Newstalk FM breakfast presenter Paul Williams said this morning that if a cyclist touches his car mirror “me and the cyclist are going to have a serious crash” and adds: “…you have been warned.”
The show was covering cycling safety. Despite international evidence indicating that “risky cycling rarely to blame for bike accident“, parts of the show implied otherwise.
Williams (pictured right above) said: “If some cyclist comes up and starts to pull my mirror on my car than me and the cyclist are going to have a serious crash and he won’t have to worry about banging into my car a second time I tell you.”
Fellow presenter Shane Coleman tries to interject saying “I’m not sure…” but Williams keeps taking and says “…you have been warned.”
Coleman had been just explaining how a taxi driver verbally threaten his son when he was cycling to school and had to cycle into the middle of the lane in order to turn right.
Williams seemed to be responding to a text message read out on air a few moments before from a driver who complained that when he was driving in Dublin recently that a cyclists knocked on his van and complained the driver was not giving him enough space when overtaking.
The Dublin Cycling Campaign and Cyclist.ie were asked for a comment but have yet to reply. On Twitter the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “We are deeply disturbed by the coverage of cycling on this morning’s Newstalk Breakfast show, especially this threat issued by a presenter.”
On Facebook the campaign expanded and said: “We are deeply disturbed by the coverage that cycling received on this morning’s Newstalk Breakfast show, especially this perceived threat issued by presenter Paul Williams. Utterances such as this are profoundly irresponsible and may be interpreted by some as justification for aggressive behaviour towards people on bicycles.”
It’s pathetic – what is this 1984 with it’s Two Minutes Hate? (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Minutes_Hate)
“perceived threat”? Someone who thinks they are justified in attacking a person with deadly force because they touched their car has severe mental problems and should be locked up. Someone who doesn’t think that but says it because they think generating controversy is good for their career is just a piece of shit who should be starved of attention (and food I guess after they can’t get any work).
This guy has form on this topic. He is pretty much a rightwing blowhard who thinks he is a hard man and who frequently shoots his mouth off without engaging his brain, not that that is an excuse. At least Shane Coleman had the good grace to be somewhat shocked and irritated by Williams nonsense, and offered some defense of cyclists.
ps. I stopped listening to Newstalk a long time ago because of crap like this. Looks like there is no reason to reconsider that decision. I can remember when they used to be a decent source of news.
It means that Williams drives around fantasising about killing people with his car. The man drives near schools. He is clearly a danger to children.
I’d ignore this. I hear a small bit of this show while I am shaving and the two boys sound like immature lads on a bar stool waiting for the nice but dim buddy Quinny to join them. Awful
Everyone’s a hero in their little tin box aren’t they? Cyclists don’t just randomly attack wing mirrors for no good reason. It’s fight or flight, both of which can be expressed as aggression in the heat of the moment.
People need to complain about this!
email@example.com or http://www.bai.ie/en/viewers-listeners/complaints/
This narrative around cyclists is developing into hate speach. It is dangerous and needs to be addressed.
Paul Williams is probably best known as a crime correspondent , maybe if he is short of ideas he could write an item about goons who threaten bodily injury to people who annoy car drivers.
I just sent a complaint to Newstalk. I think that this is worth doing. If even a few dozen people send in complaint letters, there might be a reaction.
I also complained to Newstalk. Should be complaints made against George Hook also.
I have initiated a formal complaint to BAI this morning. Newstalk has ‘form’ on cyclist-hating discussions and interviewers showing their personal bias against people who cycle and with cycling.
If you want to listen back, the podcast is on the link below. The relevant piece is about 2/3rds in:
I went to the Newstalk website and made a complaint about the segment. This is the exchange:
I’d like to know what sort of action you will be taking against your employee, Paul Williams, who apparently thinks it reasonable to threaten violence against people on bikes whilst driving his car. By being able to air such opinions on public airwaves lends his pitiful opinions gravitas that they don’t deserve. I would hope that Mr Williams will be forced to make a public apology for his disgraceful showing this morning 22 May 2017.
Your email and comment has been logged and noted. All feedback and comment to the show is important and informs the decision making process on the programme.
In relation to your complaint, the comments in which you refer were made in the course of a discussion after an item on cycle safety and what needs to be done to reduce the number of fatalities on our roads. This took place on Monday 22nd May.
The presenters, Shane Coleman and Paul Williams, gave differing viewpoints on both the behavior of drivers and of cyclists. As you will have heard, Shane Coleman was defending cyclists and highlighting the poor behavior of some motorists. Paul Williams offered a differing view. Combined the presenters conducted a balanced discussion.
During the course of this discussion, language was used by Paul Williams which some interpreted as condoning violence between road users. This was not the intention of the piece or the presenter. A clarification was planned to be made on Tuesday May 23th but given the terror attack in Manchester, it was not appropriate on this date. At the next available opportunity, at approximately 7.50am on Wednesday May 24th, Paul Williams clarified his comments and unequivocally stated that he does not condone violence towards cyclists or among any users of the road and stated that his use of language was unfortunate.
The programme strives to achieve balance in relation to all matters, including this one. Both presenters regularly cycle and have stated this on many occasions. Certain points have been made in relation to the behavior and actions of motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and all road users. On occasion our presenters have disagreed but there has always been balance to the discussion.
Eric Moylan | Editor, Newstalk Breakfast
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Thank you for the reply.
For the record I do not agree that just because there is an ‘opposing’ view to something which is totally unacceptable, it somehow balances out. The unacceptable view is just that – unacceptable. The views expressed by Mr Williams were made on-air. Views expressed on-air reach a large audience and have more of a gravitas than something said down at the pub. Having someone else express views which are not unacceptable doesn’t balance anything.
I appreciate that Mr Williams made a clarification statement. I haven’t personally heard this, however, from your summary it doesn’t sound like he apologized. Will Mr Williams be making an apology on-air?
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Dear Mr. Wolf,
I mentioned balance because it is important that we foster debate and discussion. The context of this piece was how to improve safety on our roads. Paul Williams expressed a view that cyclists could do more on this measure. Shane Coleman strongly contended this and expressed a view that cyclists are unfairly singled out at times.
In relation to the comments made by Paul Williams, it was acknowledged that they were inappropriate. Hence why a clear statement was made that said violence is not acceptable in this or any other situation.
If you would like to listen back to the show you can do so on newstalk.com.