Tell ABC (TV): Swerving at Cyclists “Just to Scare Them” is No Joke

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, one of our Wisconsin Bike Fed Board members was watching ABC’s sitcom, Black-ish while eating dinner. Our board member nearly choked on her food when she heard the mom character, Bow, tell her husband she “swerved at cyclist just to scare them.”  The dad, Dre, replied that she was “finally at his level” and affirmed she was still a better person than he was. They then both laughed at her confessing she’d done it “several times.”

Anyone who has ridden on Wisconsin roads knows this is a regular occurrence. Of course, it’s not just in Wisconsin, we know it happens everywhere. Threatening someone’s life with a vehicle is a crime. Doing so for fun is not a joke. Even when the vehicle doesn’t make impact with a person on a bike, just the threat can injure or kill a person who attempts to quickly move off the road onto uneven pavement or unpaved surfaces. With this single joke, ABC just normalized the act of threatening a person with a vehicle to its 11.8 million viewer base, and millions more in internet replay.

The Wisconsin Bike Fed strongly condemns the reckless and socially irresponsible “joke” ABC so flippantly aired on April 9th. We are asking ABC to retract the episode, and create a public service announcement campaign.

Here’s where you and anyone who cares about safely riding their bike on roads can sign our petition, asking ABC to:


1. Remove the episode from internet viewing services, or, edit the episode to remove this “joke”.

2. Produce and air an education campaign to undo the certain damage they’ve done to the safety of every person who bikes on roads. This public service message should:

A. give people biking 3 or more feet of clearance when passing (required by law in most states) and

B. communicate the act of threatening any person walking or biking with a vehicle is a crime.


Sign the Petition


Lastly, if you feel so compelled, please also make a donation or become a member to the Wisconsin Bike Fed. We promise to continue to help make Wisconsin the best place to ride your bike.


5 thoughts on “Tell ABC (TV): Swerving at Cyclists “Just to Scare Them” is No Joke

  1. Along the same lines, the morning show on Milwaukee’s 96.5 WKLH regularly runs a commercial that encourages reckless driving. Doreen’s commercial – this is locally produced – jokes about “driving with my knees.”

    Reckless Wisconsin drivers kill people every day, and yet this morning show – and other media outlets in Milwaukee – routinely joke about how cool it is to drive in an irresponsible manner. They literally do this several times per day!

    Thanks to the WI Bike Fed for calling out the TV network. It’s an uphill battle, but with all the people getting killed by cars, someone should speak up.

    • Thanks Lance, we will continue to be a voice of reason to encourage both riders and drivers to share the road and obey laws to keep everyone safe. Thanks for the heads up, we’ll listen for it.

  2. 25 years ago on a wide street a car swerved at me from behind knocking off a mirror from my Road Bicycle as I was riding within less than 3 feet of the curb. That is why I have mirrors on my bicycles/tricycles to see the cars coming. Since then, I slap the vehicles hard with my left hand…all the cars speed up and drive off as fast as possible – maybe it was a “Hit And Run” – the drivers do not stop to check if I am okay. I have a friend that carries a small screwdriver for such situations…we were riding single file – I saw him reach out when a car passed us within 1 foot…he put a bumper to bumper scratch on the side of a $140,000 Black Mercedes Benz that continued speed away. Here is what really experienced cyclists know that bicycled in heavy motor vehicle traffic. I have spoken to numerous local, state and national bicycle organizations and the State DOT, DMV, Traffic Control Authority – I came to realize – these organization and their people do not get it either and are just as clueless…stop preaching to the bicycle choir about safety – we get it…start telling vehicle drivers how to interact with bicyclists on the roads…that would improve the situation greatly. We cyclists when driving our motor vehicles always give cyclists on the road extra benefits of safety. I saw that episode…it really angered me…it was not funny; however, the audiences laughed or it was a laugh track…

  3. I love the show; but this joke demeans it.
    Cyclists are extremely vulnerable out there; encouraging lethal behavior is beneath you.

  4. While we’re at it, how about calling out Delta Faucet for their latest ad, “Shield Yourself”, for their Shieldspray technology kitchen faucet?  The ad opens with a head-on shot of a car, just barely three three feet away from a female on her bicycle, driving through a puddle and spraying water all over the cyclist.  Now I know it’s staged for an ad and all that, but it’s still a real douchebag move on the part of the vehicle operator, and I think Delta Faucet should at least be made aware that portraying this goes against all rules of the road as well as common courtesy.

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