Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 7th, 2009 at 9:34 am
A radio station in Detroit Michigan aired very dangerous and inflammatory remarks against people who ride bikes during a morning talk show yesterday (listen/download mp3 here). The situation reminds me of when a similar incident occurred on a local Portland station back in July 2006.
“How many people have seen a bicyclist and you would just love to lob something at their heads…”
— WCSX radio show host
In Detroit, on the Deminski and Doyle morning show on WCSX, Jeff Deminski and Bill Doyle shared their feelings about sharing the road with bike riders. The nearly eight minute segment was shockingly anti-bike. The segment aired as a response to a recent article in USA Today outlining how more and more states across the country have passed laws to protect people who are riding bikes.
During the WCSX broadcast, one of the two hosts says:
“…honest to god, how many people have seen a bicyclist and you would just love to lob something at their heads. 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?”
The host gets very angry and upset at what he perceives as “arrogance” by people on bikes (he clearly has some personal issues about his own health in relation to fit bike riders) who ride in the road:
“…It’s just flat out arrogance… they will ride as if they’re a car right in the dead center of the lane just to be a pain in the ass. I have seen this time and time again, and — ooohhh, god — you just want to go Grand Theft Auto on them when you see that, you really do.”
And that’s just the start. The segment is pretty shocking to listen to.
And of course, as proof that this type of thing emboldens dangerous behavior, the people who call in are just as bad, if not worse. Here’s what one listener who drives a big truck with a trailer says:
“… I want to do 45mph an hour but I can’t do 45mph when they’re half way in the middle of the road, because if I hit ’em, like the guy said, that’d be manslaughter…”
[As if the manslaughter charge wasn’t there, he’d just go right ahead and hit them?]
We all know that unfortunately these kind of attitudes exist. Reading them in hate-filled blog comments is one thing, but having a well-known radio station broadcast this type of thing is completely unacceptable.
Detroit resident Dave Fanslow (who gave us the original tip on the show) emailed BikePortland a link to the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition’s response to the show. A complaint has been filed with the FCC (however, given that no profanity was used, it is very unlikely the FCC will be able to do anything).
When something similar (although not as egregious in my opinion) happened in Portland, the host and the station manager apologized and tried to make amends. The offending host went on a bike ride with a reporter from the Willamette Week (and the resulting article was interesting) and the station manager negotiated a donation with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (what became of that, I was never told).
If anyone in the Detroit area wants more information on how we dealt with this in Portland, read through the 14 stories we published about it.