Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WNOU/Radio Now 100.9 DJ Allegedly Goes On Anti-Bicyclist Tirade

UPDATE: To be clear, this is all according to one source, who I agreed to give confidentiality to so I could report this. I was not able to confirm this with a second primary source before publishing. What you see after the "banner" is the story as it was originally published.


Local pop-music radio station WNOU 100.9 (better known as Radio Now) hosts the Scotty Davis Show, which is the station's morning show. A listener of the show e-mailed me concerning some comments Davis made about the bicycling community. In the end portion of a segment called "I Demand an Apology", where callers call in to rant about topics, Davis took to the airwaves to demand an apology from the city's bicyclists.

Davis demanded an apology from the city's bicyclist because they're "riding in the middle of the road, they have trails for that" and that he has "places to be." He goes on to say that he'd like to get behind a bicyclist while on a road, set his cruise control at five miles per hour, and yell at the cyclist such witty comments as "I have air conditioning" and "I spent my money on a car."

While there are some trails around the city, these trails are multi-use trails and only allow travel to certain points around the city. Furthermore, bicyclists and motor vehicles are supposed to share the road and follow all the same rules. This includes traveling in the middle of the lane, which is widely accepted to be the safest way for bicyclists to travel along with the motorists. This practice allows the bicyclists to assertively maintain his or her position, while a motorist can turn into an adjacent lane and pass the bicyclist if the motorist so desires and is able to safely

While there are legitimate complaints against some bicyclists, such as those that don't obey traffic light/sign stops, criticizing them for using the roadways properly is absurd and is not conductive when the city of Indianapolis is attempting to make the city more bicycle friendly.

I'll certainly let some of the bike friendly businesses I frequent know about this on-air tirade, and would appreciate them not advertising on WNOU.


  1. The issue of whether cyclists follow the rules of the road is the standard dilutant used for the cyclist vs motorist debate.

    It has no relevance to the issue at all. I cannot rob a bank because someone else did it too.

    The law is simple. A bicycle is a vehicle. All vehicle operators are to obey the law, are to operate their vehicle safely and not endanger anyone or anything.

    Motorists who crowd cyclists, yell at, throw things at, honk at, or spit at (yes, it's happened to me) them are in the wrong. They are legally being an aggressive driver.

    IC 9-21-8-55
    Aggressive driving
    Sec. 55. (a) This section does not apply to a law enforcement official engaged in the law enforcement official's official duties.
    (b) For purposes of this section, a person engages in aggressive driving if, during one (1) episode of continuous driving of a vehicle, the person does or commits at least three (3) of the following:

    (1) Following a vehicle too closely in violation of IC 9-21-8-14.
    (2) Unsafe operation of a vehicle in violation of IC 9-21-8-24.
    (3) Overtaking another vehicle on the right by driving off the roadway in violation of IC 9-21-8-6.
    (4) Unsafe stopping or slowing a vehicle in violation of IC 9-21-8-26.
    (5) Unnecessary sounding of the horn in violation of IC 9-19-5-2.
    (6) Failure to yield in violation of IC 9-21-8-29 through IC 9-21-8-34.
    (7) Failure to obey a traffic control device in violation of IC 9-21-8-41.
    (8) Driving at an unsafe speed in violation of IC 9-21-5.
    (9) Repeatedly flashing the vehicle's headlights.
    (c) A person who, with the intent to harass or intimidate a person in another vehicle, knowingly or intentionally engages in aggressive driving commits aggressive driving, a Class A misdemeanor, except as provided in IC 9-21-8-56(d), (f), (g), and (h).
    As added by P.L.75-2006, SEC.2. Amended by P.L.40-2007, SEC.5.

    Unfortunately, the Indiana General Assembly did see fit to deal with SB-361 and allowed it to die in committee earlier this year. So the '3-foot' safe passing law didn't get implemented.

    Even so, there are other Code provisions for safe 'overtaking' of vehicles that still DO apply to motorists passing bicycles.

