Streetsblog on the Air: KGO’s “Monty Show” Devolves Into Anti-Bike Rants

KGO 810’s “The Monty Show” was kind enough to invite me to speak this weekend as host Tim Montemayor took on the topic of bike/car relations in light of the recent truck crash that killed cyclist Amelie Le Moullac, the sentencing of Chris Bucchere, and confusion about right-of-way laws in bike lanes.

Radio show host Tim Montemayor. Photo: KGO

You can listen to the hour-long segment here — my interview goes from about 30:00 to 38:30. I touch on the lack of accountability for drivers who kill, the dangerous design of city streets, and the perception of people who bike as a monolithic group. Montemayor sets up the interview by quoting from my article covering Le Moullac’s crash.

The show got off to a decent enough start, as Montemayor seemed to be genuinely ready to probe matters of street safety as he discussed Le Moullac’s crash. “I’m not sure how you fix this problem,” he said. “I’m not sure how we, as a society, go about figuring out how to work together as motorists and cyclists, but it’s something we need to figure out because again, we had a horrific incident right in the city of San Francisco.”

But the tone of the show took a dark turn, especially after I got off the air, as Montemayor cheered on anti-bike rants from listeners who called in and let loose with misinformation about the Bucchere case and bicycling.

A couple of basic facts in need of checking: Montemayor spent a good amount of time repeating the claim that Bucchere rode a fixed-gear bike without brakes, which was false. He also egged on a ranting caller who claimed bicycle riders don’t pay for bike lanes. Not true — city streets are mostly paid for with general taxes, so drivers are subsidized by non-drivers.

There was also a stark difference between Montemayor’s assessment of the truck driver who killed Le Moullac — saying it doesn’t feel right to put him in jail, but doesn’t feel right to do nothing — and his judgment of Bucchere. “Cyclists have a massive sense of entitlement,” he said. “This guy Chris Bucchere is a perfect example… Nothing will change until you put a guy like Bucchere in prison — not in jail, in prison.” While Montemayor gave a knowing laugh later on when I pointed out that no one would judge everyone who drives based on the behavior of one motorist, he resumed the sneering about people who bike as the show reached its conclusion.

Take a listen through the call-in segment toward the end to hear Montemayor let the turn the show into, basically, a bike-hate fest bemoaning everything from the “capital offense” of removing car parking for safety improvements, to the lack of mandatory registration for bicycles (yes, this awful idea still comes up), to the baseless perception that police never ticket people on bikes.

  • Anonymous

    Dude drives in from the East Bay every day, and has only been living in the Bay Area for a couple years since being brought on to do sports reporting here. No surprise he takes his inspiration and views on bicycling and urbanism from 1990s shock jocks. Say goodbye to the youth demo, KGO.

  • Anonymous

    I see no reason to waste my time.

  • Sean Rea

    I’ll pass, I have no desire to needlessly raise my blood pressure.

  • Zack

    So basically just a radio version of the comment section of any cycling-related SFGate article? I’m more and more of the opinion that trying to reason with people like this using factual arguments is all just a big waste of time. They’re not the ones we need to be convincing and doing so only brings more undeserved attention their way.

  • Aaron gave some great answers and skillfully pivoted from Montemayor’s leading questions. If any thinking people listen to the show, he gave them something to chew on before the Neanderthals took over.

  • Anonymous

    This cycling fatality was withing a few doors of our former home in the East Bay Hills where m/c have enjoyed high speed racing for years. I predicted this death but OPD would not and could not do anything. After the fatality, no field sobriety was conducted, the m/c was returned and disposed of and no charges were ever filed. This problem is near universal, and I do not know what the solution is other than spreading the word, acting like a village, and hoping citizens can be more alert, considerate and not “become raging cars”, merging with their vehicles with a “make my day” attitude. RIP Ed Weiss.

    http://www.insidebayarea.com/oaklandtribune/ci_6487853

  • mikesonn

    When the only people listening are old car drivers…

  • Heck yeah cyclists get tickets! I ran a stop sign and got one. But I learned my lesson: Stop if there’s anyone to stop for [I already knew that part], or IF COPS ARE WATCHING.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn’t listen to the whole thing but I gotta at least give Monty credit for even understanding and articulating the right turn law properly (starting at 18:18), something that CBS5 fumbled in their piece. The callers, on the other hand, are a perfect case study of dashboard perspective and confirmation bias.

  • Anonymous

    Great interview, by the way. Probably more class, nuance and intelligence than that show knew what to do with.

  • Say goodbye to the youth demo, KGO.

    Thing is, 0 – 0 = 0

  • Anonymous

    no kidding, who newspapers first, radio is next.

  • Anonymous

    what a shock! a talk radio host who is an asshole! WHO TOLD.

  • Anonymous

    Without cars, radio is dead. It’s the only place people listen.

  • Sprague

    Good job in the interview, Aaron. You persuasively illuminated the connection between road design and unsafe vehicle speeds.

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