The following rules or guidelines apply to comments and discussions posted on the website (www.fiets.uk or www.bicycleben.co.uk), Facebook page (fb.me/BicycleBenUK), or any other channel where I may choose to host discussions.
Where these rules are broken, I may choose to delete posts at my discretion. Frequent offenders may be blocked from posting either temporarily or permanently.
- Be kind and courteous! Comments, posts and discussions must be conducted in a grown-up, sensible and mature fashion, tolerant and respectful of others, and without stoking unnecessary division.
- Be informed. Make sure you have properly read the post, article and/or comment thread you are responding to.
- Opinions are not facts and the two must not be conflated or confused. You are not permitted to post unsubstantiated “facts” without sufficient reputable sources to back-up a claim. Anecdotal experience is not evidence and doesn’t necessarily make a fact. People are allowed to disagree with opinions but this must be done with Rule 1 in mind.
- Check your posts – make sure they are clear, easy to read, and understandable. Avoid using text speak and abbreviations which may muddle understanding or make a post difficult to read. Take a minute or two before submitting, especially if a discussion is or has the potential to become heated.
- Do not spam a thread with many comments or replies. Keep everything together in one comment where possible to avoid splitting a thread and to keep it easy for readers to follow.
- No profanities or slurs, even disguised. A content filter is in place but posts may be removed where this misses something or an attempt has been made to bypass it.
- No discrimination (e.g., racism, sexism, homophobia etc.).
- No libel.
- Do not infringe copyright.
- My house, my rules. If you cannot abide by these rules, do not post.
It is my decision as to what to permit and these guidelines are not exhaustive nor necessarily absolute. Freedom of speech or freedom of expression is not being restricted if you are moderated. Commenting is a privilege not a right, and that privilege can be removed. Whilst I may invite discussion and am generally interested in hearing sensibly communicated viewpoints, that discussion can be shut down if I deem it necessary.
There are also some comments which might automatically be removed. This is not an exhaustive list, but examples include:
|Why it would be removed
|“I pay road tax. I pay to use the roads. This gives me greater rights on the road than cyclists who don’t pay anything. Cyclists do not pay for roads maintenance.”
|This is factually inaccurate. “Road tax” hasn’t existed since 1937. The charge is VED and is paid due to the pollution caused by the driver’s vehicle. It is not ring-fenced for roads and is paid into the general taxation pot along with other taxes such as income tax, national insurance, VAT etc. which most people pay – driver or not.
A driver cannot say they pay more tax than cyclists. Many people who ride bikes also drive cars and so contribute to the same taxes as non-cycling drivers. It is also possible that a high earning non-driver (or driver of a zero-rated vehicle) pays more in general tax contributions than a lower earner who does drive.
Driving is actually significantly subsidised by everyone, driver or not, to between £1.4k to £3k per person per year.
|“Cyclists don’t follow the rules of the road. They’re always jumping red lights.”
|This is one-sided and blind to drivers doing the same thing. It is not the mode of transport at issue here, it is the individual at fault. Yes, it happens, and no, it should not happen, but the danger from a cyclist jumping a light is significantly less than a driver doing the same thing.
The comment is divisive and furthers the “cyclists vs drivers” narrative which doesn’t actually help anyone.
|“Cycle lanes cause pollution. Fact!”
|This comment is an opinion, not a fact, as there is nothing given to support the claim. Remember, putting the word “fact” in a comment does not make it true, and anecdotal experience is not evidence. If the comment is not removed, the author can expect to be challenged to provide reputable data to support the claim being made.
|“All drivers are idiots”.
|As written, this is divisive, disrespectful, and an opinion given as a fact. It furthers the “us v them” or “cyclists v drivers” narrative and is therefore helpful.
Rephrased as “in my opinion, some drivers are idiots”, the comment might be more appropriate depending on the broader context. However, that context also may mean it is still divisive and unhelpful and it may still result in a warning or removal.
|“I don’t need to provide evidence. I saw it with my own eyes, therefore it’s true”.
|Anecdotal data is not sufficient in support of calling something a fact. Experiences can be influenced by personal biases, misinterpretation, lack of all relevant information, or they could be one-off incidents. If you’ve been asked to provide reputable evidence in support of a claim, you must do so else the claim itself may be deleted.
|“Cycling won’t work in the UK like it does in The Netherlands. Amsterdam is flat!”
|The terrain of The Netherlands compared to the UK doesn’t have a huge bearing on the ability of people to cycle. Whilst it is true to say that much (not all) of the Netherlands is flat, it is also very windy – in fact it’s not uncommon to hear of the winds described as “the Dutch hills”.
Cycle infrastructure works well on hilly roads because riders do not feel the pressure of having to try to keep a high speed in the main carriageway, to attempt to keep up with the traffic. Given separated cycle routes, a rider can crawl up a hill and stop if necessary. E-bikes can also mitigate hills for those who need a bit of assistance.
And besides, not everywhere in the UK is hilly. Even locally in Nuneaton, not everywhere requires traversing significant hills. Therefore, given the statement is easily proven irrelevant, it could be considered grounds for removal.