Blog swaps cycle incident for rape

Last updated 05:00 11/07/2014

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Waikato police are appalled by a blog post which altered a news article about a fatal cycle accident to read like a story about rape, but the author says victim-blaming is the link between the two.

The post is an altered New Zealand Herald article on the accident which killed Margaret Mary Pouw at the intersection of Morrinsville and Matangi roads on the outskirts of Hamilton on Monday.

Changes made by author Max Dillon Coyle include swapping references to "hitting" with "raping".

He said this was because the victim-blaming in sexual abuse and accidents involving a cyclist was equally bad and a change in perspective was needed.

Coyle, a one-time Green Party candidate who has since left the party, stood by his analogy.

"If you're going to say something and have it be heard, then it's important that it makes an impact," he said.

"Why would I take it [the post] down? The police would need to take me to court."

Waikato police district commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said that was the aim.

"On behalf of [rape] victims we're going to go searching and we're going to go looking hard in all the legislation . . . to see if we can hold these actions to account," he said.

"That's my promise to him."

The post trivialised the major issue of rape and would also revictimise those involved with Monday's accident, he said.

"If there's one shred of decency in him, take it down."

There were plenty of other avenues for people like Coyle to get their point across - although Bird found it difficult to determine the aim of the post.

Coyle said it was about "wanting to change the perspective around the way that cyclists are continually being slaughtered and the . . . manslaughterers are being let off".

Cyclists were "blamed and shamed for being killed" and there was no culpability of road planning at local and national government level, he said.

Part of the original Herald article was a message from police about high visibility gear and Coyle said that sent the message: "It's your fault if you don't have an extra light on your bike when you get killed."

Waikato police communications manager Andrew McAlley pointed to the original police press release.

It included a quote from district road policing manager, inspector Freda Grace, saying investigations weren't about laying blame. "They're about establishing cause so we can work at preventing a repeat of what happened."

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