"The term ‘cyclist’ continues to provide us with a damaging mental barrier and convenient scapegoat. It serves only to alienate and denigrate an entire segment of society, and cast them aside as ‘others’."
— Chris Bruntlett, via Hush Magazine
In our ongoing effort to raise awareness about how the words we use establish (sometimes harmful) cultural norms and have a major impact on our discussions around traffic safety and bicycling, we're bringing back our Language Matters column.
While many people still don't get why we take this issue so seriously, we are heartened by two recent examples we've come across that help make the case that this is something worthy of consideration and action.
The first is an excellent essay by Vancouver (Canada) resident Chris Bruntlett titled, I Am Not a Cyclist which was published on Hush Magazine's website last week. Chris emailed us to share the essay and said he was inspired to write it after an appearance on a local talk radio show where the host referred to him as an "avid cyclist" throughout the interview. Chris said he had recently watched Áron Halász's Cyclists Do Not Exist Tedx talk and he read our story from last month about a researcher's work on language use and bike advocacy.