Team Sky aren't out to get you

Whoever said there was no such thing as bad publicity clearly hadn’t accounted for Team Sky’s bus almost knocking a cyclist off his bike.

In another time this wouldn’t necessarily have led to the media frenzy that followed the incident, on a country road somewhere in Wales. In another time cyclists didn’t ride around with cameras on their heads.

What the Team Sky bus did was exactly why cyclists are filming their rides. Regardless of the fact that you can ride around for weeks, even months without something like this happening, when it does, you’ve got it on record. For legal purposes, and Twitter.

So Andy Rolfe, the victim in all this, posted it on Twitter. “This needs to go viral, for the safety of cyclists,” He wrote.

For the safety of cyclists. As if this bus is careering around like that truck from Duel, intent on eradicating cyclists, one by one. Never mind the fact that Team Sky have done more to promote cycling globally than every other pro team put together. That Sky itself nurtures cycling of all types, from family riding right up to pro level.

This is the problem with that tweet.  To post it as some kind of community spirited health warning, to claim that to view this close-pass porn and, presumably, for the safety of cyclists, share it, is somehow going to make the world safer is nonsense.

“Look at who just nearly knocked me clean off my bike! Team Sky!” That would be a more accurate tweet.

Why didn’t Mr Rolfe just contact Team Sky? They were clearly mortified, they had the apology out in minutes. Now they’re sending all their drivers on road safety courses. It would have been better if the team car following the bus had stopped at the scene, when they saw Mr Rolfe gesticulating wildly. They could have said sorry, given him a cap or something.

Damage limitation at least, although unlikely to have prevented the video being made public. It looks as if Mr Rolfe joined Twitter just to post it, that’s how much he wanted it to be seen. What was his real motive, what did he actually hope to achieve? He clearly wanted to name and shame, but then what? Or is it simply that social media has given us all a shot at 15 minutes of fame? He saw his chance, he took it. 

The clip was picked up by every news outlet across the world. This video was on the Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, the BBC, Huffington Post, the entire cycling press. Mr Rolfe wanted it to “go viral for the safety of cyclists,” and he certainly got that.

This is, as far as we know, an unprecedented incident. We haven’t heard of anything like it happening with any team bus, let alone Team Sky. This was a combination of circumstances and bad timing. There was a lorry coming in the other direction, the Team Sky bus misjudged the pass. Dangerous as hell but not intentional. It’s safe to assume they’re not out to get cyclists.

This video is nothing more than titillation. It’s worth watching if only to say “Jesus that was close,” and then worry yourself silly the next few times you go out and hear a diesel engine behind you. How has it improved the safety of cyclists, apart from making a few drivers go on a course?

Andy Rolfe should be feeling very happy with himself. All those views, all that TV coverage for his little clip. Never mind 15 minutes, he got an afternoon of fame. He’s probably got agents calling him already.

Next stop, Celebrity Big Brother. For the safety of cyclists.