MIMA
monitors, analyzes and corrects media reporting errors and bias concerning messengers and couriers.


Messenger Institute
 for Media Accuracy





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Commentary: Bicycle Thieves' Essential Role


All Things Considered, NPR, May 3, 2004

NPR's All Things Considered had a commentary from Chicago
cyclist Aaron Freeman about cycling in The Netherlands. Freeman confesses to   cycliing only when the weather is appropriate but apparently he prejudges at will.

According to Mr Freeman one of the problems with cycling in the US is:

"Reckless, testosterone-engorged bike messengers are agents not merely of business communication but Satan. THEY frighten OUR pedestrians and annoy OUR drivers."

Freeman refers to pedestrains, cyclists and drivers as "our" but messengers are "they".

Listen: here

Generally lazy journalists resort to alliterated cliches like :
Kamikaze Couriering Clique, Cadre of Concrete Cowboys, Mayhem Messengering Menaces, Wheeling, Wild Warriors of the Pedal Pushing Tribe, Reckless Road Raging Rebel Riders.

These kinds of  comments that have been repeated so often they are accepted as facts. But now the hyperbole from the war on terror is used against messengers as they are described as "terrorists on wheels" and now "agents of Satan".

A 1992 study on the Safety of Bicycle Couriers in various cities, (including Washington D.C.) prepared by the Automobile Insurance Society of Quebec, concluded "it is reasonable to assume that [couriers] behavior draws attention mainly because their clothing and bag (often bearing the company name or courier service logo) make them more visible". In fact couriers "have no more of a propensity for accidents per kilometer traveled than other bicycle riders; the difference in mishap rates between the two groups might well be statistically insignificant."

"There is nothing to indicate, however, that [messengers] act more recklessly than other cyclists using the downtown core of a city where vehicular and pedestrian traffic is heavy."

 


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