Recently there was a bit of an uproar over commenets made by two disc jockeys in the Birmingham, Alabama area. These comments, which basically suggested that it "would be funny" for motorists to run cyclists off the road or "send them flying over the handlebars" generated quite an uproar in the Birmingham cycling community. The post below was sent out by the President of the Birmingham Bicycle Club:
BBC members and Birmingham Cycling Community:
As most of you are well aware, there were some regrettable comments made by talk show hosts on WJOX last Thursday (3/19/09) regarding, and according to some accounts advocating, violence toward cyclists. While I personally did not hear the show, there is little doubt that the hosts exhibited very poor judgment, at best. As president of BBC, I have filed a complaint with the FCC regarding this incident.
In response to a barrage of email and telephone comments from outraged cyclists and listeners, the station has since made 4 on-the-air apologies. They are airing a public service discussion on cycling safety today at 11:00 am. BBC member and attorney Danny Feldman will be a guest on the show Friday. See below for details.
Based on the communications I have been involved in, I believe that the cycling community has made its thoughts known. I do not feel that more emails on this matter would necessarily be productive. However, should you choose to communicate with WJOX, or to otherwise air your opinion on this issue, please remember that your comments reflect all of us. While it is inexcusable that a talk show host advocate unlawful violence against anyone, confrontational communications are not productive. We have seen cyclist versus motorist issues flare up in the past and get out of control. Nobody wins. Please choose your words carefully.
I was given the opportunity to be on the radio last Friday March 27 and spoke for about 10 minutes on the serious consequences cyclists face when they are struck by motorized vehicles. You can listen to the interview by going to our website at www.LFLMlaw.com.
Both disc jockeys (off the air when we talked briefly before and after the interview) stated that they had prefaced their original comments with words to the effect of "assuming the cyclist did not get hurt." Whether this is true or not, I do not know as I have not heard the original comments. That being said, both of these guys readily admitted, both on and off air that their comments were inappropriate, uneducated and ignorant and that they were sorry for making them. The radio station (WJOX) also purchased PSA (public service announcements regarding "sharing the road") and spent some money sponsoring some upcoming local cycling events. In short, I believe that the local cycling communities’ vocal and immediate outcry and the station’s reaction to same turned a negative incident into a positive one.
Over the next few weeks, I will blog about some particularly dangerous motorist behavior as it relates to bicycle versus motor vehicle incidents. Then I will turn to irresponsible and careless cycling behavior that also contributes to bicycle versus motor vehicle wrecks and accidents.