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The man challenging anti-cycling trolls to change their ways

The man challenging anti-cycling trolls to change their ways

“If someone deletes their comment, that’s success for me,” says Andrew Tierney. “Hopefully, that person will think about what they’re saying in the future.” Tierney,…

Thursday, Mar 03

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“If someone deletes their comment, that’s success for me,” says Andrew Tierney. “Hopefully, that person will think about what they’re saying in the future.”

Tierney, who goes by the name @cybergibbons online, is part of a new breed of cycling activists. After noticing an increase in the amount of abuse and violent threats on social media directed at people who ride bikes, Tierney decided to take action. He started calling out the posters online, with the result that many deleted their comments or even their accounts.

“If someone says something racist [online], on the whole, people will challenge those views,” he says. “It should be the same for threats made against cyclists; challenge those who make these statements.”

There has been a noticeable increase in virtual threats against cyclists since the Highway Code changes and clarifications have been in the news, Tierney believes, and he has started responding to the most serious ones.

“It was on TikTok that I suddenly thought: ‘Wow, people think it’s socially acceptable to make [comments about harming cyclists]’,” he says. “A user made a comment about harming cyclists if they saw them adhering to one of the new Highway Code rules, and it got lots of likes.”

Getting such a post taken down can be difficult and slow when reported via the tech platforms, but can be easy and swift when contacting the user directly, Tierney says.

He was shocked to discover that many of those making hateful comments use their real names. “You click on their profile picture, and […]

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