A stream on the social networking site Twitter is urging Britain’s drivers to “Drive More. Drive faster,” claims that “cycling is for poor people” and calls for farmers’ fields to be paved over to turn them into car parks and thereby solve the country’s parking problems.
In case you hadn’t guessed, the stream, which belongs to the Association of British Nutters, is a spoof, but its message is a serious one, highlighting the often worrying attitudes and thoughts of some UK motorists with whom the rest of us have to share space on the road.
The target of the satire is the Association of British Drivers, founded in 1992 and which claims to be “Britain's foremost campaigning group for drivers.”
The organisation’s views certainly appear far less tolerant of non-drivers than those of road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists, which as we reported earlier today has launched a campaign advising cyclists to “claim their lane” when approaching junctions or riding past parked cars.
Indeed, a few minutes spent on the Association of British Drivers’ website is enough to make you hope that its views aren’t representative of the majority of drivers. Speed limits are viewed as a hindrance to motorists, speed cameras are purely a revenue raising exercise, and climate change is a myth – as one press release has it, “Buy a 4x4, Not Global Warming Alarmism.”
The Association of British Nutters, launched by Carlton Reid who is also the brains behind the high-profile iPayRoadTax initiative, builds on these themes in its manifesto:
“Speed doesn't kill, says ABN
The Association of British Nutters has today launched on to the Twitterverse and is using new traffic sign style symbols to ram home the point that speed limits are for poor drivers; good drivers don't need 'artificial' accelerator-pedal restrictions.
The new roundels - "No stupid limits!" and "20 is too slow" - counteract the claims from the Nanny State that driving fast is dangerous.
"We in the ABN say that speeding actually saves lives," said Paul Eddington-Smythe, president of the Association of British Nutters.
"Gordon Brown and his Labour lackeys kow-tow to the climate alarmists at the scientifically discredited IPCC and all to save a little bit of CO2 which everybody now knows is not a greenhouse gas, it's what powers fizzy drinks."
Eddington-Smythe added: "Vote Tory."”
Reid told road.cc that although he set up the Twitter feed as a satire, a strapline he subsequently saw on a comment to the Autocar website forum made by a user going by the name of IamTheStig, which stated “It's not how fast you drive, it's how you drive fast," gave pause for thought.
“This is a crazy view but shared by many,” he explained. “The Association of British Drivers is a climate change denying organisation and to the right of Genghis Khan,” he added. “I thought I'd set up a Twitter account to say the things they're thinking, such as nudging horses off the road with bull-bars and yelling at cyclists to get off the roads paid for by motorists.”
However, Reid, who regularly tweets about issues of concern to cyclists to his 3,000-plus followers on the social networking site is also seeing the lighter side of his latest Twitter feed, saying: “It's fun to sound off like a militant motorist.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.