On 7 Dec, the Evening Standard quoted Westminster Councillor Angela Harvey as saying that "little old ladies are always getting knocked down by yobs on bikes". She'd also said in a council press release: "Pedestrians are being knocked down on pavements by a hardcore element of anti-social cyclists who often shout at the pedestrian before cycling away. They have little regard for their own safety and that of other road users."
Southwark Cyclists' Barry Mason challenged Ms Harvey to produce data to back her claims. After some persistence he managed to get a reply, full of vague, hand-waving, filibustering nonsense: "mis-conflation of a number of [my] comments... [we] have heard from a number of residents who have been injured by inconsiderate cyclists... there is widespread underreporting... action must be taken now..." etc etc.
No, that's not data. That's waffle. As waffly as a waffle stand owner waffling about his waffles. While waving a waffle iron.
Hearsay doesn't count. Quite a lot of midwest Americans say they've been abducted by aliens but that doesn't mean it's remotely true.
Helpful note to councillors: 'data' means figures, such as those in police reports. Actual incidents with a paper trail. You can tell figures because they consist of a selection of the characters 0 to 9, a little like telephone numbers.
For example, 0 is a figure. It's the number of actual, verifiable, reported incidents of pedestrians being knocked down by cyclists in Westminster.
Living in a high-visibility world - I recently rediscovered this sensible Telegraph article about cycling safety from earlier this year. It contains (amongst some useful statistics and commen...
11 hours ago