When London's black cabbies tried to block plans for new cycling superhighways through London, we were prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps they had genuine concerns about the project. Perhaps they just wanted everyone to give it a bit more thought.
But now, Steve McNamara, the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) has, on real live radio, said something which, well, suggests otherwise. On LBC last night, he was talking about cyclists' response to the judicial review of the superhighway scheme which the LTDA had demanded. Here, as quoted in Cycling Weekly, is what he said.
These people, the zealots of the cycling world, are unbelievable. We have had cyber attacks on our websites... They are all over us like a cheap suit on Twitter and social media. We have had physical threats of violence. You name it, we have had it. It’s absolutely unreal.
Okay, not too uneasonable, one might think. Except that, then, Stevie Boy said this:
The loonies out there in the cycling world, they’re almost the sort of ISIS of London. Their views and their politics – if you are not with them... then nothing is too bad for you. These people are unreal.
That'll get them on side, Steve. Good one.
The reaction so far has been pretty negative...
Confirmed. Head of Licensed Taxi Drivers Assoc called cyclists 'almost the ISIS of London' last night. Sorry, that is just sick @TheLTDA
— cyclistsinthecity (@citycyclists) February 5, 2015
...and today, McNamara told the Evening Standard that he may have "gone too far" with his wording:
Perhaps I would accept that was a bit strong. It was a live interview. I have had death threats... We have not reported anything to the police because I don’t think there is anything in them. I think it’s just a few loonies, but they really have got a sort of religious zeal.
If nothing else, the comparison just isn't a very good one: if Isis spent all their time on Twitter demanding a reforms to transport policy, the world would be an infinitely less depressing place.