I am a: serious competitive athlete I have been running for: 5-10 years I run this many times a week: Every day My weekly mileage is about: Over 50 Running club / race organisation: I am a member of a running club I do these types of running: road / pavement, trail / grass / woodland, fell My most important reason for running is: to relieve stress
My three favourite events are: Favourite: Marathon Next Favourite: Fell Third favourite: Ultra I take part in events: 1-11 times a year I also do these sports: Adventure racing, Road cycling, Swimming, Walking (hill walking)
More about me
We have all seen motor vehicles used to threaten others, but let us assume that when a road machine kills, its operator is not inspired by anger or hatred; has no murderous intent; just going about their business, normal, ordinary, sane.
The commonplace description of death on the highway as 'accident' emphases this lack of volition, this randomness. But in doing so it blocks a proper understanding of the reasons why these regular and predictable calamities are allowed to continue.
How else shall it be called? 'Crash' is euphemism. Crash is metal against metal, metal against masonry or concrete, while in this case a human being is involved. American English offers 'wreck', but this too gives the impression of something inanimate being destroyed. A building, an aeroplane, a ship, turns to wreckage. Human life represents something else.
Call it slaughter. Like 'accident' this lends absolution to the immediate perpetrator. The slaughterman does not hate the life he extinguishes. It happens every day. We all allow it. We are all complicit. Horror is not reduced when coupled with banality.
Call it terrorism. Travel by bike in Britain and you can expect to be treated as an outsider. 'You must be mad' declare the motor-dependent ones confidently, breaking off from complaining about 40 minutes spent looking for a parking space or explaining how they arrived an hour early to miss the rush hour. In the mean time we all breathe poisoned air and children grow flabby under house arrest.
An unspoken assumption exists that anyone interesting or important travels by motorised transport. Politicians of all shades treat 'citizen' and 'motorist' as interchangeable concepts. Waiting behind a bus the contented cyclist can read an advert placed by no others than Friends of the Earth bearing the legend 'Don't just sit there fuming'.
The operator of a motor vehicle is a consumer or a worker, maybe both. A cyclist is an outsider because he or she travels without making a transaction. While our rulers persist in classing earning and spending as the paramount forms of human activity and measuring 'standard of living' in only monetary terms, finding convenience, satisfaction, even joy outside a financial transaction is a heinous economic crime.