Why Are So Many Cyclists Such Terrible Internet Citizens?

Single File Please
This is a story about a cycling lobbyist who has given in to his darkest impulses. His name is Ed Hore. But it’s important to note, he’s not unique. Every nation in the Western World now has at least one cyber stalking cycling lobbyist like Ed Hore. Their modus operandi? They love to create multiple fake accounts on social media and then they mercilessly harass members of the public who dare to disagree with their utopian cycling vision of the future.

So,  who is Ed Hore?  Why does he rate a mention?  Well,  he runs a lobby group known commonly as Cycle,  but it’s officially incorporated as The Australian Cycle Alliance Inc.  The group has 19,000 members and it’s best described as Melbourne’s version of the London Cycling Council.

Unfortuntately,  Ed Hore is also notorious for his passive-aggressive nature.  When riding on the road,  his official policy is “cars must completely change lanes before they can pass”  and that’s the way he rides a bike.  Watch the way,  in this video,  how he goes from zero to peak anger in less than a second.

Ed Hore is convinced the world is conspiring against cyclists.  For example in the above video,  he states bad drivers are supported and protected by companies like Change.org.  How?  Why did he mention them?  The answer relates to our Petition for Compulsory Single File.

Our Petition for CSF is hosted by Change.org and Ed Hore really wants that petition to go away because it has over 142,000 signatures.  Hence in Ed Hore’s eyes,  it’s a conspiracy,  and it desperately needs to brought into the open light!

Hopefully,  we’ve provided some context into why so many contemporary cycling lobbyists have become conflict junkies.  No small number of them are convinced they’re persecuted.  And that’s why some of them think it’s OK to take the next step.  Some of them start acting like this….

Which brings us to the recently disgraced Simon Still from London.   Like Ed Hore,  Simon Still is a cycling lobbyist who also loves the media spotlight.  In itself,  this is not a sin,  but there’s a catch.  Most people outside of the cycling community are unaware of what these guys are getting up to behind the scenes.  And make no mistake,  some of it is very creepy.

What sort of behaviour are we talking about?  Are we talking about people just being jerks online or are we talking about behaviour which is a bit more sinister?

Cristo Fouras - Talk Radio
Popular London talk back radio host Cristo Foufas was recently the victim of a real life stalking attempt by a cycling lobbyist named Simon Still. In a surprise twist, Mr Still (who works for the London Cycling Council) has since been suspended for a series of unacceptable racist tweets about his fellow London residents.

Consider Cristo Foufas for a moment.  A well known talk back radio host who lives in Lambeth in London,  Mr Foufas is a vocal critic of London’s highly controversial “Low Traffic Neighbourhood” scheme.   Which means he’s been coming in for a lot of attention from cycling advocates lately.

In many eyes,  London’s LTN scheme is a near perfect example of NIMBY syndrome.  The lucky residents living within the various LTNs don’t seem to care that London’s infamous traffic congestion has been ‘moved on’ to somebody else’s back yard.  All they care about is that it’s no longer happening in THEIR backyard.  And Cristo (as he is affectionately known) is not shy about his views on the subject.

Recently,  one particular cyclist named Simon Still crossed a line.  A high profile LTN advocate,  and also known for being on the board of the London Cycling Council,  Simon Still started going through every online post by Mr Foufas,  the goal being to find out where Mr Foufas lives.  Eventually Simon Still started bragging about standing outside the front of Mr Foufas’s home each day.

And,  if that wasn’t creepy enough,  Simon Still started dropping hints which indicated he truly had found out where Cristo Foufas and his partner lives.  Quite understandably,  Cristo Foufas was quite rattled by that  –  which of course,  was the goal.

But then the worm turned.  Simon Still was himself the subject of scrutiny,  and it turns out his views on young black men in London’s poorer boroughs were so disgusting he was suspended from the board of the London Cycling Council.

It’s in this context you’re now about to read about Ed Hore’s identical mindset.  Namely,  if a cycling lobbyist decides you’re officially “an enemy of cycling”,  that’s it.  You’re done for.  The ends justifies the means.   No amount of creepy behaviour is unacceptable.

Another example of the sorts of nasty stuff “cycling lobbyists get up to behind the scenes”,  are the  recent attempts by Ed Hore and his cycling followers to rewrite the Donae Lomen story.  

Single File Please
Perhaps no better example of "cyclists saying appalling things" is prominent cycling advocate Ed Hore who claimed (falsely) that Donae Lomen was NOT hit from behind by a cyclist who failed to render assistance, but rather, she was a victim of domestic violence who was seeking to rort the system.

Ms Lomen, 24, requires major dental surgery after being hit from behind by a cyclist while walking on a shared pathway. The cyclist failed to stop and failed to render assistance.  The cyclist remains unidentified.  The legal assistant is now off work and faces tens of thousands of dollars in reconstructive surgery to her jaw and teeth. Her dental work is expected to cost at least $25,000.

