New motorists' organisation claims "cycling is for poor people"

Twitter feed may be a spoof, but it raises serious issues regarding views of some drivers

by Simon_MacMichael   March 18, 2010  

ABN logo short.jpg

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 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.”

13 user comments

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Clearly a spoof...although some drivers do shout at me to "get a job so you can buy a car you *****"

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1081 posts]
18th March 2010 - 14:08


Damn that Carlton - always causing trouble for us every day folk.

jobysp's picture

posted by jobysp [145 posts]
18th March 2010 - 14:46


Someone probably takes it seriously.


posted by OldRidgeback [2535 posts]
18th March 2010 - 15:20


Just seen that the Association of British Drivers have direct messaged Carlton on Twitter to tell him he's "a dickhead". So someone's taking it seriously

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
18th March 2010 - 15:23


And, in another posting to another feed, they said they'd get their solicitors on to me.

I emailed them my address and, politely, asked them to bring it on.

Their 'no speed limits' ethic is awful and ripe to poke fun at. Trouble is, they really, really mean it.

@carltonreid's picture

posted by @carltonreid [7 posts]
18th March 2010 - 18:00


I have the impression that, during past decades, the Labour Party has been more pro-car and anti-bicycle than the Tories. Car ownership was associated with prosperity and social advancement.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1425 posts]
18th March 2010 - 18:08


cat1commuter wrote:
I have the impression that, during past decades, the Labour Party has been more pro-car and anti-bicycle than the Tories. Car ownership was associated with prosperity and social advancement.

I have a different impression.

Clearly the current government haven't really done very much to promote cycling and have only very feebly done something about car use, but compare the record of the Tories in the 80s and 90s against the current Government's record since 1997:

In the 18 years from 1980 to 1997 cycle use declined by 80%, around 4.5% a year. Motor vehicle use on the other hand rose by 64%, 3.5% a year.

In the 11 years from 1997 to 2008 under Labour cycle use grew by 1.5% a year (16% in total) while motor vehicle use grew by 13% - 1.2% a year.

These differences may be subtle, but they do amount to an achievement - we're talking about millions, even billions of vehicle kilometres.

All this stuff can be found here:

posted by pickles [28 posts]
19th March 2010 - 11:45


Yes but can anyone explain to me the physics about sticking arbitrary numbers on a pole how just going above it causes anything? I can see how driving too fast, even below limits, and lets face it that's where we are most of the time, causes accidents, but not just going above a number.

Also one of our problems is that if drivers stopped doing it, the economy would collapse overnight but if we packed in cycling hardly anyone would care or notice it except us?

How do we make ourselves more important to the country than drivers? That is the big snag.


Road safety 'experts' are often folk who's CV doesn't cut the mustard.

posted by Sedgepeat [90 posts]
19th March 2010 - 11:55


I used to commute into London on my bike. Somebody hit me on the Elephant an Castle Roundabout. I didn't even feel myself coming off. God on the deck in the middle of that lot. Instinct got me up on my feet sharp. Even if both legs had been broken I would still have got up quick I think. He was very nice the driver. Took me and my bike all the way home.

But what I can't fathom, how come this government seems to be very choosy about Elfnsafety one minute but it's all right for human flesh to mingle with fast moving heavy machinery for us? Something don't stack up for me! It seems they wan't to encourage dangerous things when it suits them.!!

Road safety 'experts' are often folk who's CV doesn't cut the mustard.

posted by Sedgepeat [90 posts]
19th March 2010 - 12:19


Have just bought a new bike, new lights, new luggage, new gloves. Credit card bill has arrived and I am now - definitely - a poor person. Crying


posted by Ridire [45 posts]
20th March 2010 - 17:38


It's not clearly a spoof!

But it was clearly idiotic, but that in itself doesn't prove it's a fake.
Poe's law applies.

There seem to be so many idiots out there willing believe anything, no matter how ridiculous. And AFAICT a lot of them seem to read newspapers. Most of the so-called newspapers stopped printing news a long time ago. They found bogus stories; quote-mining; misquoting and quote invention far more likely to stir-up controversey. And controversey sells!
News? Pah! News is for losers.

There are a few good newspapers out there, but they're few and far between.

The first action of anyone reading an article in a newspaper, should be to treat it with extreme scepticism.

Try and google any quotes and try to find a reliable source. It's not unusual to find the actual truth lies 180 degrees from what was claimed in the article.

posted by Recumbenteer [155 posts]
20th March 2010 - 19:33


We have brilliant cycleways here. Miles of them and all flat too. Fact is that, even though much quieter than London, I still know it is risky for any cylist. Pedestrians don't walk along in the roads for that reason. I don't really know the answer apart from personal choice that is. I mean we don't allow kids loose among traffic for that reason either. Thinking

Road safety 'experts' are often folk who's CV doesn't cut the mustard.

posted by Sedgepeat [90 posts]
21st March 2010 - 14:48


Who do I sue?

Geoff Nutter Confused

posted by Dunlin [11 posts]
21st March 2010 - 22:23