Friday 19 March 2010

Helping To Make Streets Even Less Safe: More Stupidity on the Airwaves

When I lived in Washington, DC, there was an incident when two DJs on the Clear Channel network suggested that running over cyclists was the best way to deal with them in traffic. There was a nationwide uproar about this and now it has happened again. A well-known sportscaster, Tony Kornheiser, talked about plans to put a major bike lane down Pennsylvania Avenue and, well, you guessed it, he says that cyclists should be run down since "roads are meant for cars." After the notorious case in California where a motorist slammed on his brakes, causing two cyclists to crash in order to "teach them a lesson," I am surprised that this kind of sentiment continues.  (The excerpt below is audio only.)

There has been an immediate and strong response from the cycling community, and Lance Armstrong called the sportscaster "an effing idiot' on Twitter.  Kornheiser has apparently apologized and Armstrong will actually be on his radio program this morning, I suppose making the argument that cyclists belong.

I find the War Between Drivers and Cyclists pretty pointless, since the same tired ideas are endlessly repeated, time and again.  Kornheiser wants to run over cyclists because:
  • When they ride three or four abreast in Rock Creek Park (Park!) it inconveniences him;
  • He doesn't drive his car on the sidewalk so cyclists shouldn't ride on the road;
  • Roads are for cars;
  • Cyclists are posers, with water bottles and helmets and shiny shorts;
  • Cyclists dominate the road. 
At least he didn't raise the "I see cyclists ride through red lights all the time!" and "I pay taxes" arguments.  Bicycle advocacy needs a stronger voice and it is encouraging that Lance Armstrong is stepping up on this one, although I am sure it will increase the number of listeners to Kornheiser's program.

You will find a very calm and intelligent rebuttal of Kornheiser's remarks in a video by Bob Roll here.

1 comment:

Lily on the Road said...

From what I've been reading, I understand his apology was quite sincere. However, it only takes one to fuel the fire of many.

Lance tried his best in the interview. Let's hope that this situation will be resolved soon.

Common courtesy in every facet of life has fallen by the wayside.