Cyclists rage over 'open season' rant

DAMAGE CONTROL: TeamTalk managing director of publicity David Ware says his anti-cyclist diatribe was a joke.
DAMAGE CONTROL: TeamTalk managing director of publicity David Ware says his anti-cyclist diatribe was a joke.

A Wellington businessman who declared "open season" on cyclists is on the lookout for a helmet to protect himself from fellow bike riders who he says ''have no sense of humour.'' 

In an in-house article recently written to his clients, TeamTalk managing director of publicity David Ware described cyclists as "sodding road vermin", "roadkill" and "weasels in Lycra". 

"It's time to declare open season," he wrote.

He now wants to become Wellington's most low-key cyclist while the polemics surrounding tongue-in-cheek comments against cyclists rage on.

Mr Ware said as a cyclist himself, most of his clients knew he was ''taking the mickey out of myself.''

''It's staggers me that I'm trying to be ironic and take the mickey out of the situation ... but a lot of my fellow cyclists have not be able to see the funny side,'' Mr Ware said. 

He had been astounded at the level of vitriol his comments had evoked in his emails.

''Someone in South Africa wrote saying I was an idiot. One guy emailed me saying he hoped I got run over by a bus. Worst of all, though, someone else called me a New Zealand First supporter. 

''Another guy said tell us what you drive so we can keep an eye out for you. This whole thing has staggered me.

''I'm an overweight middle-aged businessman in my 50s and I find it amazing people take anything I say in my newsletter seriously.

''There are cyclists out there who are taking what I say literally,'' Mr Ware said.

In his newsletter to staff and clients, Mr Ware wrote the unbridled arrogance of cyclists got right up his nose.  

"Unlike the rest of us they don't pay road user charges or extra ACC premiums. But in spite of being guests on our roads they think they have some God given right to ride wherever they bloody well please, whenever they please."

Elaborating on his newsletter comments, Mr Ware pleaded with cycling readers to chill out.

''Please realise this is p...take. I don't want to wind this thing up any more.''

He wanted people to know he was definitely not involved in a physical 'jihad-type' struggle against his fellow cyclists. 

He had no interest in becoming Wellington's new shock-jock by usurping Gareth Morgan in an anti-cat advocacy-type role.

Meanwhile, Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley said the trucking industry would like to see the wearing of high-visibility vests made compulsory for cyclists. 

"Road safety is the responsibility of all road users. Cyclists have to play their part by making themselves as visible as possible," Mr Shirley said.

Contact Tim Donoghue
General reporter

Twitter: @timdonoghuenz


The Dominion Post