the cyclist hating tweets come from young people and an awful lot of them are from women.
Having considered all this over the last months I have to accept the wisdom of Yoda
Fear leads to anger; anger leads to hate; hate leads to suffering
I think what is happening is that young, inexperienced, unconfident drivers find themselves having to deal with cyclists and they are not mentally equipped to do so. As a result of this they feel fear, worried that they may injure the cyclist or that they will embarass themselves by driving incorrectly, maybe another vehicle is behind them and they want to get past the cyclist as quickly as possible so as not to hold up the other car. However the situation develops it is due to some sort of insecurity that leads to an emotional response in the driver, due to them not being mature enough to understand the situation and enabled by a culture that makes drivers feel entitled the easiest response is for them to project blame on to the cyclist. A mature, emotionally stable, confident driver, when faced with a cyclist ahead and a queue of cars behind would deal with the situation calmly, considerately and safely and once it had passed it would be forgotten and they would move on to dealing with the next situation.
Consequently, the enormous mature adult population of Twitter seem much less likely to make rash, abusive, violent comments regarding cyclists, and when they do one can assume they probably still haven’t matured in to a confident driver.
As a final warning to all those about to put finger to keypad, remember this; you have the right to free speech, and society has the right to deem that your comments constituted premeditation. Above all this here is a maxim for the era of instant communication
Thou shalt never write down anything you wouldn’t want read out in court or printed on the front page of the Daily Mail