April Fool’s Day is celebrated through humor, pranks and sarcasm each year, but can a simple joke lead to a serious discussion on road safety?
A satirical blog post may have sparked such discussion. On April 4, bicycle advocate and educator Robert Prinz put together a collection of news stories involving car accidents, and replaced the word “car” for “bike” and “driver” for “cyclist.”
He said on twitter that the post was meant to be an April Fool’s joke, but the roots of the joke were rooted in a serious subject—road safety and accommodation. The stories were posted to a page on his website called Bikes r dangerous, and no one was hurt in any of the original news clips he used.
Each of the amended news stories highlight benefits of cycling, while reminding readers of the damage that can be done by cars. The post has fueled commentary on twitter using the hashtag: #replacebikewithcar.
On twitter, the posts have taken things motor vehicle drivers typically say about cyclists and flipped them to take aim at drivers.
Other twitter users have used the hashtag to blatantly point out the danger of cars and the extensive lengths cyclists are expected to meet to ensure their own safety.
Road cyclists and bike commuters have long been the underdog in the fight for rights to the road. Issues running under the twitter hashtag point out the difficulties that bike user’s face. Popular themes include limited bike lanes, facing criticism from drivers for failing to follow traffic laws and the overuse and reliance on foreign oil.
Drivers have always outnumbered cyclists, making any pro-bike movement tough. Most often cyclists requests for more space on the road or improved safety measures are met with opposition from the majority. This infusion of humor might finally turn the tide, as drivers and cyclists share a laugh and motorists see it from the other side.