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Friends star turned host of BBC motoring show also says people riding more than two abreast annoy him

Matt LeBlanc, who replaced Jeremy Clarkson as Top Gear host in 2016, has said that cycling in London “seems like a death sentence” and that he gets annoyed at cyclists riding more than two abreast.

> Top Gear on Cycling: Well, what did you expect?

The 50-year-old former Friends and Joey star was speaking in an interview for the Daily Mail’s Event magazine ahead of the new series of the BBC motoring programme, which starts on BBC2 on 25 February. 

The American, who rents a home in central London while filming Top Gear, said: “I wouldn’t ride a bicycle there – it just seems like a death sentence.”

While Clarkson was never one to shy away from the opportunity of making a joke at the expense of cyclists, he may disagree with his successor's views – the day after he was sacked by the BBC, he turned up at his west London home on a bike, to be met by doorstepping reporters.

> Jeremy Clarkson on his bike in every sense

LeBlanc went on to say that he has a problem with people who ride more than two abreast.

“It’s when there are three or four of them, side-by-side so they can chat – but they don’t move out of the way. That’s frustrating.

“Do I bump ’em with the car? No,” he clarified.

“But I maybe give a tap on the horn like, ‘Beep-beep! Come on, move over!’,” he added.

He also shared his views on driverless cars, revealing that he is opposed to the technology.

“I’m not a fan of the idea,” he explained. “The car represents a sense of freedom, it broadens your horizon. With the driverless car you might as well be in a taxi.

“I assume there is a place in the world for autonomous cars. There’s not a place for it in my world, yet.”

> Top Gear's James May hits out at "complete bollocks" bike lanes and the myth of 'road tax'

Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns and legal at the charity Cycling UK, commented: “So Matt LeBlanc says he’s not a fan of driverless cars, because the car represents a sense of freedom and broadens your horizon.

“There’s no place for them in his world, but then there seems to be no place there for cyclists either, who he has issues with and who must move out of his way.

“If he asked Cycling UK members, 90 per cent of whom also have a driving licence, they’d probably tell him that cycling also gives them a sense of freedom, but they have no issues with the vast majority of drivers, just those in too much of a hurry to wait to get past them.”

He added: “Rather than constantly focusing in speed, perhaps Matt needs to try a little patience, and he might find those horizons expand.”

> Top Gear's The Stig spotted being filmed in London - on a cargo bike

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

52 comments

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brooksby [2919 posts] 1 week ago
18 likes

Top Gear presenter talking to the Daily Mail in "bikes are bad!" shocker

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burtthebike [1382 posts] 1 week ago
12 likes

Reminds me of the spoof advert, showing a slinky car, with a blonde in the passenger seat, photographed in a vast expanse of mountains and empty roads.  That's the freedom dream the advertisers very successfully sell the gullible like Matt Leblanc.  The reality is sitting in a traffic jam while cyclists go past you, because all the other gullible people fell for it as well.

Still Top Gear always was a fantasy, loved by people who can't cope with reality.

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KendalRed [137 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes
brooksby wrote:

Top Gear presenter talking to the Daily Mail in "bikes are bad!" shocker

Ha! Exactly. Dim-witted petrolhead acting like a dim-witted petrolhead. Who'd a thunk it! And in the Daily Heil as well - that paragon of diverse views!

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grahamTDF [54 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

So.... he said cycling in London looks dangerous and cycling more than 2 abreast is annoying BURN THE WITCH!!

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psling [275 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

Yeah, I missed the bit where he said "bikes are bad" too.

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scouser_andy [52 posts] 1 week ago
10 likes

“It’s when there are three or four of them, side-by-side so they can chat – but they don’t move out of the way. That’s frustrating.

“But I maybe give a tap on the horn like, ‘Beep-beep! Come on, move over!’,”

 

 

Do know what I find frustrating Matt? Drivers with no patience who use their horn to bully you out of the way.

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Alessandro [163 posts] 1 week ago
10 likes

Top Gear continues to be come less relevant by the day. Perhaps the BBC should start to fund a similar programme for cycling where people like Chris Boardman can enlighten the population about the dangers presented by motorists, even when they drive in single file. 

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tom_w [224 posts] 1 week ago
6 likes

Top Gear presenter in "bicycle related statement that shouldn't cause offence to anyone, cyclist or not" shocker

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peted76 [893 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

This is nothing but public relations style click bait... to advertise the new series, however it's a very 'gentle opinion' never stepping too far into the troll zone..  ergo.. nonsense.

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LarryDavidJr [388 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

Ratings obviously struggling a bit

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Rich_cb [555 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

I really can't see what the fuss is about here.

I've cycled in London a handful of times and it is pretty daunting in places. To a non cyclist it probably does seem terrifying.

If you're cycling 3 or 4 abreast it is polite to let people pass.

