State broadcaster RTE is under fire for airing a “disgusting” display of casual hate of cyclists on its long-running flagship chat show, the Late Late Show, last night.
Headline guest Liam Neeson talked fondly about cycling around Dublin. But — in a segment between headline guests — three other guests were given the chance to “bin” their pet peeves, in a mini-copy of the hit BBC programme Room 101.
“I like cycling but one thing that gets me is [cyclists] three or four abreast” said Maura Derrane, an RTE presenter on a different show, Today with Maura and Daithí.
Late Late Show presenter Ryan Tubridy asked: “Side-by-side?” and Derrane continued: “Yeah and on a country road where there’s no need, because are you in competition with a car? You’re never going to be faster.”
She added: “It’s nearly like they do it it to piss people off and they look back and go:”
Derrane said that she “liked cyclists” but wanted to bin “arrogant cyclists”.
When another of the three guests told a story of how he recently gave a wide berth of a bicycle he thought had a baby on board but only was actually a carpenter with tools, Derrane said that child-carrying bicycles are “are dangerous, they scare me.”
Ryan Tubridy asked the audience: “Arrogant cyclists going along at two or three abreast are we throwing them in the bin?” and a large percentage of them raised their hands and applauded as Derrane dropped a symbolic bicycle helmet in a bin.
Cycling campaigners said today that comments are not founded in law, that cycling two abreast is perfectly legal behaviour and it is often safer than having a long string of single-file cyclists.
Kieran Ryan of the Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “Her use of the totally subjective term ‘arrogant’ is dangerous, because who’s to know what some drivers interpret as arrogant behaviour? For Maura, simply being delayed by cyclists while driving appears to mean that those cyclists are ‘arrogant’.”
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He told IrishCycle.com: “The real danger is that last night’s Late Late Show segment normalises the a already prevalent attitude that cyclists are just a nuisance on our roads, rather than individual, vulnerable people who need to be shown way more respect by drivers than they currently are shown, regardless of whether or not those drivers think the cyclists have ‘earned’ the respect.”
On Facebook last night the campaign said: “We are absolutely appalled by the disgusting display of casual cyclist hatred on last night’s Late Late Show on RTE.”
“15 people died while cycling last year, many of them on the country roads which Maura Derrane seems not to have sufficient patience to drive on.”
It added: “We strongly condemn this dangerous endorsement of a wreckless, if not hateful, attitude towards cyclists by the national broadcasting service.”
On Twitter, Cycling Ireland — the sporting cycling body, said: “This causal incitement of hatred must stop. It’s too regularly entertained and not helpful in light of the @HealthyIreland drive for a more active nation, creating division and animosity&will ultimately lead to a drop in participation of one of the few life-long activities. Stop.”
Ciaran Cannon minister of state at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: “Had a lot of respect for you as a broadcaster @MauraDerrane until you chose to vilify some of our most vulnerable road users on @rte last night. 15 cyclists died on our roads last year, 10 of them on rural roads & you chose to deliberately undermine the safety of many more.”
Minister Cannon added: “This act of throwing a cyclist’s helmet in a bin was deeply offensive to the families of those 15 cyclists killed on our roads last year. Serious misjudgment on the part of the @latelateshow team and Ryan thought it appropriate to applaud.”
— Dublin Cycling (@dublincycling) January 12, 2018