Jeremy Clarkson has launched an angry tirade against Jeremy Vine after his former BBC colleague posted a video showing him being confronted by a motorist. Clarkson accused the journalist of acting in a “sanctimonious” manner by slowing down while riding on a London street and filming an altercation with a driver.
The former Top Gear host suggested it was “selfish” of Vine to cycle in the middle of the narrow road – something the Radio 2 host and keen cyclist said he had to do to avoid being hit by motorists opening car doors. Clarkson’s comments come days after Mr Vine uploaded a video of a row with a “dangerous” driver which happened in Kensington last Friday.
In the footage, Vine is seen cycling through the prosperous area before slowing to a halt in the middle of the road when a driver beeps her horn from behind him. The video then shows the driver flying into a rage, with a brief tussle ensuing before the woman allegedly telling Vine: “I’ll knock you out”.
But writing in his column in The Sun, Clarkson criticised his former BBC co-worker for the altercation.
Last weekend, while driving through the Cotswolds, I found myself stuck behind two cyclists who were riding alongside one another. Of course they were.
Elevated these days to godlike status by modern environmental thinking, cyclists are propelled from place to place on a wave of self-righteousness and a pious belief that they’re the new knights of the road.
Five days later, near the South Coast, the same thing happened again, only this time it was a lone cyclist, his gnarled and nut-brown thighs beating out a Victorian rhythm as he crawled slowly up the hill, proud that behind his wizened, Lycra- clad buttocks there was a queue of cars stretching half way to Dover.
Then in London, we have hundreds of them, ignoring the new multi-million pound cycle lane on the Embankment so they can make a nuisance of themselves on the main carriageway.
There was a time when you could take these morons to task. You could shake your fist and shout and point out that it’s absurd for a fully grown adult to be playing in public on what is a kids’ toy. But not any more…
Today they all wear helmet cameras to record your rage. Then, when they get home, they upload it to YouTube and you’re made to look like a short-tempered fool. Which brings me to the BBC radio presenter, and keen cyclist, Jeremy Vine, who this week uploaded some footage of a woman who’d become frustrated with his slow progress through Kensington, West London.
In it, he can be seen cycling down the middle of the road, deliberately blocking the cars in his wake, and when one gets too close he stops — still in the middle of the road — so he can record the woman driver’s foul-mouthed tirade. The message is clear. He’s been verbally assaulted while on a noble quest to save the polar bear.
But hang on a minute, Vine. How did you know that the woman in the car behind wasn’t rushing to see her injured child in hospital? How did you know there wasn’t a pregnant girl on the back seat who was about to give birth? Can you imagine how frustrating it would be to be stuck behind a sanctimonious cyclist when you really are in a genuine, tearing hurry? Vine says he was cycling in the middle of the road because that way he’s unlikely to be hit by people opening their car doors without looking.
Really? Because if safety is your number one priority, why are you wearing a helmet festooned with GoPros? Are you not aware that it was, in all probability, a camera attached to Michael Schumacher’s helmet that caused his terrible head injuries? In fact, if safety is your number one priority, why are you on a bicycle in the first place?
Of course, it is not illegal to cycle slowly down the middle of a narrow street. But it is selfish and annoying for everyone else. How would he like it, I wonder, if I followed him around for a month, blowing gently on the back of his ears? That’s not illegal either, but after a few days I’m sure he’d turn round and have a strong word.
I may try it.