“Agony Aunt Extraordinaire” Tina Koumarianos went unchallenged on national radio this morning when she said on RTE Radio 1 that motorists share stories of wanting to run cyclists off the road.
“People don’t talk about this because it’s not very PC to slam cyclists but… not publicly, but everybody to each other says ‘I felt like running them off the road’,” said Koumarianos, who is also the social editor of Image magazine.
Presenter and well-known broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan, acting as a summer host on the John Murray Show, only told Koumarianos that her blog post on image.ie about cyclists was “a great article”.
Earlier in the interview Koumarianos blamed cyclists on narrow roads in the Wicklow area for drivers illegally overtaking on blind corners “out of frustration”. She wants packs of cyclists to cycle singe file — although cyclist groups point out this is more dangerous as groups of cyclists would be much longer and it encourages overtaking where there’s not enough room.
She also said, “The only thing a bad cyclist makes is a good organ donor,” saying to the presenter “but you don’t want to go there”. O’Callaghan agreed she did not want the interview to go in that direction.
Koumarianos said she was not against cyclists but a lot lacked road manners.
The agony aunt was on the show in the context of her blog post “rant” about cyclists, and the news of a planned introduction of on-the-spot fines for cyclists. The fines will not change the rules of the road, covering only current rules such as breaking red lights, but she said she wanted cycling two abreast fined — although is very much so legal and allowed by the rules of the road.
When O’Callaghan read out a listener comment explaining that cyclists on country roads cycle two abreast because motorists driving “up on top” cyclists at 40 miles per hour asking, “do [the motorists] get banned?”, Koumarianos responds by laughing and saying that the motorist “should get banned for holding up the traffic.”
MORE: “Dangerous cycling” on the John Murray Show
COMMENT: Talking about injuring or killing people goes way beyond PC
Image magazine staff writer Tina Koumarianos thinks people don’t openly talk about running cyclists off the road because of politically correctness. At best she is being naive and flippant about an action which would injure or kill cyclists.
It’s not about being PC, normally the national broadcaster is expected to change people when they say they want to act out in a way which is likely to lead to serious injury or death.
Koumarianos’ blog post, headed “Rant: Spandex Bums“, ends by saying “Although we [motorists] do try to be polite, it is two way traffic and you [cyclists] are the poor relation.”
We’re not sure how the people who — according to Koumariano — think of apparent homicidal thoughts just because somebody slows them down come out as as the better relation. Having homicidal thoughts and never speaking about them is one thing, but having them while driving vehicles which can be easily be intentional or unintentional weapons is another matter and then broadcast that on national radio shows a complete lack of understand or any sympathy for victims of road traffic collisions or their families.
If you live in an area which you know is popular with “racing cyclist” and which has narrow windy roads the simple solution against road rage is leaving for work early so you don’t drive around feeling like running over people.
Koumarianos seems to think there’s a tax called “road tax” — there’s no such tax. Motorists do, however, pay motor tax based on emission or engine size. While cyclists don’t have engines, even if they were to “pay their way” based on emission proportionally to the emissions from cars it would be a useless tax which would cost more than it would take in.
If commuters who drive half way across counties to get to work paid a “minimal road tax” on a proportion bases, they would be paying a lot more. The reality is commuter cyclists who are also motorists and car owners disproportionally pay more than motorists who commute by car every day — the motorist who cycles is still paying the same rate of motor tax but is polluting less and doing far less wear and tear damage to the roads.
“Anyway, you easy riders out there, give a thought to us mere mortals who pay a fortune to swan around in our little tin boxes; we pay to use the road,” says Koumarianos. This seems to be based on the idea that cyclists are not also motorists — when most are, as shown in this (really unscientific internet) poll showing 91.56% of cyclists are also motorists.
Regardless of polls, a very high percentage of cyclists spinning around Wicklow will also own cars.
Again showing a complete lack of understanding of other road users Koumarianos also writes that it’s “not playing fair” and “not permissible, no matter how annoyed one gets … a cyclist kicking the side of a car or banging on a bonnet when vexed.” The usual reason for a cyclist to bang on the side of a car is to warn the motorist that they are about to crush somebody or knock them over, or sometimes after a near miss out of anger that the motorists nearly did crush them. But that point would likely be lost on somebody who speaks out on national radio about day dreaming of knocking people off the road.
This person is obviously off her rockers to say the least. Making a statement like “The only thing a bad cyclist makes is a good organ donor” is near criminal in my eyes.
Good comments Cian as ever! The Dublin Cycling Campaign or Cyclist.ie will complain to Press Ombudsman, I’m sure – any advice you can offer there, please email me. Best, Will
You need to get out more! chill out!