Batman Ties Up Traffic In Fathers’ Rights Protest

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Speaking of bats (like I was Thursday), another one showed up today, this one on a highway sign over the M25 motorway in England, near Heathrow.  Dressed as Batman, 48-year-old Geoffrey Hibbert said he was roosting on the sign as part of a protest seeking more rights for fathers in family-law cases.  "I’m doing this for my daughter," Hibbert told the BBC on his Batphone.  "I’ll do my protest all day."  Though he was not actually blocking the roadway, traffic was reportedly backed up for miles as drivers gawked at a rare appearance of the Dark Knight in broad daylight.

Hibbert is part of the group "Fathers 4 Justice," which since 2002 has been protesting what its members see as unfair treatment of fathers in family-law courts.  It’s debatable, I suppose, whether or not the group’s publicity-seeking stunts, which generally involve someone in costume climbing something, are the best way to gain public support for the cause, but they are attention-getters, and comical ones.

Batman has appeared before in support of the group, such as when he perched on a ledge at Buckingham Palace, asking to see the Queen.  He also once spent three days on the roof of the Royal Courts of Justice (Robin was with him that time).  "Spiderman scales a crane at Tower Bridge . . . . Activist monks climb the roof of St. Paul’s . . . . 200 Father Christmases storm the lobby of the Lord Chancellor’s department.  The list of extraordinary protests is endless," notes the Fathers 4 Justice website.  They do conduct more ordinary protests on occasion.

At last report, the Batman on the M25 had either quietly vanished into the night, or been arrested by police (probably the latter), after tying up traffic for about seven hours.

A correction to yesterday’s Bat-post: a source who has been involved in bat-related-premises-liability litigation (a different case) has told me that it is at least possible to get rabies just from handling a bat, since the disease can be transmitted through saliva, and bats apparently clean themselves like cats do.  He said that expert bat-eradicators he contacted described this as "sticky bat" syndrome (although I was unable to confirm that as an official term).  Obviously that adds to the strength of the Utah plaintiff’s case.  In any event, please be aware that bat-handling should be avoided if at all possible, unless (or maybe especially) if the bat involved is somebody’s dad in a costume.

Link: BBC News