In a move which can only be described as going way beyond the pale,  Ed Hore and his followers attempted to drench public commentary with false claims she was hit not by a cyclist,  but rather,  was hit by her partner in a domestic violence incident.  

Now,  think about that for a moment.  You’re a young lady and you’ve got all these nasty comments flying around social media by cycling supports saying “She didn’t get hit by a cyclist,  she was beat up by her boyfriend,  She’s just trying to make some money.”  Imagine how gut wrenching that would feel?

All of which raises the question  –  where are these cycling extremists co-ordinating their attacks from?  Which social media platform currently facilitates the worst sorts of cyberstalking to occur?  On balance,  you’d have to say Facebook at this point in time.

Facebook has a massive market penetration.  On top of that,  there are some things Facebook does better than anyone else  –  like private user groups which are inaccessible to the outside world.  It’s in these private groups the nasty stuff tends to happen.  And you won’t get a better example of “cyclists being terrible internet citizens” than The Revolution.

 

The Revolution
The Revolution was a massive Facebook group populated by cyclists from all over the world. When the group decided a member of the public deserved 'the nasty treatment' it was in The Revolution that most of the collusion and planning took place.

Eventually The Revolution was shut down and you can read about why that happened by clicking here.  For those who can’t be bothered reading,  the short version is this….  the group was huge,  populated exclusively by very angry cycling advocates.  It was owned by a law firm named McInnes Wilson,  a firm which specialises in Personal Injury Claims.  Over time the group became infamous for defamation by cyclists wishing “to get even” with motorists,  and slowly that defamation started creeping out into the Court system.  Quite correctly,  McInnes Wilson shut the group down completely.

The general public simply has no idea about the existence of online groups like The Revolution.  Take a moment to look at the logo…  ‘The Safe Online Place For Cyclists.’  Make no mistake,  that was interpreted by cyclists to mean ‘in here we can say whatever we want about people with zero consequence.’  There are no checks and balances.  

You can shut these groups down but they keep springing back up again with a different name the very next day.  For example,  the day after McInnes Wilson shut down The Revolution,  another was created in it’s place.  It’s name?  The Second Revolution.  

In many respects Facebook facilitates the problem of cyber stalking..  In private user groups,  bad actors are able meet and to collaborate in secret.  It’s reasonable to suggest this is the single biggest flaw in Facebook’s business model.  Almost certainly Facebook’s private user groups are where all the ‘fake news’ issues were generated during the Trump era.

Which brings us (finally) to Ed Hore and his 20 fake Facebook accounts.  Over the last year,  Ed Hore has worked out a way to create as many fake Facebook Pages as he wants  –  for free  –  without having to create a new user email address each time for each fake account.   

Take a moment to look at this gallery of fake accounts we’ve banned from our Facebook Page in just the last year alone.   There’s another 30 which have since been deactivated and deleted.  To describe Ed Hore as “obsessed” is an understatement of galactic proportions.

But why?  What’s in it for a cycling advocate to do this?  What’s the benefit to creating so many fake accounts?  Well,  it’s part of a strategy,  it’s a form of social media warfare.  

Over the last few years we’ve noticed a very clear and unmistakeable sydrome.  There’s a core group of super militant cycling extremists who live for recreational outrage.  They live for conflict.  And they love nothing more than to troll motorists every chance they get.   

The average person ends up so exasperated by the relentless trolling they eventually say something they later regret.  And that’s the goal.  When that happens the trolls report the comment for breaching Community Standards.  After that,  if a Page keeps having comments reported which breach Community Standards,  that Page drops off a cliff thanks to Facebook’s secret algorithms.

Put another way,  cycling extremists love to troll motorists for strategic reasons.  They’ve discovered they can silence a Facebook Page by mercilessly trolling motorists into making comments which breach Facebook’s Community Standards.  It’s a very cynical strategy,  and it works.

In response to this strategy,  we implemented a policy of banning every cycling advocate who shows up on our Facebook page.  Even IF a cycling advocate says something like “Hey man,  I’m a cyclist and I really agree with your policy on single file…”  they still get banned.  It’s the only way we could ensure the doxxing,  and the trolling,  and the cyber stalking and the conflict wouldn’t occur.

At Single File Please,  it’s a shame we had to adopt this policy.  Occasionally a cycling advocate will still say something which is worth hearing and giving consideration to.  Ideally that’s how we’d like to interact with cycling advocates.  With courtesy and respect.

Unfortunately, there are so many ‘crazy’ cycling advocates out there (like Ed Hore and Simon Still)  who are such terrible internet citizens,  they’ve basically ruined it for everyone.