Tag Archive for Tony Kornheiser

A little this, a little that — Mionske on Kornheiser, a culture change at LADOT

It’s a Bicycling Bob Mionske Tax Day double-header.

First up, the Bike Lawyer explains how — and more importantly, where — you can legally ride side-by-side; turns out it’s only illegal in three states. And California isn’t one of them.

As an aside, the new LAPD bike training module that went online at the end of last month specifies that L.A. cyclists are allowed to ride two-abreast. So if a cop tells you otherwise, either he or she hasn’t finished the training — due to be competed by the end of this month — or wasn’t paying attention. But I wouldn’t recommend arguing the point. They have full discretion to handcuff you if they think it’s warranted or feel threatened; according to the Department, that isn’t going to change.

Next up, he takes up the recent Kornheiser dust up, in which the ESPN radio host suggested that drivers rough up riders just because, well, we deserve it. You know, because we wear Spandex and run red lights and stuff.

Yeah, that’s a good reason to assault and potentially injure or kill someone. Although I’ve never heard anyone call the countless short, fat and/or middle-aged guys in Lakers jerseys you see all over L.A. Kobe Bryant wannabes.

As usual, though, Mionske gets it right.

But what if the character’s wrath is directed at a group that has historically been the target of violence? Suppose, for example, that the character expresses his dislike of women by telling listeners to go home and beat their wives? Or to go out and find a stranger to rape? Is his act still funny? Or suppose he goes on a rant about how much he dislikes gays, and tells his listeners to go out cruising with some friends looking for gay men to bash—is it still humorous? What if the rant is urging listeners to burn down a synagogue? Or suppose the target of his wrath is African-Americans, and the radio personality is urging a lynching? Is anybody still laughing? 
Of course not (or at least I certainly hope not). Nobody would consider those to be jokes or satire or entertainment, because the subject matter of the alleged entertainment is indistinguishable from real acts of violence, historical and contemporary, threatened and actual…

Daily, cyclists have drinks lobbed at them, have doors maliciously opened by passing motorists, are run off the road, and even run down, simply because they are on a bike. Sometimes, they’re even “just tapped,” as ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser recently urged. Perhaps the most common threat of violence against cyclists is one we’re all too familiar with—the buzz, where the driver passes within inches of us at high speed. Occasionally, a driver may truly have miscalculated the distance, or just plain didn’t see the cyclist. More often, I believe, the driver is intentionally threatening the cyclist. You can be sure it’s intentional when the driver checks his rear-view mirror for your reaction. In fact, I’m convinced that some “accidents” are buzzes gone awry—the driver intended to scare the cyclist, but didn’t expect that the close pass would result in a collision. And New Zealand police say that drivers are intentionally targeting cyclists. I’m convinced that’s a problem that’s not just limited to New Zealand . It happens here too.

Personally, I think Lance let Tony off way too easy.

But as Mionske points out, unless the FCC suddenly starts taking action against out-of-control self-described comedians who incite violence — or station owners suddenly grow a pair and hold their employees accountable for what they say on the air, despite the profits they bring in — nothing is going to change.

That is, until one of their listeners actually follows through on this kind of talk. And that’s when a good lawyer — hello, Bob — will go after the misguided purveyors of this kind of crap.

And maybe then we’ll put an end to it once and for all.

……..

The latest email from the LACBC has some important notes.

(Speaking of notes, maybe the Bike Coalition could try putting a copy of these emails on the website, so people like me can link to them.)

First, the LACBC has posted a petition online telling Mayor Villaraigosa it’s time for a culture change at LADOT — or whatever agency replaces and/or absorbs LADOT, given the current budget issues.

As the petition points out, the agency has a long history of favoring vehicular traffic at the expense of other road users. And it’s long past time for a new approach that puts the city and its people ahead of the countless cars that are destroying it.

I urge you to sign it.

You’ll find my signature right there at #71. And no, you don’t have to make a donation, despite what the petition host implies.

Next, the state Assembly Transportation Committee is scheduled to hear Assembly Bill 1951, which would toughen penalties for careless drivers who injure other people.  There’s still time to fax a letter in support of the measure today to committee chairperson Bonnie Lowenthal at 916/319-2154; click the link for a sample letter.

