Wrong WayPosted: May 23, 2013
Earlier this week there was one of those stories that makes you despair not just for the decency of mankind, but our general intelligence. The story was that at a 100 mile bike ride in Norfolk at the weekend (which my brother-in-law was taking part in) there was a collision between a cyclist and a passing car.
Cars hitting bikes is hardly news, and luckily the cyclist wasn’t badly injured, but what sets this incident apart are the actions of the driver. First of all, she left the scene of the accident. Now, I don’t even drive and I know that’s a big no-no.
To compound this, and doing little to eliminate the “dumb blonde stereotype”, the young lady, Emma Way then proceeded to tweet this message:
Understandably, response to this tweet was loud and spirited. The dumbass was not only confessing to the incident but was showing a frankly disgusting lack of empathy or care for the safety of the cyclist and then throws in some stupid throwaway line about road tax.
Here’s the thing, Miss Way, I doubt that guy is always on his bike. He may very well drive as well, but even if he didn’t does that make it okay? You know who else doesn’t pay road tax? Children. So if a driver has right of way and a kid’s on the road are they okay to hit them too? Would you then use the hashtag #bloodykids.
Way quickly deleted the tweet and her account, going to ground quickly. But the genie was out of the bottle and things were in motion.
Norwich Police had been contacted about it and were interested to talk to her, and of course having used her full name and a picture on her Twitter account she was quickly identified in the press.
Way’s employers were contacted by angry e-mails and came out to condemn the events and to announce that “appropriate action” would be taken. It didn’t sound good for Way.
Way went to see the coppers and also gave an interview to ITV local news, flanked by a lawyer. Now, this is where Way shows even less class. In this kind of event you’ve just got to hold your hands up, apologize, take full responsibility and take your licks, knowing that while it might be rough for a bit attention will shift elsewhere eventually.
But Way’s interview is a disaster. I know she’s not PR trained, but a bit of common sense would have told her to approach it in a different way.
She apologizes, but focuses more on the tweet which she feels has been “blown out of proportion”. That’s your first mistake right there. Sure there’s been a massive reaction, but it was more than a “stupid” and “spur of the moment thing”. It was a disgusting and nasty thing to tweet, and in this age of social networking everyone knows tweets aren’t secret or limited to a few dozen people. She seems more intent on apologizing to stop getting hassled than due to any real sense of remorse.
Secondly, and this is what gets the blood boiling, she tries to play the victim. She says she’s getting “severely bad named” as if she’s being unfairly judged or wrongfully accused. The only reason she’s getting a bad name is through her own actions. I mean, we all make mistakes but this one is on her. She sent the hateful message and that’s what people are judging her on. If you do something douchey you can’t complain that people think you’re a douche.
She talks about the fallout at her work, which is rough, but at the same time, what are they gonna do? If they do nothing it’ll be a public relations nightmare for them, and as such it’s better for them to just suspend her and launch an investigation. Now they look like they’re doing something about it and I gotta say, I don’t imagine this will end well for Way.
Then she does this bloody daft thing where she tries to make excuses saying she didn’t even feel the cyclist touch the car, which is a bit of a blatant lie given that in her tweet she says she “definitely” hit him. She then says she never would have driven off if he’d been hurt, which I don’t quite believe.
Her third error is that when asked if she could go back, she says she’d take back her tweet. Now, the tweet is bad, but surely you’d start off with saying you’d be a bit more careful while driving and stop at the incident. Saying she’d change sending the tweet seems to imply that while she may have some remorse for the incident she’s rather more concerned about the fuss and trouble that the tweet has caused her.
It’s a nightmare and confessing to being a cyclist herself in order to not look like a cyclist hater is even dumber. She’s a cyclist so she could easily be on the other side and should thus be more considerate, but she still acted as she did and said what she said, if anything this admission just makes her look worse.
Her lawyer makes a good point at the end, that the police should ignore the brouhaha over the tweet, which is right. The problem is that she’s pretty screwed anyway. The tweet can be used to confirm that she knowingly left the scene and failed to report the incident, and they have the cyclist’s testimony too. So, in the eyes of the law she’s in trouble and until the next story she’s not exactly going to be popular either.
I think the morals of this story are- think before you tweet, always stop if you hit something, when caught out just apologize and take responsibility for what you’ve done, being aware that you are in the wrong and most importantly, don’t be a dick.
You can see the interview here.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.