Metro's blog coordinator Yvette Caster caused a bit of controversy on Thursday when she published an anti-cyclist story. We break it down line-by-line

Those of you who pick up a copy of the Metro newspaper on your commute to work, you’ll know it’s normally a bastion of high quality news, but a recent online post by Metro ‘blog coordinator’ Yvette Caster saw the publication hit a bit of a low.

Getting people to click on your stories is sometimes pretty hard as an online journalist, so when Ms Caster trawled the Clickbait Database and entitled her story ‘Cyclists are a menace and should be banned from the roads’ she must have sat back and rubbed her hands in glee.

Unfortunately, the headline was about the only well thought-out thing in the story, with the 467 words that followed it simply churning out age-old clichés about cyclists.

As cycling grows in the UK we see a fair amount of anti-cyclist comments and you become a bit immune to it after a while. Just read the comments section of any MailOnline story about cycling and you’ll get the idea of what Ms Caster talks about in her article.

Let’s take it from the top, as we deconstruct Ms Caster’s diatribe almost line by line, starting with a spot of sexism…

“He, and, yes, it is almost always a he, some balding MAMIL (Middle-aged Man In Lycra) sweating away, holding up traffic, causing accidents and generally being a total liability on the modern highway.”

It’s quite sad, in many ways, that a woman like Ms Caster still believes that cycling is a preserve ‘almost always’ for males, given the boom in women’s cycling in recent years. A cursory glance at a city-centre road in rush hour will allow you to see that there’s plenty of female cyclists on the road.

The sad fact is, though, in London the majority of cycling deaths in recent years have been women – lycra-clad or not – and the accidents are very often not ’caused’ by the cyclist being ‘a total liability’.

Time to get your head out the sand and look at some facts, rather than simple clichés.

Facts like the fact that cyclists are 11 times more likely do die on the roads per mile travelled than car drivers. Or the fact that car drivers also jump red lights and cause a lot more accidents by doing so than cyclists, according to Department for Transport figures.

“If we set aside, for a moment, the danger they pose both to what roads are for – cars – and what the pavements are for – walkers, there’s first the visuals.”

Firstly, bicycles don’t really pose a danger to a car, because there’s only one outcome when a cyclist comes into contact with a two-tonne metal vehicle.

Secondly, roads are not ‘for cars’. Roads existed well before the motorcar. Indeed the better paving of roads came about because more people were using bicycles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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But I’m excited to find out what the ‘visuals’ Ms Caster is going to describe so eloquently.

“They look ridiculous. Nobody looks good riding a bicycle. There’s a reason James Bond drives an Aston Martin and Knight Rider has KITT while bikes are for the likes of Benny Hill and Granville – they are the transport of clowns, buffoons and Boris Johnson.”

Granted, James Bond looks pretty good in an Aston Martin, but Knight Rider? Everything in that show looked awful! Also, Knight Rider was the name of the television programme, not the character in the programme.

Playing the Boris Johnson card is just too easy, isn’t it. There are plenty of graceful and stylish cyclists in the world to change your opinion.

“Exercising on them leaves you with a Peter Crouch physique – seriously unenviable.”

This is where Ms Caster’s argument falls apart altogether. For those of you who aren’t aware, Peter Crouch is a particularly tall and skinny, well-paid footballer. He also happens to be married to the model Abbey Clancy, so his physique must have some sort of attraction.

Plus, in an age when inactivity and obesity is costing the country billions of pounds each year, saying that exercising gives you an unenviable appearance is completely ridiculous.

“Plus, a bike’s construction is frankly some kind of highly suspicious witchcraft – how do they even stay up at all?”

And there we have it. The words that completely undermine everything Ms Caster has ranted about thus far: “How do they even stay up at all?”

It’s a classic case of hating something that you don’t understand. “Oh, I hate the French because I can’t understand what they’re saying.”

It’s simple physics really.

“Then there’s the lycra. The ugly, lurid, lycra of the man on the train stinking the place out with his bike sweat.

“Said man will also inevitably block the train doors with his unroadworthy beast, or at the least stab you with the grimy edge of his clunky fold-up.”

So when a cyclist does what Ms Caster suggests and gets off the road to use public transport, they still feel her wrath?

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“Then there’s the appalling rudeness of so many cyclists.

“I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen Sunday cyclists, merrily riding down a windy country lane SIDE BY SIDE in a 60 zone.

“It’s almost as if they want to be bumped off.”

Some cyclists can be rude, yes. Some drivers can be rude as well. People in general are rude – it’s not riding a bike that makes people rude.

As such an avid fan of motoring, it’s surprising that Ms Caster hasn’t read the section in the highway code about cyclists being allowed to travel SIDE BY SIDE (or two abreast, as it’s officially called) on a road.

Chris Boardman even presented a video about the topic…have a look at it here.

“Then there’s the ‘speed demons’ who don’t think the highway code applies to them, nearly mangling pedestrians who have waited patiently at crossings, with their heads down, peddling madly through red lights.”

Okay, we’ll give you this one. People who ignore traffic signals and lights are a nuisance to everyone. We’re well aware that many ‘lycra-clad’ cyclists skip red lights and the many of us will call out our fellow riders for their stupidity.

“Let’s be honest, any claims they may make about saving the environment (smug, smug, smug) are surely negated by the amount of fumes emitted by vehicles queued behind them, desperately trying to overtake safely as they wobble about.”

Not all cyclists are graced with the ability to ride in a dead straight line, and the prospect of a car scraping your handlebars often makes riders a little more nervous on busy roads.