    I came up with the following which I repeat to motorists when the situation arises:

    "It won't kill you to pass cyclists only when you can safely do so, but it can kill THEM if you don't."

    It's incredible to think they worry more about 'losing' 30 seconds of their time than a cyclist losing their life.

  2. DI, I was hoping you'd comment, since I often read about your thoughts on biking over at Ogden's blog.

    I've been fortunate enough to only get honked at a few times. I suppose someone did yell at me as well, but I couldn't tell what they were saying.

    And you are exactly right about the "loss" of time. I read a study several years back that morotists who swerve in and out of lanes, cut people off, and overall drive aggressively "save" two minutes of driving.

  3. Would you happen to know where we can get a clip of this segment, or perhaps be able to put us in touch with the reader who emailed you about this?

    INDYCOG would like to have a listen. :)

  4. Christopher,
    I promised my source confidentiality and I must respect that. However, I will send my source a link to your blog post, and let my source make the decision on contacting you or not.

    I'm certainly not calling for a boycott (I haven't listened to Radio Now for years, and never listened to them on their new frequency). I think the term has been grossly misused ever since the actual boycott of the Montgomery Bus System occurred.

    As for listening, I doubt audio archives, if they exist, are made public. If it is posted, it would liely be on the DJ page here:

  5. Completely understandable. I appreciate you passing along the word to your contact.

    Boycotting is strange to me. I'd much rather try to have a discussion with someone I feel is misguided, and I think you're feelings on the misuse of the terms are spot on. I'd go farther to say misuse of the practice. The Bus Boycott was out of necessity because a public discourse was non-existent. People just take directly to "boycotting" now, and it's mostly pointless.

    Anyway, digression aside, much thanks. I'm hoping I can find something or other of a primary source, because I would at least like to contact the station and Scotty regarding the remarks and how dangerous they are to cyclists and on a larger scale, to the progression of Indy as a city.

  6. I hope Davis was just having a bad day and regrets the hostility toward bikers he was promoting.

  7. Christopher, I know you Indy Cog people are all about open dialogue and all that jazz, and I appreciate that. I fully support it, but I'm covering this story from a different angle (reporting it).

    Unfortunately, I often don't have the luxury of double-checking with a variety of sources when accusations are made or when a story or event hits my desk. On more than one occasion I've e-mailed politicians and various groups seeking comment on this or that matter, and gotten nothing within a reasonable amount of time. And my contacts list isn't very thick in the first place, so it's hard to quickly and efficiently get confirmation on so-and-so topics. Then it comes down to either publish the story with only one source/one side of the story, or let the "news cycle" pass me by.

    However, you did remind me that I'm only working off of my source. I will edit the story to reflect that this is all according to one source and is in no way confirmed independently or otherwise at this time.


    Fortunately, Davis isn't a nationally syndicated talk show host with legions of followers. I'll be very surprised if anyone tries to carry out his behavior. But you're right. I hope he was just having a bad day, and that folks like those at Indy Cog can turn this into something positive.

  8. No worries, and I hope I didn't come off as though I was critiquing your reporting or anything. If I wasn't planning on contacting the station directly, I'd have made a similar post without double checking and such. It's only because I intend to contact the station directly, beyond simply reporting it, that I really want to get things straight before I take action.

    And honestly, if Scotty was nationally syndicated, this would already be a huge mess. Pretty recently actually, an ESPN radio anchor made similar statements about cyclists that turned into a huge national fiasco, to the point that even Lance Armstrong spoke out publicly against the anchor. There was such a comotion about it, the station forced him to make a public apology, and he even had Lance on to discuss things personally. Made much ado about it all.

    I really appreciate you reporting on this, man, and especially the conversation we've had here in light of it.

  9. You didn't, Chris, just thought I'd explain where I'm coming from.

    And thank you for running Indy Cog. You guys have got me to stop riding on the sidewalks.


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