Late Late Show ‘incited hatred’ towards cyclists, claims group

Cycling campaigners lodge ‘serious complaint’ with RTÉ over segment on show

The Dublin Cycling Campaign have made an official complaint to the BAI over a segment on The Late Late Show, in which panelists were invited to put something they dislike "in the bin" - TV host Maura Derrane chose "arrogant cyclists". Video: RTÉ

 

A cycling group has lodged a “serious complaint” with RTÉ over a comparison between cyclists and “farm animals” made during a segment of Friday’s Late Late Show.

The Dublin Cycling Campaign took issue with comments made during the ‘Bin It!’ section of the show which it said “could be seen as inciting prejudice or hatred towards all people who cycle”.

The conversation in question was sparked by RTÉ presenter Maura Derrane’s observation that people cycling “three or four abreast” on country roads “bothers” her.

“It’s almost to piss people off that they do it,” added the Today with Maura and Daithi host, who further maligned the “arrogant” behaviour of some cyclists.

Her comments prompted a further observation from social media personality James Kavanagh, who equated cyclists to sheep and cows. “They’re like farm animals, sheep or cows or whatever and they don’t move, cyclists are like that as well.”

Author Eoin Colfer then relayed an anecdote about seeing a carpenter being given a wide berth on a city street by motorists because they were under the misapprehension that he was carrying a baby in his bike-mounted work basket.

Late Late Show host Ryan Tubridy then asked the audience whether a helmet as representative of people cycling “two or three abreast” on city streets should be consigned to a prop bin as part of the segment, which was greeted by raucous applause.

In its statement released on Sunday, the Dublin Cycling Campaign referenced contributions from all three guests as potentially inciting prejudice or hatred towards cyclists.

In particular, it noted that Mr Tubridy failed to challenge assertions that cyclists deliberately obstruct the passage of vehicles, and that he and the rest of the panel laughed at Mr Kavanagh’s “farm animals” remark.

It was added that Mr Colfer’s story “inferred that people who are not carrying children on their bikes are less deserving of space and respect than those carrying children”, and that the symbolic act of throwing the helmet in a bin equated cyclists “to trash or something disposable”.

The group articulated its belief that the minute-and-a-half-long segment contravened Principle 5 of the code of standards of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) which stipulates that programme material “shall not stigmatise, support or condone discrimination or incite hatred against persons or groups in society”.

The complaint was initially lodged with RTÉ in the expectation that the station will air an apology or a corrective segment “on the many benefits of cycling” on next week’s Late Late Show. Failing this, the Dublin Cycling Campaign said it is prepared to submit an official grievance to the BAI.

Responding to a request for comment, a spokesman for RTÉ said the item in question was “light-hearted”.

Maura Derrane prefaced her comments by saying that she herself likes cycling and she was speaking about a particular type of behaviour she had observed, namely cyclists riding ‘three or four’ abreast on country roads,” he added.