Ms Caster said on Twitter last night that she ‘stands by’ everything she wrote in her article, having been contacted by members of the ‘cycling mafia’, as she called them, one of whom referred to her as a ‘Pound Shop Katie Hopkins’.

It’s bad enough that a person down the pub feels that it’s okay to spew such anti-cyclist sentiment, let alone a journalist looking to grab a few cheap clicks.

Here’s a few suggestions for some more guaranteed clickbait stories: ‘Why do wheelchair users take up all of the pavement?’ or ‘People that block the doors on the Underground should be deported’.

Look out for those ones soon.

  • The Awakening

    Actually I am pleased that ‘journalist’ Yvette Caster has voiced in writing, the way that she views the world. By doing so, nobody can have any doubts about how many people have been ‘conditioned’ to respond to cyclists.

    When you ride a bike and get an angry motorist showing aggression, refer to this puerile article by ‘journalist’ Yvette Caster, to understand the ‘mindset’ of an ‘anti-cyclist’.

    Undoubtedly ‘journalist’ Yvette Caster is set in her ways with her judgment on cyclists, so let here remain there and she will be judged.

  • FPCyclist

    Yvette Caster is a menace and should be banned from expressing an opinion.
    Why do I think she lives with three or four cats?

  • Rhode

    We had a similar article from a “journalist” here in Western Australia.

    http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/karalee-katsambanis-how-cyclists-hold-perth-to-ransom-20151101-gko6ov

  • Thiago Corrêa

    the same with shaved legs. You can’t see the hair in your knees again after the 3rd or 4rd round.

  • I was about to index this journalist as a clickbaiting Phillippa Space, but was trumped by your closing Pound Shop Katie Hopkins.

  • Rob King

    “I’m sure most are lovely but, given the fact I’ve received everything from death threats to disgusting personal comments over a straight forward opinion piece I’m now even less inclined to be sympathetic to them as road users.”

    Well, that went well.

  • Crydda

    Good response. Ignorance and blinkered preconceptions need to be stamped on and ridiculed, no matter what the subject.

  • Rachael Elliott

    Having just checked out Ms Caster’s Facebook profile, I don’t think she’s in any place to criticise cyclists’ physiques. She would clearly benefit from a few miles on the bike each week.

  • Vance Harvey

    The comment reminds me of the famous American humourist, HL Menken, who once wrote…..”I am reading your article in the smallest room in my house; currently it is in front of me, but very soon it will be behind me!”

    Wonder what this lady?? thought of Arnie riding his Boris Bike around London a few months ago? Maybe he’s not macho enough for her either?

  • Gary Jogela

    As John McEnroe once said “you cannot be serious!”.she can’t be can she?

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    Couldn’t help noticing a picture of her with Jon Snow…

  • Mark Planck

    Thanks, made my day. That said, if she did get on a bike those images would be a lot better.

  • Martin Hughes

    Peddling McDonald’s for her cause her poor husband thinks she has been on a diet for the past 10 years

  • udbhav

    cycling is the best exersise everyone knows its a great sport too so why bother

  • Simon Hawkins

    Genuinely thought the metro article was a spoof.

  • Sorry, but her article will not be read by me and no one should promote it, it is less than waste paper. We need constructive journalism away from the Wraith of Khan yelling down of each other.

  • Riggah

    I think that this bloke sums it up perfectly.

  • David Ford

    Love that the poll under the article on the Metro website is in favour of cyclists, 75% to 25%, and that the ‘related cycling stories’ are titled : ‘Motorists should campaign for MORE bikes on the roads, not complain about them’ and ‘It’s time motorists realised that cyclists are doing them a favour’. Comments section is a good read too. Funny. It is only an opinion piece however, it’s just a shame the opinion is a little too focused and narrow minded…

  • Rupert the Super Bear

    It’s “pedalling” you silly cow, not “peddling”.

    Peddling is what your special little friend has been doing to you for some time…

  • David Ritchie

    Maybe I am the exception, but as a M.A.M.I.L. myself, I look fantastic in lycra , on or off the bike.

  • Riggah

    Unfortunately, as society continues to aspire to and embrace mediocrity, the thickos are in the ascendency.

  • disqus_6PES2CnwIh

    so Yvette, how much you donating to them cycling twats on the One SHow for CiN?

  • Nigel Rue

    I see what you mean! Now I am no oil painting, in or out of Lycra, but we should all be grateful that we will never have to witness a Lycra clad Ms Caster cycling anywhere.

  • Andrew Bairsto

    Looked at her on line I see what you mean she is a complete thicko if her tweets are anything to go by.

  • Valentyn Derkach

    Just google for her name, switch to images and all suddenly gets crystal clear. Seriously, do you really think it makes sense to write all this long analysis? It’s just a waste of time. Forget about her and put into ignore list.

  • Mick Thompson

    For a so-called high profile journalist she has pitifully few followers on Twitter…

  • Jörg Hippo Thomsen

    Well, she should get in bed with Rob Ford, former cokehead and mayor of Toronto, Canada who said (and I quote): “Every time a cyclist or pedestraian gets killed in traffic, my heart bleeds, but in the end, it’s their own fault…”

    Even Jeremey Clarkson’s take on cycling is much much more reasonable than the incompotent bable of this woman, who clearly needs a therapist.

  • Richard Bruton

    Boris Johnson played rugby recently, should we get rid of all of them too? And the joggers, they run where people walk! A disgrace!

  • Fraser

    Good article, made me chuckle too