Victim blaming

Victim blaming


The media does it all the time, especially when a cyclist is involved. Headlines focus on the victim rather than the perpetrator, e.g. “Cyclist gets hit by car.” Within the story, there’ll be a discussion about helmets and suggesting fault on the cyclist for not wearing one, as if not wearing a helmet caused their injury or death rather than the impact of a speeding 3,000 lb vehicle colliding into them.

Here’s some recommended reading from CityLab: Why We Say ‘Car Accident,’ and Why We Need to Stop 

Recklessness in writing and reporting is negatively impacting the lives of people who bike. Victim blaming is lessening the importance of a life and creating a harmful, toxic culture that values cars more than people. Labeling everything an accident treats situations as if they are inevitable and shifts accountability away from people when they should be taking responsibility for their actions.

Bicyclist not wearing helmet struck by car (8.22.14 – San Diego CBS 8)

Cyclist Without Helmet Hit by Vehicle in Chula Vista (7.29.15 – San Diego NBC 7)

Cyclist killed after boat detaches from truck (9.15.15 – New York Post)