"Point-making" rider hits back at Jeremy Clarkson

TV presenter lambasts rider for following advice of training bodies, IAM, TfL etc

by John Stevenson   January 13, 2014  

Jeremy Clarkson tweets about a point-maker

What do you do if you're a cyclist who Jeremy Clarkson has accused on Twitter of "point-making" because you took the lane to protect yourself from being passed dangerously? You take to the internet and set the record straight in great detail.

That’s what a user of the forums over on mountain bike site Singletrackworld did when Clarkson posted a snap of him behaving perfectly legally on Twitter last week.

Here's Clarkson's intitial post:

Unsurprisingly, a few cyclists responded that he was using a mobile phone to take a picture while in control of a vehicle and therefore possibly committing an offence himself.

Many also responded that the narrowness of the road meant the rider was doing exactly what Bikeability, the Institute of Advanced Motoring and even Transport for London recommend: taking the lane.

Clarkson implied that the rider was making a point because he'd sworn at drivers who tried to overtake him:

Your usual Twitterstorm ensued, with Clarkson's more petrolhead followers wishing death to anyone on two wheels while cyclists tried to point out that the rider was doing nothing wrong. As usual it got heated.

Discussion spread to the always-lively forums on Singletrackworld.com, where user Itsme posted this lengthy account of what happened:

Right then, from the horses mouth so to speak.......

I was riding home from work (this is one of my regular routes) down Sloane Avenue in Chelsea towards Sloane Square. As I approached this island at the junction of Ixworth Street, a Range Rover over took me, because he had to veer left to avoid hitting the island I got pushed owards the kerb.

Sloane Ave

There was no point to this pass as there was slow moving traffic a little bit further down the road.

Now I was pretty cheesed off with this and most of you will know a close pass starts pumping adrenaline. Sloane Ave is a nice flat road and it's really easy to keep up with the trafic and just past the island I was keeping pace with the Range Rover, the driver was looking in his N/S door mirror giving the 'stare'. I admit that I was fairly vocal at this point and shouted 'What? you f*****g c**k, f****** knobstick' not much of an insult but I was too riled up to think straight.

As we approached the junction with Cadogan Street the traffic started slowing so I moved to the middle of the road to overtake. As I passed the Range Rover the window started to come down and a few words were exchanged by both of us as I passed (I can't remember what, I don't think it was as bad as the first reaction though as I tend to calm down fairly quickly). I then kept up with the traffic for the rest of Sloane Ave, and then in to Draycott Place which is quite narrow for a two way road.

Draycott Place

Keeping up with the traffic in Draycott Place is easy as well, and as I approached the crossing at the end someone was waiting to cross so I stopped (I always do this, and stop at red lights as well believe it or not!), before it, and not on the crossing as some have suggested.

The junction

I was turning right at this junction to go down to Sloane Square, so as I moved off I was positioning myself for this.

At the junction I looked behind me and saw Jeremy Clarkson just pulling up behind me with his head and arm out of the window, holding his phone and shouting 'gotcha' and looking well smug with himself. He was driving, and there was nobody else in the car. I got off my bike and pushed it back to his car and pointed out that he was overtaking me going in to a hazard, and made me change course. He just kept shouting increduously 'you were four feet from the kerb, but you were four feet from the kerb, I'm a cyclist and you were four feet from the kerb!'.

After a couple of attempts to explain to him why I thought he was wrong I gave up as he just kept shouting, I then rode off. Throughout this exchange I stayed reasonably calm.

At no time did I abuse any other road user or pedestrian on my journey home.

What JC's pic on twitter doesn't show is how much traffic was about at the time. Before I stopped at the crossing the junction was busy, and the traffic was queing all the way down to Sloane Square. I was probably well on my way to Parliament Square by the time JC got through Sloane Square. The ambulance wasn't parked either, it was moving.

Thanks for your patience reading my longest ever post!

Among the many who responded to Clarkson was Radio Two presenter Jeremy Vine, who pointed out: "He has every right - you muppet". 

