Apology follows motoring magazine's anti-cycling rant… and columnist is history
Article in 'Good Motoring' will be journalist's last for the publication
Good Motoring is the quarterly magazine for members of the Guild of Experienced Motorists (GEM) Motoring Assist – think AA and RAC but without the economies of scale – and modestly claims to offer “a superb line-up of news, features and interviews.”
Usually….at least when their subs are awake….and all the planets are perfectly aligned…and someone called Jane King isn’t contributing.
Jane doesn’t like cyclists. Or horse-riders. Or pheasants. You see people on bikes and on horses slow Jane down. And pheasants? Well, other drivers actually try to avoid running them over, which can inconvenience Jane. And that is not good. That makes Jane angry.
And when Jane is angry, she jolly well lets people know about it. In Good Motoring.
Pheasants, cyclist and horse riders have really made Jane cross just lately.
First it was those gamebirds or “space invaders” as Jane bizarrely calls them. After berating other drivers – this is a magazine for motorists, remember – for not simply keeping their foot planted and driving over the hapless critters she embarks on an extended rant at cyclists, kicking off by bemoaning our sub-standard pheasant-avoidance technique.
She says: "You'd think that cyclists, being at one with the elements, would be more able to deal sensibly with such 'space invaders.'
"Unfortunately, certainly of late, this group seems to consist of real and exacting enthusiasts [we've no idea either] who behave as if every training trip is a stage of the Tour de France."
Are you an exacting cyclist who was recently on a training trip acting as if you were a one man peloton? Shame on you, you might have been holding Jane up. Now she's angry and we shall all be made to feel her terrible wrath.
"And as such [ie exacting cyclists on phantom Tour de France training trips] they have a narrow, blinkered vision of how the road should be used at that moment - which is purely for them. The motor vehicle must, and will take at least second place"
Right. Some interesting sentence construction in there, Jane. Anyway, who cares about grammar? Jane is into her stride and shifts up a gear to deliver her withering coup de grace.
"Sorry - who pays road tax, exactly?"
Oh Jane! Why must you hurt us so? But she's not finished yet, not by a damn sight.
"This, er, singleness of mind is not restricted to 'touring racers' either," opines Jane. No it certainly is not. It turns out that exacting, touring racer cyclists on fantasy Tour de France training trips are only half the bleedin' problem for poor, put-upon Jane.
If she can't move for inconsiderate pheasant-dodging two wheeled plebs in the country it's just as bad in London where she sometimes goes, perhaps due to her singular importance in the realm of all things automotive.
"Having recently visited London I am now certain there is an entirely different code for cyclists which as a driver I personally find horrifying, and terrifying as a pedestrian."
See, Jane keeps it real by walking, sometimes.
"But woe betide anyone who dares try to bring these itinerant road users to book."
Itinerant road users, Jane? You mean like road users who use the road to get from place to place, sort of like...everyone on the road?
"What's more, if one of them gets hurt - mon dieu! The fault cannot possibly lie with them - they're saving the planet!" shrieks Jane.
Clearly the multi-lingual Jane is a sophisticated creature who has mastered the language used by genuine, non-fantasy Tour de France exacting cyclists who are not on training trips but possibly doing a spot of touring racing.
What also annoyed Jane while she was being important in London was a particular cyclist's inability to hear her "energetic verbal riposte" due to their being "attached to an iPod" when they almost knocked her over on a pedestrian crossing.
Having finished being important in London, Jane gets back to the countryside only to discover: “aargh! Horse riders! Two abreast!”
But Jane always has the last laugh and in what for her is a satisfying denouement to the article - albeit one that's curiously similar to celebrity chef James Martin's claims about scaring some cyclists into a hedge - one of the horse riders comes a cropper.
While waving, the young girl loses her balance, “slips to one side and whoops! Off into the hedge, screeching blue murder as she drops. There is a god after all…” concludes Jane, triumphantly.
Except....maybe there isn’t. At least not for Jane
The website ipayroadtax.com reports that GEM Motoring Assist’s Chief Executive David Williams received a number of emails complaining about the article. He told complainants:
“I can only apologise and agree with you that Jane King’s article was ill-informed and at total odds with the aims and objectives of GEM Motoring Assist.
“Regrettably due to an error on our part the article was not checked nor edited in our normal way. Again I can only apologise for this error and assure you that Road Safety for all road users remains our prime aim and we continue to promote a courteous and considerate approach for all those sharing our roads.
"Jane King has been advised that her contributions to Good Motoring Magazine will not be required in the future.”