“You Would Just Love to Lob Something at Their Heads”

The troubled relationship between cars and bikes is an old topic, but that hasn’t stopped it from being a hot one on the Streetsblog Network and around the web in general this week. And it’s not going to go away any time soon.

315234532_8217647d81.jpgWhat it looks like when everyone tries to do the right thing. Photo by bicyclesonly via Flickr.

This week the hostility that is so often simmering beneath the surface came to an ugly boil in Detroit. Deminski & Doyle,
shock jocks on local radio station WCSX, broadcast a segment in which
they ridiculed a new law in Colorado requiring that drivers give
cyclists three feet of clearance on roadways.

They seem to have gotten the idea to talk about this from a USA Today article that mostly portrays cyclists in Boulder County as overprivileged recreational road hogs (bike commuters in this often bike-friendly part of the world get nary a mention).

We first heard about the Deminski & Doyle segment from Bike Portland‘s Twitter feed, which linked to this conversation
about the episode on the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition
Google group, which in turn links to plenty of related material,
including ways to contact station management to protest. If you want
your blood pressure to go up pretty rapidly, you can listen to the
radio piece here. If you’d like to spare yourself the stress, here’s a choice excerpt:

How many people have seen a bicyclist and you would just love
to lob something at their heads. Because — no, seriously, I’m not
condoning it, I’m not saying that we do it, but I’m just saying, hasn’t
the thought gone through your head? Because seriously, how selfishly do
some of these people ride their bikes?

One
of the DJs also refers to wanting to "go Grand Theft Auto" on cyclists,
quickly covering himself by saying that, of course you can’t do that.
Unless, of course, you do.

You
can just imagine the drivetime crowd listening to this stuff while
they’re stuck in traffic, pounding the wheel and shouting "Hell, yeah!"
Dangerous stuff. And it’s nothing new — Bike Portland fought this battle a couple of years back. The same hateful rhetoric springs up on newspaper websites every time a cyclist is killed by a motor vehicle.

But it points up the reality that all cyclists — recreational and commuter — are increasingly having to reckon with. We are getting more legal protections. Our numbers are growing — to the point that we can create our own traffic jams occasionally. The absurdity of a petition drive like the one in Iowa calling for the banning of cyclists on farm-to-market roads is more evident. And as our status as outlaws and weirdos slowly changes, as more bike infrastructure is built, our riding habits are coming under increasing scrutiny.

The
hate-filled spew of Delinski & Doyle and their ilk is truly
loathsome. But we have to face the reality that bicyclists who ride
with reckless disregard for the law only feed the beast.

9 thoughts on “You Would Just Love to Lob Something at Their Heads”

  1. Maybe it’s that my neighbors are cool people, or that I always ride unique looking bikes – but I haven’t had a problem with a motorist in Lincoln Heights for a long time now.

    Ignorant bastards with radio shows targeted at trapped commuters not withstanding, I think we are all collectively pedaling into the mainstream.

  2. I stopped listening to morning show / DJ talk radio something like 10+ years ago, and I have never regretted it. I prefer to spend my car time getting informed about what’s going on in the world by NPR, rather than listening to utter morons makes stupid jokes and poorly-conceived ridiculous statements. The statements mentioned in this blog post are just as poorly thought out as any others I have heard from such shows, and therefore I don’t consider them that big a deal in and of themselves, as I realize the DJs probably didn’t give them more than a few seconds thought before spewing them over the radio waves.

    Obviously, the problem is that the country is filled with people who do listen to this crap, and some of them are stupid enough to actually agree with the on-air idiots. The only real solution is to have someone who knows what they are talking about explain the situation on the same radio show, so that the same audience that was contaminated with misinformation can be educated.

    Someone ought to volunteer to call in and have a conversation with these guys on the air.

  3. How many people have seen a bicyclist driver and you would just love to lob something at their heads. Because — no, seriously, I’m not condoning it, I’m not saying that we do it, but I’m just saying, hasn’t the thought gone through your head? Because seriously, how selfishly do some of these people ride drive their bikes cars?

    Fixed.

  4. The problem is the private auto. It was forced on us. It is not a good idea. It never was. It will never peacefully coexist with bicycles or pedestrians. It won’t coexist with itself. It is a threat to the biosphere. It causes war. Its time is up.

    The solution is free public transit.

  5. I just listened to the clip and they were doing a funny rap on cyclists taking themselves way too seriously. I think this blog post proves they were right.

  6. You know, I used to think that everybody, no matter what mode of transportation they choose to get around with, has the best of intentions and a few bad apples ruin it for everyone else. After driving around today I am convinced it’s *everybody* who is fucking up.

    Just in the past 15 minutes I saw two examples, a cyclist and a driver, of bad behavior.

    One is the audacity of those driver to not even stop at a red before making a right hand turn. They don’t even make a rolling stop! This is in broad daylight. Does anyone have any fear of a citation?

    The other was this professional looking cyclist, you know, the whole uniform and all, blowing through a four way stop. At the next signal he decides to go on a red, however it turned green when he was in the middle of the intersection.

    I have to go walk to the Rapid stop now. I’ll let you know if pedestrians are fucking up too.

  7. Spokker! Stop bothering those people. You were supposed to be home two days ago to wash the dishes, and now I’m eating straight out of the cat food cans again. Ah, where did I go wrong…?

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