This morning the Daily Mail posted an essay by Vine on the dangers of cycling on London's roads, and the Twitterstorm he online argument he and Clarkson sparked. The permanently angry attitude of many drivers is a very real problem, he says.

Vine writes: "On Twitter such a spat is entertaining. But take that hostility on to the road — put that angry mind in charge of a metal hulk on four wheels or even 12 — and it becomes a threat to the life of any cyclists."

64 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Guyz2010 wrote:

I genuinely think the cyclist, for the sake of all cyclists, needs to chill out on the bike and just let the faster cars go then pass them quietly when they get queued up.

I genuinely think that you have got not even the beginnings of a clue. Nowhere in this story is there the suggestion that there were cars "queued up" behind the rider.

Guyz2010 wrote:

Defensive riding I agree with but aggressive riding has no place.

Placing yourself clearly in the primary position as this cyclist did in a narrow lane is not aggressive. It's defensive and assertive.

Guyz2010 wrote:

I'm a cyclist by the way.

LOL. That's apparently exactly what Clarkson said. Evidently he, like you, has never taken a Bikeability course or equivalent. You should try some training like that... seriously.

posted by Ush [377 posts]
13th January 2014 - 23:03

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So Boris's network of quietways aren't so great.

posted by deblemund [62 posts]
13th January 2014 - 23:03

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Guyz2010 wrote:
And to lambast other cyclists....passed a cyclist on Dartmoor stopped in the middle of the lane on the brow of a hill next to an off road parking area swigging a drink. So inconsiderate and foolish I couldn't believe it.
Same morning I struggle to pass two cyclists on their Sunday ride the first was ok but his mate on a level road, was more interested in chatting whilst careering over more than half the lane at about 5mph. He didn't appear to be considering any other road users.
Last night, cyclist dressed head to foot in black with poor lighting, no reflective trim at all, out for his road ride in the country. I could barely see him myself from my bike, from a car doing sixty he wouldn't stand a chance.
Come on folks we don't need to give motorist an excuse!

I've no doubt you're a cyclist but trust me it is very different cycling in London to Dartmoor (yes I have done both). Clarkson has thrown fuel on the "us and them" divide which makes him more than a bit of a tool given his position of influence, which at the end of the day is tax payer subsidised, courtesy of the BBC.
I do sincerely hope he comes under a lot of pressure to do some cycle training in London and then perhaps he might not be such a sanctimonious twitter twat.

posted by arfa [445 posts]
13th January 2014 - 23:12

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So the odious JC has committed a traffic offence, using a cellphone while driving, and publicised it. Umm, perhaps Stumpy or the Cycling Silk can let us know how this offence can be reported to the police.

I was overtaking another cyclist this evening and was overtaken by a prat in a van who then cut in, forcing me to swerve. I continued taking the lane and slowed to make a right turn, with the car driver behind me then beeping his horn. So I had two drivers in quick succession who had no idea of what they're supposed to do and why what I was doing was right. I'd have caught them both up at the next set of lights if I'd continued on the main road, because there was a long queu. That's the problem with so many dickheads inc ars, they don't see all they're doing is rushing to get to the same place in the end of the queue a bit quicker.

I ride a bicycle (well, 3 actually), I drive a car and I've got two motorbikes.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2130 posts]
13th January 2014 - 23:34

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userfriendly wrote:
Let's face it, a lot of people are seriously fucked up in the head. There are two solutions I can think of - one, a new kind of fascism where we round up everyone with a below average IQ and intern them in camps, or two, at least don't allow them to drive cars.

Rolling On The Floor *googles IQ* Rolling On The Floor

posted by teaboy [149 posts]
14th January 2014 - 0:07

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Ahhh, things must have been quiet for our Jezza. Posting a pic taken whilst driving, publicising it. Ohhh he must be relishing in all that free publicity and oxygen we've given him. The man is no fool. He has cleverly manipulated a situation to his own narcissistic ends.

When will we learn not to stoke his ego. I suggest a total media ban on all things Clarkson. That should sort him out.

