Thank you for taking the time to write to me about Matthew Parris's article (My Week, December 7). As someone who regularly rides to work and who likes to go on cycling holidays, I shared your alarm, initially fearing that Matthew had it infor me too. But I think it was immediately clear that he wasexaggerating for effect - and for a good cause: cyclists, as much as anyone else, must share his determination to protect the natural worldfrom litter and pollution.
I have received many similar e-mails and take note of the heartfelt indignation. You may also have seen the piece that ran in the paper onMonday in defence of the cyclist. While I admire the passion of the cycling lobby and myself one of their number, I think we do ourselves no favours when we lose our sense of humour and I hope that you, like me, will continue to enjoy Matthew Parris's excellent writing. That said, two wheels good etc. Yours, James Harding
-----Original Message-----From: Jorge Solis V. [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 30 December 2007 01:08To: Times CommentCc: Harding, JamesSubject: Comment on M Parris' article "The smug who deservedecapitation"
Dear Sir / Madam,
I'd like to comment on Matthew Parris' article of 27 Dec, "What's smugand deserves to be decapitated?"(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/matthew_parris/article3097464.ece)and would be grateful if you could pass the comment on to Mr Parris. I am disappointed at the gross generalisations he makes - I cycle to work every day and know that neither myself nor scores of other regular cyclists I know exhibit the behaviours he so carelessly attributes to all of us. Mr Parris' fundamental mistake is to attribute moral traits to forms of transport (cycling, driving, walking, jogging) rather than to individuals. Not all cyclists are the reckless thugs he depicts - just as not all pedestrians (or indeed drivers) are shining examples of highway-side virtue. Indeed, most cyclists are also pedestrian and motorists!.
Good old Matthew is fighting the wrong battle - he'd do better to directhis anger against bad road users, and in support of responsible, considerate ones - whatever the form of transport employed. He would also do well to acknowledge that, in the UK today, when it comes to road design and 'systems' (how traffic lights work, the location, layout and length of bike lanes), cars and pedestrians are taken into consideration far more than cyclists are. An apology from Mr Parris would be quite in order