As for the driverless cars comment, I think most people would prefer to be in a taxi for their utility driving. Very few people actually drive for leisure.

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Sub5orange [110 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

Some of the comments on here come across a bit too touchy including the comment cited by Duncan Dollimore. At least Leblanc acknowledges  that two abreast is ok, and who does not get irritated when there is more than two abreast and they do not line up to let a car go passed ? If I was a non cyclist with an attitude problem against cyclists, some of the comments on here would reaffirm my prejudices against cyclists. And I do not watch Topgear or any other car show with Middle Aged presenters having repeated the same content for the last 20 years .....

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pastyfacepaddy [5 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Driver admits cyclists cycling illegally i.e. more than 2 abreast annoy him and then goes on to confess he doesn't then drive into them as a result of his annoyance.

As a cyclist I'd also like to admit that cyclists cycling illegally also annoy me and I also don't ride into them however I will, in the absence of a horn, verbally remind them of cycling no more than two abreast as I pass them.

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pastyfacepaddy [5 posts] 1 week ago
1 like
scouser_andy wrote:

“It’s when there are three or four of them, side-by-side so they can chat – but they don’t move out of the way. That’s frustrating.

“But I maybe give a tap on the horn like, ‘Beep-beep! Come on, move over!’,”

 

 

Do know what I find frustrating Matt? Drivers with no patience who use their horn to bully you out of the way.

So based on the fact you've not commented on the 3 or 4 abreast bit as being inconsiderate or illegal, I'll assume you're happy to ride illegally and inconsiderately but then get upset when a someone gives a polite pip to let you know they're there? 

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wilkij1975 [30 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

I'm not entirely sure what was wrong with what he said? London IS a dangerous place to cycle and when I come up behind cyclists that are two or three abreast and they don't move, it' pisses me off too! When I'm out riding next to someone and I notice a car coming, I pull in line to try and make it easier for it to pass. It takes no time or effort so I'm not sure why people don't do it?

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alansmurphy [1663 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

Nothing to see here, except:

 

"Matt LeBlanc, who replaced Jeremy Clarkson as Top Gear host in 2016" - no he didn't!

 

"LeBlanc went on to say that he has a problem with people..."

 

I read that to be a bike was mentioned and he deflected about 15 questions relating to bikes before actually answering one...

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thelighterthief [47 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes

Oh no! I’m commenting on a click-bait article about a click-bait interview with the star of a show intent on offending everyone! ...

That turns out to be quite sensible. 

Cycling in London can be dangerous

riding more than 2 abreast is annoying for everyone else. 

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Nick T [1112 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

We should all be grateful he’s raising awareness of he poor infrastructure and too many cars and lorries on the streets of central London, which makes cycling there appear dangerous to him

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Ric_Stern_RST [46 posts] 1 week ago
9 likes
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

Driver admits cyclists cycling illegally i.e. more than 2 abreast annoy him and then goes on to confess he doesn't then drive into them as a result of his annoyance.

As a cyclist I'd also like to admit that cyclists cycling illegally also annoy me and I also don't ride into them however I will, in the absence of a horn, verbally remind them of cycling no more than two abreast as I pass them.

 

For clarity, it isn't illegal to cycle more than 2 abreast

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ts437 [14 posts] 1 week ago
7 likes

If you're more than 2 abreast you are inconsiderate and not sharing the road. It would be impossible to overtake safely at any distance if cyclists are 3 abreast on a 2 lane road, which while not a motivating factor in everything about cycling, is a motivating factor if you're being polite.

How many times do you get annoyed in a rush walking on the pavement behind a group trundling along occupying the whole width?

I'm with Matt on this one. Maybe the article could be updated to show how 3 or more abreast is going against recommended practice?

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Simontuck [193 posts] 1 week ago
5 likes
wilkij1975 wrote:

I'm not entirely sure what was wrong with what he said? London IS a dangerous place to cycle and when I come up behind cyclists that are two or three abreast and they don't move, it' pisses me off too! When I'm out riding next to someone and I notice a car coming, I pull in line to try and make it easier for it to pass. It takes no time or effort so I'm not sure why people don't do it?

 

Whilst shrinking into the gutter and doffing your cap? I guess it varies depending on the type of road, but the fairly fast roads near me require an almost central position, or two abreast, to help encourage car drivers to think before overtaking. If you ride in the gutter, they'll squeeze in between you and the oncoming car without hesitation.

It's not a case of being stubborn, or deliberately trying to upset drivers. I've had cars try and overtake between me and a traffic island before!! The other day as I walked my kids to school, a lady in a 4x4 stopped for the traffic lights, straddling both lanes. This was because she had started to overtake a bicycle, as the road pinched for the traffic lights, outside a school with loads of children about. Without really thinking of what would happen next. The oncoming vehicle wasn't best pleased that he had to wait for her to move back to her own side of the road once the lights went green.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 1 week ago
8 likes
ts437 wrote:

If you're more than 2 abreast you are inconsiderate and not sharing the road. It would be impossible to overtake safely at any distance if cyclists are 3 abreast on a 2 lane road, which while not a motivating factor in everything about cycling, is a motivating factor if you're being polite.

