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Friday indicative votes: Word(s) to replace cyclist

Researchers suggest that the word 'cyclist' dehumanises people riding bikes… calling them 'people riding bikes' isn't that snappy so let's come up with a new word(s)...

Not quite the same ring as Friday Poll, but these are the times we live in. Anyway this week the BIG question is what should we call cyclists if we’re not going to call them cyclists?

This has been in the news over the last few days first with Australian researchers concluding that many drivers view cyclists as less than human and that along with a program of driver (re)education we should consider banning the ‘C’ word (no, cyclist) as it dehumanises people riding bikes. That was followed upon earlier this week with Dame Sarah Storey telling the Guardian that we needed to come up with a word that distinguished ‘normal people on bikes’ from the stereotype of ‘lycra-clad yobbos’ and follow the Dutch example where they have a word for cycle commuters - fietser and another for more sporting cyclists wielrenner. This does beg the questions of where that would leave lycra-clad commuters and whether many yobbos actually go around in Lycra, but we’ll park that and get on with the more fun job of finding a new word/words to describe people on bikes… 

We threw the question open in the comments on those stories and on social media and got plenty of suggestions - some factually correct but too worthy, wordy or both for general adoption: planet saver, low emission commuter; some lacking the humanising angle – two wheeler; and some rather missing the point but in a darkly amusing way… ‘target’. 

So here are the runners and riders if one gets a simple majority we’ll trial it in the Live blog for a day see what happens, otherwise we’ll whittle ‘em down until we find a winner. Maybe.

Oh, and feel free to suggest something better in the comments, it shouldn't be hard (though pedelestrian has a ring to it).


Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.

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