……..

The driver who hit Louis “Birdman” Deliz last December and left him laying injured in the street goes on trial in Beverly Hills on the 23rd. Damien asks if street cleaning will be LADOT’s excuse to endlessly delay bike corrals. The Anonymous Cyclist offers a reminder about Good Sam’s Blessing of the Bicycles. The second annual Bike Day LA comes up on May 2nd. More on the TranspoComm’s approval of what could be the city’s first bike corral. Changing minds via the comment section in San Diego. A detailed look at why women bike, and why they don’t. Zeke encounters a jerk on his rear wheel; I’m envious of any road where you see just three cars in five miles. An Ohio congressman blames his recent anti-bike outburst on LaTourrette syndrome. A DC video shows how not to cut off a bike, while a nearby county replaces a crappy non-standard bike lane with crappy non-standard sharrows. The DC cyclist killed by an 11,000 pound National Guard truck during the recent Nuclear Summit was ruled collateral damage. A Virginia cyclist is killed after running a red light. The University of Colorado says don’t be a DIRC — Dangerous, Irresponsible Rider on Campus. After Arizona cyclists complain about a dusty detour, they get banned from the road. A Toronto mayoral candidate calls for a $20 to $30 annual registration fee for bikes. A first-hand report from a London cyclist on a deliberate attack by a road raging driver; the result was 6 months in jail and two-year ban on driving. Make your plans now for a two-month, 4,100 mile circumnavigation of the British coastline.

Finally, a writer in the Baltimore Sun says instead of a three-foot passing rule, bikes should be banned from some roadways; yeah, no point in requiring motorists to drive safely when you can blame their victims instead.

And I don’t need a mirror to know I’ve got two-plus tons of hulking, smog-belching steel behind me, thank you.

Kornheiser makes nice, Lance lets him off easy

Maybe they did a lot of talking offline, and ESPN personality Tony Kornheiser convinced Lance Armstrong just how sorry he was for urging motorists to run cyclists down with their cars.

And maybe Kornheiser truly is sorry. Maybe he meant it at the beginning of his broadcast when he reminded listeners not to take anything he says seriously.

Boys and girls, this is a comedy show. It is a often a show of outsize outrage, it is often a show of sarcasm, it is often a show of subversion. The only purpose in this show — and occasionally it’s even intellectual, occasionally, though that’s not the intent — the only reason this show exists is to entertain you and hopefully make you laugh.

But you’d think he would have enough sense to realize that some things just aren’t funny. And that some people take comments like that seriously — and I’m not talking about the reaction of the cycling community.

Especially since he says his own daughter sometimes rides a bike to work.

Personally, I think he needs a serious timeout, just like any other petulant child. And personally, I think Lance let him off way too easy.

But listen – and decide — for yourself.

Lance Armstrong on the Tony Kornheiser Show

Is it time for ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser to go?

Tony Kornheiser wants to run you down.

As noted at the end of this morning’s post, Kornheiser — former sports columnist for the Washington Post, and longtime host of Pardon the Interruption on ESPN and the Tony Kornheiser Show on Washington’s ESPN980, recently went off on a more than six minute anti-cyclist rant.

Evidently, he doesn’t have many listeners. Even though the show aired a week ago, it didn’t make any waves until word reached Lance Armstrong — who responded by tweeting his 2.4 million followers on Twitter, calling Kornheiser a “complete, f-ing idiot.”

And when Lance tweets, people listen.

The segment starts out as a rant against a planned bikeway on Pennsylvania Avenue. And quickly devolves into a vile condemnation of cyclists, including repeated suggestions to just run them over.

Yes, he actually urges his listeners to commit violence against another human being. Or rather, countless human beings, most of whom he has never met, and probably never will.

Yet he still wants to kill you. Or maim you. Or maybe just scare you and fuck up your bike, since he later backs off and says “So you tap them. I’m not saying kill them.”

In other words, he only wants his listeners to commit assault with a deadly weapon, not murder.

Well, thank God for that.

