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Australian study calls for ban of the word 'cyclist' because it dehumanizes cyclists


The study says most drivers think of people on bicycles as being 'not completely human'

David Ramos/Getty Images

CONTENT WARNING: The word "cyclist" is used 16 times in this article. We have been informed that this term is apparently offensive to some members of the bicycle-riding community.

A new study by two universities in Australia has called for the end of the term "cyclist," which, researchers argue, is "dehumanizing" to cyclists.

What does the study say?

According to the study, which was conducted by Queensland University of Technology and Monash University, 55 percent of the 442 non-cyclists polled said that they considered cyclists to be "not completely human."

In addition, some participants admitted to shouting or throwing items at cyclists, and 1 in 5 admitted to blocking cyclists on roads while driving. One in 10 said that they had cut off a cyclist on the road.

Narelle Haworth, a QUT professor and the director of the school's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, said that instead of using the offensive term "cyclist," people should use the phrase "people who ride bikes."

"If we used the term people on bikes, instead of cyclists, we're giving a term that is more human-like and less like a species," she said in an interview with Daily Mail Australia.

Cyclists are frequent criticized by "people who drive cars," and have been lampooned in pop culture with caricatures including "Jeff the Cyclist" from the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine."

But Haworth's own university is one of the culprits throwing around this allegedly derogatory term. The school's website uses the term in its guidelines for bicycle security. It also used the term in a November Facebook post about the merits of wearing helmets while cycling.

What else?

These researchers are far from the first to rush to the defense of cyclists. In 2012, Automobile Association President Edmund King compared negative attitudes toward cyclists as being "almost like racial discrimination."

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