Tamworth Cycle Club president Min McDonald has said two recent social media incidents in which “obscene” threats were made against cyclists had crossed the line but are part of a “climate of rising tension” between Tamworth motorists and cyclists.
McDonald blasted “keyboard warriors” who hide behind the anonymity of the Internet to attack cyclists.
In one of the incidents, which resulted in the TCC filing a police complaint, McDonald said someone posted a comment on the Tamworth; who, what, when, where, how website, advocating motorists mow down cyclists.
She said the accompanying photo of a group of riders on a TCC-organised social ride for beginners included a 10-year-old and a 70-year-old “and everything in between”.
The second incident centres on an article published by The Northern Daily Leader last week in which McDonald trumpeted a proposed two-day cycling festival in Tamworth next year that she has said would have major economic and social benefits for the city.
In the comments section under The Leader’s Facebook post of the article, a spate of anti-cyclist comments included this by Mark Whan of Tamworth: “If they get in my way well you all know how this ends.”
McDonald said: “It should not be OK, just because it’s the Internet, for people to threaten the lives of people, particularly when we’ve seen that people will follow through on those threats. To me, it’s not acceptable, and that’s where the line should be drawn.”
She said in the aforementioned first incident the person responded to the claim that the photographed cyclists were riding in the middle of the road by saying: “Leave them where they are, because you can kill more of them when they’re in a group like that.”
She said: “Just because that person felt delayed at some point by a group of cyclists, to think it’s acceptable to threaten that broad cross-section of the community is absolutely obscene, and unfortunately we’re seeing it much too often on the Internet.”
McDonald said the anti-cycling brigade should remember that cyclists were “doctors and dentists and teachers and children and retired people – every member of the community”.
“People have got to stop thinking of them as just cyclists, and start thinking of them as human beings who have a right to be where they are,” she added.