Of course, it’s still a crime to incite violence. Had he suggested that his listeners pull out a gun and shoot African Americans or Hispanics or Asians or Gays or Muslims, he would have been off the air in minutes.

And probably be standing before a judge before the day was over. Especially if anyone was fool enough to act on his suggestion.

But fortunately for him, he only suggested running down cyclists. Which makes it okay, I guess.

Now Lance says he just got off the phone with Kornheiser, who is “very sorry for his comments re: cyclists.”

Yeah, I’m sure he is.

So was Dr. Thompson after he was convicted. And I’m sure all those cyclists who have been the victims of road raging drivers take comfort in that.

Myself included.

Armstrong says he’s going on Kornheiser’s show in the morning to talk about it. If you want to listen in, you can hear it by clicking on the Listen Live tab at the ESPN980 website between 7 am and 10 am PDT.

Then again, if you’ve already had enough, you can tweet them at @ESPNRadio980 to express your displeasure, or call Red Zebra Broadcasting — owners of ESPN980 — at 301/562-3776. Or just email them through the station’s website; I already did.

And some people are already taking more direct action; however, despite my earlier comments, while Disney owns ESPN, they don’t own the radio station where Kornheiser made his comments.

We’ll have to see what he has to say to Lance tomorrow. And just how much he’s willing to work with local cyclists to make up for the damage he’s already caused.

My guess is, not much.

Or at least, not enough.

A little this, a little that — Sadik-Khan, Street Summit, bike stats, bike art, Lance rants

First up, drop whatever you had planned, and ride, walk, bus or drive to Occidental College for tonight’s lecture by Janette Sadik-Khan, New York’s Commissioner of Transportation.

This is the woman most responsible for transforming NYC from one of the most bike-hostile places on the planet to what is rapidly becoming one of the world’s most bike-friendly metropolises, adding 200 miles of bike lanes in just three years.

And afterwards, you can ride over to nearby Disney headquarters in Burbank to protest the on-air anti-bike rant from ESPN idiot commentator Tony Kornheiser (see below).

The lecture is the kickoff event for L.A. StreetSummit 2010, which resumes this Saturday at Downtown’s LA Trade Tech College.

On Saturday, you’ll have a chance to hear speakers including Carl Anthony of Breakthrough Communications, Charlie Gandy, the Mobility Coordinator currently transforming the City of Long Beach, and Lydia Avila of the East LA Community Corporation.

In this afternoon, you can attend three sets of workshops on subjects ranging from the new bike plan, CicLAvia, LACBC’s bike count and increasing diversity in the biking community. Along with about 26 others.

And I’ll be hosting a session on bikes and politics at 1pm:

Session 1: 1pm-1:50pm
Room: tba

Presenters:

Ted Rogers, LACBC Board Member and author of BikingInLA

David Vahedi, Attorney, co-founder of the Westside Neighborhood Council and recent candidate for the 5th Council District

Aurisha Smolarski, LACBCCampaigns and Communications Director

Marcel Porras, cyclist and Transportation Director for L.A.’s 13th City Council District

Kent Strumpell, 11th District representative for L.A.’s Bicycle Advisory Committee and member of the California Bicycle Coalition’s Legislative Committee

Short Summary:

The bicycling community is the sleeping giant of local politics, with an estimated 2.7 million cyclists in Los Angeles County. This informal discussion will explore how to wake that giant to make positive changes in our state and community, and offer an insider’s perspective on how bicyclists can impact the political process to influence elected officials and elect bike-friendly candidates.

I hope to see you there.

The organizers of StreetSummit are asking that each workshop be video recorded for future use; unfortunately, I don’t have a video camera. So if anyone would like to volunteer to record the session, just let me know.

………

Exactly what L.A. cyclists have been missing.

Bikeside’s LA Bike Map provides the city’s first searchable database enabling you to submit, track and study near misses, collisions, harassment and bike theft. This will give cyclists the information we need to spot and avoid dangerous areas, and argue for much needed road improvements and police protection.

And yes, the link will soon find a permanent prominent home over there on the right.

………

A suicidal cyclist riding the wrong way evidently picked a Desperate Housewives star to run into, judging by press reports. Shawn Pyfrom, who plays Andrew Van De Kamp on the show, was driving somewhere in the San Fernando Valley when an elderly man riding against traffic made a sudden turn into the path of his vehicle.