Therefore, if there's a HGV in front of me and I can't get past on my bike that means that that HGV driver is being inconsiderate and not sharing the road?? 

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alansmurphy [1663 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes
ts437 wrote:

If you're more than 2 abreast you are inconsiderate and not sharing the road. It would be impossible to overtake safely at any distance if cyclists are 3 abreast on a 2 lane road, which while not a motivating factor in everything about cycling, is a motivating factor if you're being polite.

How many times do you get annoyed in a rush walking on the pavement behind a group trundling along occupying the whole width?

I'm with Matt on this one. Maybe the article could be updated to show how 3 or more abreast is going against recommended practice?

 

It wouldn't be impossible, it depends entirely upon the width of the road, the car and how close the cyclists are to the kerb and eachother.

 

When I get annoyed as a pedestrian my speed and mass isn't such that it is likely to kill them whilst completely protecting me.

 

What is your point exactly?

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wellsprop [722 posts] 1 week ago
3 likes

Hardly a particularly controversial statement is it.

One of the local cycling clubs occasionally holds more relaxed cycles for the less sporty cyclists, I've seen them cycling three or four abreast on country roads a couple times (not a single lane, only just wide enough for two cars). That annoys me.

Makes it very difficult for me to pass them on my bicycle, let alone a car. All it requires is a bit of common sense - from all road users (horse riders, tractors, cyclists - whatever).

Driverless cars too much like taxis? I'd love a driverless car! Means on my 40 minute cross-city commute, I could sit back and relax. Also means I could have a couple drinks with my friends before going home.

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scouser_andy [52 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

So based on the fact you've not commented on the 3 or 4 abreast bit as being inconsiderate or illegal, I'll assume you're happy to ride illegally and inconsiderately but then get upset when a someone gives a polite pip to let you know they're there? 

 

Hello Paddy.

Nope, you shouldn't assume. It makes an ass out of.... forget it.

To be honest, I very raely see riders four abreast. In my experience, drivers often say they see riders doing this, but reality tends to be much different from their perception.

Whilst riding considerately two abreast/chainganging in Essex yesterday, a number of drivers felt the need to honk or close-pass, despite the fact there was plenty of road to be used. I indded found that frustrating.

 

 

PS; even if riders were four abreast, it's not illegal to ride this way under the Highway Code btw. It's not advised, but you'll find that the phrasiology is 'you should...' rather than 'you must...' which indicates advice rather than a legal requirement.

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fenix [938 posts] 1 week ago
0 likes
scouser_andy wrote:

“It’s when there are three or four of them, side-by-side so they can chat – but they don’t move out of the way. That’s frustrating.

If people are more than two abreast I don't see the issue - especially if it's a toot rather than someone leaning on their horn.

What I don't think people appreciate is that from behind a club run does look like it's three or four abreast due to winding roads and people riding not precisely behind a wheel.

Realistically it's still only two abreast.

“But I maybe give a tap on the horn like, ‘Beep-beep! Come on, move over!’,”

 

 

Do know what I find frustrating Matt? Drivers with no patience who use their horn to bully you out of the way.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

So based on the fact you've not commented on the 3 or 4 abreast bit as being inconsiderate or illegal, I'll assume you're happy to ride illegally and inconsiderately but then get upset when a someone gives a polite pip to let you know they're there

You do know that's against the law, right?  

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Simon E [3206 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

F**k right off, you aggressive jerk.

 

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No Sweat [29 posts] 1 week ago
2 likes
brooksby wrote:
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

So based on the fact you've not commented on the 3 or 4 abreast bit as being inconsiderate or illegal, I'll assume you're happy to ride illegally and inconsiderately but then get upset when a someone gives a polite pip to let you know they're there

You do know that's against the law, right?  

If not done aggressively, it is legal:

[Highway Code Rule] "112. The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to

warn other road users of your presence."

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brooksby [2919 posts] 1 week ago
4 likes
No Sweat wrote:
brooksby wrote:
pastyfacepaddy wrote:

So based on the fact you've not commented on the 3 or 4 abreast bit as being inconsiderate or illegal, I'll assume you're happy to ride illegally and inconsiderately but then get upset when a someone gives a polite pip to let you know they're there

You do know that's against the law, right?  

If not done aggressively, it is legal:

[Highway Code Rule] "112. The horn. Use only while your vehicle is moving and you need to

warn other road users of your presence."

I've not yet encountered a motorist able to give "a polite pip of their horn to let you know they're there" in anything other than an aggressive manner... 

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