"They Have to Do the Right Thing or Else They’re Going to Get Killed"

pintektonight_650x2001.jpgMike Pintek of Pittsburgh radio station KDKA. (Photo: KDKA)

Last year, we posted a piece about a couple of shock jocks in Detroit who thought it was funny to talk about throwing things at bicyclists.

This year, the hateful talk is coming over the airwaves from Pittsburgh.

Streetsblog Network member blog Reimagine an Urban Paradise has been following the story of a Pittsburgh DJ, Mike Pintek of KDKA, who made some ugly remarks about being "tempted" to hit people on bikes with his car. The audio has been taken down, but here’s a partial transcript of what Pintek said from Reimagine’s author, Lolly:

"There are some bicyclists who are just these arrogant little dorks that think they can do anything they want because they’re on a bicycle and ‘we’re being green and environmentally friendly’…

"I have been thoroughly tempted — I haven’t done it ’cause I’m not going to do it — I’m not that kind of person…but I have been so tempted to just bump ’em.

"I have been so tempted to pull up behind them when they’re doing this — you know spread out across the road — put my car in neutral, jam the accelerator down, race the engine and scare the living crap out of them.

"They’ve got to stop being so arrogant about what they’re doing. They’ve got to obey the rules. They have to do the right thing or else they’re going to get killed."

This all is playing out in a city where several bicyclists have been attacked in recent weeks by gangs of kids, as reported by Bike PGH.

Reimagine’s Lolly has this to say about what she thinks the consequences should be for the DJ:

Driver’s licenses are a privilege, not a right and if a person announces their desire to use their vehicle as a weapon, they should lose their license. If they use their job to incite others to commit violence, they should lose that job.

She also notes that in the case of a San Francisco driver who allegedly did target people on bikes and used his vehicle as a weapon, the charges are felony attempted murder.

PGH Is a City and WWVB have more. Apparently Pintek is going to talk about what he said on his show today. We’ll keep an eye on it.

On another note entirely, we’d like to thank the folks at the Top Online Engineering Degree blog for including Streetsblog.net on their list of Top 50 Blogs for Civil Engineers to Read. It’s a terrific list that we’re looking forward to digging into. You should definitely check it out. And we’re honored to be included.

  • Bryant

    This is simply reprehensible. The continued level of road rage directed at cyclists, and the sense of entitlement by some automobile drivers, is simply mind-boggling in this country. Owning a two-ton hunk of rolling metal and glass does not give you the right to threaten and kill anyone who chooses to get around by other means.

    Perhaps prosecuting this D.J. isn’t the right course of action, but bicycle and pedestrian groups should at least pursue options such as letter-writing campaigns to the station demanding his termination and boycotting his sponsors.

  • What if he had said they were going to take guns to other radio djs who are so arrogant, and think they own the airwaves? Take the bullets out of the gun, but put it up to their face and tell them to get down and then pull the trigger so it clicks. NO SHOOTING Just to ‘click’ them. and then just ‘bump’ them with the butt of the gun? “They’ve got to stop being so arrogant about what they’re doing. They’ve got to obey the rules. They have to do the right thing or else they’re going to get killed.”

    If the same is said with a different weapon, somehow its more of a threat?

  • Mr. Pintek had better “do the right thing” when he’s behind the wheel of his car. If he assaults cyclists the way Dr. Christopher Thompson did, he’ll be sentenced to five years in prison.

  • Andy

    People like Mike Pintek are the reason why I bike. I don’t want to end up like him, and so far I’m doing great.

  • I think one of the biggest points highlighted by his comments is that people who drive realize that automobiles make the roads dangerous, yet many of them feel like it’s the responsibility of the vulnerable road users to protect themselves, not the responsibility of those with the ability to do damage to use the roads carefully.

    Our laws and legal proceedings often reinforce this idea, and I think that is one of the major things that is going to need changing before a large number of people are going to feel like giving up a car for a less-protected means of getting around.

  • C Cotter

    I wonder how safe Mr Pintak would feel if the driver of a semi truck posted this about him?

  • Rob

    Shock Jock radio is a dangerous thing. I’ve learned that they have no interest in a reasonable adult conversation on any topic. The harder you push back, the more they and their followers get riled up.

  • MJ

    He should be suspended and investigated. This is no different than when Mark Madden made a joke about Ted Kennedy being assassinated.

    Actually, this is worse … Pintek is ultimately considering manslaughter.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    One should never condone or advocate violence and for doing so Mike Pintek should lose his job like the other radio blabber mouths who have spoken ill of cyclists in the past.

    However I do agree with one of his statements. “They’ve got to obey the rules. They have to do the right thing or else they’re going to get killed.”

    Now there is the question of whether or not he understands what the rules are regarding bicycles (yes a cyclist can take the lane under a variety of circumstances and the driver behind must wait his turn). Still, wherever I go, I constantly see cyclists doing all sorts of stupid and often willfully reckless illegal behavior. If these maneuvers were replicated on any variety of motorized vehicle the carnage would be stupefying.

    I wouldn’t doubt that there is plenty of illegal cycling going on by locals to give Mike Pintek all the ammunition he feels he needs to make such reprehensible statements.

  • Phil

    “I have been thoroughly tempted — I haven’t done it ’cause I’m not going to do it — I’m not that kind of person…but I have been so tempted to just bump ‘em.

    “I have been so tempted to pull up behind them when they’re doing this — you know spread out across the road — put my car in neutral, jam the accelerator down, race the engine and scare the living crap out of them.

    If he tried to pull that cowardly behavior with me, he’d be in for a really rude surprise.