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posted by giff77 [1036 posts]
14th January 2014 - 0:30

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Peter Walker in the Guardian has penned a fine analysis of the situation: it's about the safest position on the road for cyclists, not some numpty that happens to present a t.v. program:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2014/jan/13/jeremy-clar...

posted by Ush [377 posts]
14th January 2014 - 1:38

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Taking the lane has dangers where ever you ride and no matter how assertive you are (and after 30 years of motorcycle riding, I can 'do' assertive).

I live on a hill, in a seaside town in the South West of England. To get into my road I have to make a right turn from a busy 30 mph feeder road into a housing estate.

Despite 'taking the lane', and at times riding more or less on the white lines, due to parked cars on the left, I have lost count of the number of times I have been overtaken by cars, even when I have my right arm out to indicate my intention to turn right.

Too many drives in too much of a hurry and completely ignorant of what I am doing and why.

posted by Grubbythumb [28 posts]
14th January 2014 - 9:05

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Ush wrote:
eurotrash wrote:
Super Domestique wrote:
How exciting!

Not the story but the fact I used to live on that road Laughing


Are you a bajillionaire? Thinking

He didn't say it was in a house Smile

A mere and humble studio flat. Plus we are talking about 15 years ago.

Cool

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
14th January 2014 - 9:34

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seven wrote:
AyBee wrote:
"taking the lane" is for safety, not controlling other cars because you, in your own opinion, "can keep up with traffic". Complete non-story because we only have one side of it...

Keeping up with traffic is not a matter of "opinion". You're either moving at the same speed as the other traffic, or you're not. And taking the lane is absolutely for safety BECAUSE it is a method of controlling the behaviour of following traffic; the two are not mutually exclusive.


Of course it is, I've sat behind people who sit in the middle of the lane because they think they're keeping up with traffic only to get annoyed because they're holding me up (I'm talking cyclist vs cyclist here). There's a fine line between taking the lane for safety and holding up traffic, I can't see JC getting annoyed with a bike that had a car infont of it because he'd have had nowhere to go once he'd got past (JC isn't stupid) and the article quite clearly (from the rider's view) states that JC was behind him down all those roads he named. Sounds very much to me like he was "taking the lane" when it would have been perfectly easy to move over and let him through. Let's face it, cycling is so much quicker than driving in London so let him overtake and then go past with a smug face when he gets caught up in traffic.

posted by AyBee [58 posts]
14th January 2014 - 11:10

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Tony wrote:
Has anyone asked why Clarkson needed to use such a wide, lane hogging vehicle to transport just himself around London? If he'd been on something sensible for a single adult, like a bicycle for example, he would have had no problem. Its just his fixation on lugging three tonnes of metal and five empty seats around with him when he's on his own that is causing his problem.

Please tell me you're joking?! We all love bikes here which is why we're on here, but JC lives in the Cotswolds, riding a bike into London is not practical from there. Think before you type stupid things!

posted by AyBee [58 posts]
14th January 2014 - 11:13

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AyBee wrote:
Please tell me you're joking?! We all love bikes here which is why we're on here, but JC lives in the Cotswolds, riding a bike into London is not practical from there.

What about his place on the Isle of Man? Does he not live there?

What about the penthouse he owns that he uses when he is in London for filming?

Or the flat he bought after he got caught cheating on his missus?

What about perhaps using one of his other vehicles?

AyBee wrote:
Think before you type stupid things!

Hmmm.

posted by farrell [1289 posts]
14th January 2014 - 11:43

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AyBee wrote:
cycling is so much quicker than driving in London so let him overtake and then go past with a smug face when he gets caught up in traffic.

Except on my daily route cycle where cars always overtake me - despite me assertively taking primary - on a small uphill after a traffic light.

What's really annoying is 50 metres later the road narrows, parked cars on both sides, modern cars too wide for our roads means the car that just revved past me is now stuck while he gingerly squeezes past the equally stuck oncoming traffic. The oncoming traffic can't move until the next sequence of lights so Mr Impatient has cost me five minutes for insisting on overtaking me.