To his credit, Pyfrom reportedly assisted the bloodied biker until help could arrive, and no one has yet been cited by police.

However, it does beg the question of why a cyclist riding the wrong way — one of just 4% of local riders who risk their lives that way, according to the LACBC’s bike count, despite what many drivers will tell you — would turn directly into the path of what had to be a clearly visible oncoming vehicle.

Then again, so far, the only reports are coming from the actor’s publicists.

Maybe that explains it.

………

A couple quick notes from the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Over the course of the next four Saturdays, German artists Folke Koebberling and Martin Kaltwasser will dismantle an old car and turn it into two fully operational bicycles at the Bermot Station Arts Center.

And mark your calendar for the Cause for Creativity: Tour de Arts, Vol. 2 workshop, bike tour, exhibition and closing party on August 22nd.

………

A New York cyclist is knocked into a bus and killed after getting doored by a driver; as Cyclelicious points out in a well-deserved rant, at least some of the city’s press clearly doesn’t get it. One paper describes it as a freak accident and another — which evidently doesn’t know how to construct a sentence, had this to say:

Cops issued the unidentified driver of the Camry a summons, though it was not immediately clear why, police said.

Streetsblog reminds readers about the video from the Chicago Bicycle Program that explains how bikes and buses can safely share the roads; more important would be teaching drivers the dangers of opening their doors without looking.

………

BikesideLA tells the story of the Birdman, the survivor — barely — of yet another horrifying hit-and-run. Damien notes that authorities and the press blame once again blame the victim in a PCH hit-and-run; sort of like accidently shooting someone and blaming them for standing in front of your bullet. Another call on City Watch to dismantle LADOT. LACBC unveils the city’s first bike count, but doesn’t name the people who actually did it. DIY sharrows return to the streets of L.A., if not actually on the streets; the more or less true story behind the signs. Mega bike shop Perfomance Bicycle comes to Woodland Hills. A Cal State Fullerton cyclist examines fixies and their riders, and finds them lacking. The cyclist missing in Portland was found dead yesterday in the Willamette River; cause of death undetermined pending an autopsy. A great list of the top 10 rudest things a driver can do when encountering a cyclist. Bike Radar looks at why Florida is the nation’s most dangerous place for cyclists. The West Side Greenway in New York’s Battery Park City goes extremely high tech. Zeke takes an unexpected mostly pleasant, semi-frightening ride, only to discover Lance, Levi and Alberto are actually all good friends — and then he wakes up. London cyclists are asked about risk-taking behavior in an attempt to understand an unexpected spike in deaths; I’d start with the city’s truck drivers instead. Poland’s parliament considers making the country more bike friendly. Maybe this is why so many Dutch women ride.

Finally, Lance Armstrong calls ESPN radio host Tony Kornheiser a “complete f-ing idiot” for his recent remarks, including a suggestion that drivers should just run cyclists down. Consider this excerpt courtesy of Bike Radar:

“The last time I looked, the roads were made for automobiles…,” Kornheiser said. “We’re going to be dominated as if this was Beijing by hundreds of thousands of bicyclists …”

He’s no fan of cycling attire either, saying: “They all wear … my God … with the little water bottle in the back and the stupid hats and their shiny shorts. They are the same disgusting poseurs that in the middle of a snowstorm come out with cross-country skiing on your block. Run ‘em down.

“Let them use the right, I’m okay with that. I don’t take my car and ride on the sidewalk because I understand that’s not for my car… Why do these people think that these roads were built for bicycles? … They dare you to run them down.”

Lance calls the remarks “Disgusting, ignorant, foolish.” Or maybe he was referring to Kornheiser himself, who was recently suspended for making inappropriate remarks about a female co-worker’s attire.

Road.cc suggests tweeting your displeasure to @ESPNRadio980. Or maybe we should direct our anger to ESPN’s parent company, conveniently located right here in Burbank.

Update: Thanks to Todd Mumford for sending a link to the audio of Kornheiser’s rant; and yes, it’s even worse than I thought.

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