  • eLK

    Unfortunately this is just a desperate man with no ideas and a desire for attention and fame. Hate is easy. Blame others. Take no responsibility.

  • David

    Pintek is likely a seasoned broadcaster with questionable ethics interested in keeping his listeners in a froth. That’s what people like this, in this profession, do.

    However, why should he be prosecuted or otherwise punished for talking about something he’s tempted to do? After he’s explicitly said that he would not do it? Is that what you really want?

    Wouldn’t it be better to get an articulate and debate-seasoned spokesperson for bicyclists’ rights an on-the-air interview? Take this as an opportunity for discussion and education?

    Anyway, if you really feel the need to punish this guy, write to all the sponsors of his show (which none of you listen to, I’m sure, so this is a moot point) and tell them you’ll no longer be visiting/buying/using their services because they advertise on Mike Pintek’s show.

  • J

    John Henry,

    I couldn’t have said it better.

  • Andrew Oakland

    It’s always amusing to me when guys with cherubic countenances, nebish haircuts, and doughy physiques refer to cyclists as “dorks”.

  • maybe one day Streetsblog will take to task cowardly cycling ‘advocates’ like Dave “Beat the crap out of those bikers” Moulton, too.

  • matt

    i’ve recently taken to showing my bmw key (always in my pocket with my house keys) to drivers who give me a hard time on the roads – you know the scenario; pull along side you and mouth off about cyclists blah blah. we get this in london anyway. informing them that not only do i pay vehicle taxes but that i drive a nicer car than them seems to take the wind out of their sails.

  • David

    I am amazed at people who create imaginary road laws. Bicycles are granted the same rights and responsibilities as a car or motorcycle in all fifty states. I ride at least 6k miles per year and most drivers are polite but a few yell at me to get on the sidewalk. In most cities, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk is illegal. We even had a local sheriff stop a group ride and assert that we weren’t allowed to ride on his road. Fortunately, our group our of cyclist included an off duty police officer, retired state trooper, and a few lawyers. The resulting conversation was amusing.

  • IsaacB

    It’s noble of Pintek to blame it all on cyclists’ “dangerous” behavior. I’ve been on the road (on a bicycle, in a car or walking) and seen bicycles doing the wrong thing. So, when Pintek calls attention to cyclists riding multi-abreast oblivious to traffic, it gives me pause. But I happen to be a cyclist who always signals. Always. Always observes signals. Always uses the correct lane. Never goes the wrong way. Yet, for all my discipline, I’ve been beeped at gratuitously. I’ve been shouted at. I’ve been cut off. I’ve had solids and liquids thrown at me. I’ve been told to get off the road. Riding the right way did not keep Stan Oldak, one of the most disciplined riders I’ve known from being run down and left for dead. Pintek is vermin.

  • Phil also

    Please correct me if I’m wrong. If bicyclists do not pay taxes for road use through the purchases of tires, gas, plates, etc. Then what “right” do they have to use them? If then, they do not, but are permitted to use them anyway, shouldn’t they give automobiles the right of way since they have “paid” for the use of the roads? It’s just something that I’ve been wondering for a while. Before you all flame me for this, I regularly ride my bike to work.

  • JamesR

    [i]If bicyclists do not pay taxes for road use through the purchases of tires, gas, plates, etc. Then what “right” do they have to use them? If then, they do not, but are permitted to use them anyway, shouldn’t they give automobiles the right of way since they have “paid” for the use of the roads?[/i]

    Oh, no he di’nt.

    This argument is the multi-headed hydra that will not die. For starters, local roads are almost always funded through the general municipal fund, not dedicated gas taxes. Last I checked, you won’t find bicycles on Interstate highwaysSecondly, the level of road wear caused by 4,000+ lb vehicles is several orders of magnitude greater than that of a 25lb bicycle. I know you’re playing devil’s advocate, but this meme must die at all costs.

  • chris

    I ran into a guy the other day that went flying by me at about 60 in a 25 about a foot away. so i stayed cool calm collect… then chased his ass down. I gave him a piece of my mind when he was stopped and was close enough to see that he had an open container in his car. What he was doing was being a dick on purpose. What this DJ was talking about already happens everywhere we go on our bikes. People are going to come close to hitting us going over twice the speedlimit just because they think they can. Its little patience and a lack of understanding. What i propose is a list, or a website, where all of these hot headed motorists get put on. Get plate numbers, makes of cars stuff like that and post it. If we get enough on there it will stirr stuff up and will hopefully detract other people from following in their footsteps. Im not saying to do anything with the information. just good old fashioned public redicule.

  • Doc

    What about pedestrians? Will you scare the crap out of the little old ladies trying to get across Fifth Avenue too? You’re a pathetic piece of crap, Pintak.

  • Doc

    Oops. Pin-tek. You’re still a jerk.

  • Matthew

    @Chris – there is a site for this already.
    Check out http://www.roadguardian.com, This site is good for tracking this kind of thing, and it needs more people using it to be effective.
    Also check out http://www.mybikelane.com.

    Also, Pintak is a PinHead.

    Cyclist do not need pinheads authorizing other pinheads to attack people

  • Rebecca

    @ Phil also: Cyclists *do* pay for the right to ride on the roadway. Aside from the fact that most cyclists are also drivers and therefore pay gas taxes and vehicle registration, those funds pay very little of local roadways. Local roadways, on which over 99% of all bicycle traffic occurs, are paid for by property and sales taxes, which all cyclists pay. And, aside from that, they are *public* roadways, on which cyclists and pedestrians are welcome. The myth that drivers have more of a right to the roadway is just that: a myth.

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