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posted by Username [47 posts]
14th January 2014 - 12:20

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hmmm, Jeremy seems to be in need of a publicity boost for some reason, suckered everyone into shouting his name again.

DevonJohn

posted by solkanofastera [24 posts]
14th January 2014 - 12:40

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Opinions opinions opinions. Course riding on Dartmoor isn't like London. Did I ever say it was. Step outside the box for minute....I'm saying as a cyclist some cyclists are overtly aggressive. Bit like the road raging big mouth who shot off at Clarkson.

posted by Guyz2010 [280 posts]
14th January 2014 - 13:03

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dafyddp wrote:
As you'd expect, Vine's Daily Mail article comments are something else.

Even some of the Pro-cycling lobby are right of Farage "This environmental claptrap has been one of the most significant reason that many men don't cycle - who wants to be motivated by limp-wristed reasons like that. Cycling is about keeping fit, going fast, getting somewhere, saving money and starving the tax-grubbing government of its iniquitous parking fees and fines, and its beats jogging."

I couldn't agree more with the main point and the promotion of cycling. People's interest in being environmentally friendly is massively over-rated. They pay lip service to it but very few are committed enough to make any lifestyle sacrifices for it. I commute to work on a bike. 20 miles each way on nice days or bike and train from just over half way if I'm pushed for time and it's grotty. People are interested in the fact that I mostly cycle when I have perfectly nice cars to drive. I really don't care that it is good for the environment. That just happens to be the case and it's great of course. But I'd cycle if it was bad for the environment because I like cycling.

OK so some people might not like cycling quite as much as me. I'll tell you what impresses people is cost. My trip costs nothing if I cycle all the way both ways. It's £4 for half way on the train. Time wise it takes me around 1hr 15min each way on the bike or 45 - 50 mins if I bike and train. Driving it takes around 50 mins to just over the hour because of all the traffic and it's quicker to come the longer way on the A roads so that's 50 miles round trip in the car. My Saab does about 30mpg and at £5.80 a gallon that's £9.50 in petrol. Even in my Smart car thats a gallon so about £5 in petrol there. But that's not the end of it. HMRC calculates wear and tear and maintenance for claimed mileage at 45p a mile and I doubt that's massively generous. So, tyres, servicing, depreciation etc etc. I even get cheaper insurance for lower mileage. Using that figure I'd be doing 12,000 a year just to work. and at 45p a mile that's £5500 of cost. If I took the train every day rather than just some days (£960 per year) I'm saving nearly £5k.

Now that makes people interested. Particularly the ones that drive to work and pay for gym membership as well.

BTW this is also a good argument when your wife or partner questions spending money on bikes and new gear. My wife drives (it really is the only option) so that's game set and match on the new bike.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [505 posts]
14th January 2014 - 13:28

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Guyz2010 wrote:
Opinions opinions opinions.

What else are you expecting to get on an internet forum ?!
I think you'll find a greater frequency of aggressive encounters in London than on Dartmoor, predominantly caused by impatient road users and volume of traffic.

posted by arfa [445 posts]
14th January 2014 - 13:38

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i think cycllists become more aggressive the longer they ride in london. after all, if you get your life threatened on a dailiy (or every other day) basis your gunna start fighting back and snapping at people more quickly. enough is enough. one day, through no fault of your own you might be dead. so why not take the lane and get a few beeps while you are at it, at least u aint dead!

Feel the fear and do it anyway

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posted by hood [114 posts]
14th January 2014 - 13:49

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AyBee wrote:
Tony wrote:
Has anyone asked why Clarkson needed to use such a wide, lane hogging vehicle to transport just himself around London? If he'd been on something sensible for a single adult, like a bicycle for example, he would have had no problem. Its just his fixation on lugging three tonnes of metal and five empty seats around with him when he's on his own that is causing his problem.

Please tell me you're joking?! We all love bikes here which is why we're on here, but JC lives in the Cotswolds, riding a bike into London is not practical from there. Think before you type stupid things!

