Not at all funny

BBC NEWS: Cycling fury at beheading ‘joke’

Matthew Parris, Times columnist and former Tory MP, has apologised in his column for making a joke about decapitating cyclists. Among those it offended were the Rhyl Cycling Club in north Wales, which lost four members “when a car skidded out of control in icy conditions near Abergele on 8 January, 2006”. The youngest was 14.

Actually, the joke is not at all funny for another reason: people have actually been known to string wire across roads to injure cyclists or motorcyclists. I don’t know if anyone has ever been literally decapitated, but I remember a local news story about someone being injured when someone tied a wire across a dirt lane I used to cycle down as a child (Baker Boy Lane, near Forestdale on the outskirts of Croydon). It’s a dangerous comment and the Times should not have published it; if I’d known before the response became news today, I might well have complained as well.

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