No but the train service from Cheltenham, Bath, Morton are all fine for getting from the Cotswolds into London. As for why a 4x4.... well living on the edge of the Cotswolds, most people except the Londoners and their country homes, and farmers use normal cars....

As for his Isle of Mann home, there is a scheduled plane service from Cheltenham/Gloucester and a bus that takes you a couple hundred metres from the train station...

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posted by mrmo [1023 posts]
14th January 2014 - 14:06

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Here's why drivers are so angry with cyclists http://bit.ly/1afpA79

Ben @fireworkboy

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posted by Fireworkboy [5 posts]
14th January 2014 - 15:08

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Fireworkboy wrote:
Here's why drivers are so angry with cyclists http://bit.ly/1afpA79

Great article, articulate, intelligent and well thought out. Some posters on here should take note. Applause

posted by SevenHills [143 posts]
14th January 2014 - 15:33

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Oh and Clarkson is a massive Cock!

posted by SevenHills [143 posts]
14th January 2014 - 15:34

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solkanofastera wrote:
hmmm, Jeremy seems to be in need of a publicity boost for some reason, suckered everyone into shouting his name again.

There's a football chant that's particularly appropriate to Jeremy Clarkson.

"You fat bastard, you fat bastard, you ate all the pies."

I know I'm not really contributing to the discussion this time, I just felt like saying it.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2130 posts]
14th January 2014 - 15:36

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Mr Clarkson can be amusing.... but amusing in the same way as a chimp at a tea party!

Perhaps cycling commuters should post pics (with registration number) of every car driver making a highway code violation with a hashtag #amdoingaClarkson. After all there no such as bad publicity is there.

THE ONLY WAY IS BIKE

posted by lushmiester [156 posts]
14th January 2014 - 18:44

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Clarkskn's reached that point in middle age where the jeans are getting tight and smoking's taking it's toll. He knows full well that running isn't an option anymore but cycling...Hmmm. Maybe he can be turned to the path of the right?

I hold a balanced view about Clarkson on the whole. He's a clever man and makes some good documentaries - he just needs to engage his brain and his fame for good for a change - instead of chummying up to the likes of Cameron and pretending that the bicycle for city transport shouldn't take priority over cars.

Clarkson can be a cock but let's never forget that this is the man who punched Piers Morgan in the face. For that I, for one, will be ever gratefull.

Silly me. You're probably right....

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posted by MercuryOne [1028 posts]
14th January 2014 - 20:33

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SevenHills wrote:
Oh and Clarkson is a massive Cock!

Well no I think that is his problem he has a very small Cock Laughing

big mick

posted by big mick [172 posts]
14th January 2014 - 21:34

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Cyclists are bound to be more angry than car drivers because they are far, far more vulnerable. It's not an equal situation. An arrogant tosser protected by a couple of tons of metal with a massive powerful engine v a man with no protection at all on two flimsy wheels, it's hardly surprising the cyclist gets angry when so threatened.

posted by bikeylikey [161 posts]
15th January 2014 - 9:22

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ADDED my say on Twitter & Tourdafarce.blogspot.com

Singletrackforum was entertaining until someone mentioned Media interest , then the peanuts joined in with crap on p.7 !

Skippy(advocate for "Disabled / Para Sport")@skippydetour. blogging as skippi-cyclist.blogspot & Parrabuddy.blogspot currently on the road with ProTour Grand Tour Events .

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posted by skippy [378 posts]
15th January 2014 - 10:24

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Based only on JC's picture (and leaving asside the prior altercation) the dude seems perfectly positioned; I think that this is where I would have been in the same situation.

posted by Matt eaton [286 posts]
15th January 2014 - 12:44

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OldRidgeback wrote:
"You fat bastard, you fat bastard, you ate all the pies."

I know I'm not really contributing to the discussion this time, I just felt like saying it.

Big Grin
And probably scoffed while driving... and tweeting... and goodness knows what else.

A complete and utter knob.

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posted by Simon E [1906 posts]
15th January 2014 - 13:10

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