Updated: James Martin puts his foot in it with cyclists and Tesla aren't happy either

CTC invites cyclists forced off road by James Martin to contact its legal helpline

by Kevin Emery   September 15, 2009  

james martin.jpg

Oh dear, oh dear. Taxi for Martin! And preferably one that gets stuck behind 100 cyclists. Celebrity chef and motors writer James Martin served the foot in mouth dish to himself yesterday in an article that appeared in the Live magazine supplement in the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail online. So far he's received short shrift from amongst others Bradley Wiggins and the CTC.

In a review article on the Tesla Roadster Martin not only lays into cyclists, but also admits to committing a dangerous driving offence too.

Martin was quoted in his article: “But whenever I drive to London...without fail a cyclist will rap on my window and make some holier-than-thou comment, before zooming off¬ through a red light where he knows I can't get him.

“God, I hate those cyclists. Every last herbal tea-drinking, Harriet Harman-voting one of them. That's one of the reasons I live in the countryside, where birds tweet, horses roam, pigs grunt and Lycra-clad buttocks are miles away. But recently, there's been a disturbing development.

“Each Saturday, a big black truck appears at the bottom of my road, with bikes stuck to the roof and rear. Out of it step a bunch of City-boy ponces in fluorescent Spider-Man outfits, shades, bum bags and stupid cleated shoes, who then pedal around our narrow lanes four abreast with their private parts alarmingly apparent. Do they enjoy it? They never smile. I'm sure they just come here to wind me up.”

After taking the Tesla out for a spin Martin had this gem to report: “Twenty minutes into my test drive I pulled round a leafy bend, enjoying the birdsong - and spotted those damned Spider-Man cyclists. Knowing they wouldn't hear me coming, I stepped on the gas, waited until the split second before I overtook them, then gave them an almighty blast on the horn at the exact same time I passed them at speed.

“The look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge was the best thing I've ever seen in my rear-view mirror. I think this could be the car for me."

The article has prompted Bradley Wiggins to tweet about it on social networking site Twitter: “Everyone check out on the web what JAMES MARTIN, TV chef thinks about the thousands of cyclists that enjoy riding bikes around the lanes.”

And the CTC weren't slow to respond either Speaking this afternoon CTC’s Campaigns and Policy Manager Roger Geffen said:

"James Martin’s comments and actions are both offensive and dangerous to cyclists. We urge the group of cyclists, who James Martin attempted to run off the road, to get in touch with CTC’s Accident Helpline. Our legal team would be only too happy to take the matter further.

"Surely, these comments should have been seen as unacceptable, even in the Mail on Sunday. We are appalled that James Martin thought his actions were amusing, when they could easily have caused death or serious injury."

And Mail readers have been quick to post comments on the mail online article and have been less than complimentary about the celebrity chef, calling him a “twit” and a “moron”.

Andy Clayton, from Nottingham, posted: “James Martin you are a moron. I cycle for pleasure and to work (from the countryside I might add). I do so because it keeps me fit, saves money and is environmentally friendly, but mostly because it is fun. I have never wrapped on anyone's window or jumped a red light.

“I cannot believe the last part of this article where you describe wilfully trying to injure cyclists. this might seem a joke to you but many cars do overtake dangerously with no regard to the safety of cyclists. Cyclists are killed every year by people like you driving dangerously, we have spouses and children who you leave without parents. This is not a joke.

“Most drivers thankfully are careful and courteous, the minority do not need further encouragement to drive dangerously from idiots like you.”

Unfortunately for Martin he will be feeling the wrath of cyclists even more now. If you live in the countryside James, why not stay there next time and do us all a favour eh?

UPDATE 14/09/09 A spokesperson for Tesla distanced them from the comments on a US cycle podcast, The Fred Cast, yesterday.

Tesla’s senior communications manager Rachel Konrad, in Germany for an Auto Show, said that she had received numerous emails from UK cyclists for Martin to issue an apology over the review, which gives the car the thumbs up.

Konrad, who takes part in critical mass cycle rides in the US, said: “Tesla has no direct control over James, over the Daily Mail or any critics writing about Tesla. We give them our cars so they can write an independent review. He is not paid by Tesla and we don’t endorse him....No one saw the article as it went out and we had no editorial control over it at all."

But Martin has clearly scored an own goal with the company because not only is the Tesla the greenest car for sale at the moment, but Konrad said the company have a lot of dedicated staff and customers who are environmentalists.

And Konrad said that, while they would always publish such a great review of a Tesla on their website and in promotional material, “in this case we’re not even using it.”

UPDATE 15/09/09 The Daily Mail has bowed under the increasing pressure and removed the final section of the 'review' – as well as all the comments on the story, none of which were very positive about Martin or his stance on cycling. They've kept the bits about hating cyclists though. Meanwhile, the 'I hate James Martin' group on Facebook has swelled its numbers to over 1,500

19 user comments

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I thought he was a +watt ever since I watched a show with him driving in the classic italian road race the mille miglia. In the show he kept referring to his extremely attractive partner as "it"..."id go to the gents and when i come back it would be surrounded by men" he said. What century does this lardy, idiotic, overpaid and overhyped moron live in?

Im sure some cyclists know where he lives, we could make it a really relaxing, pleasant place to live James.

not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
14th September 2009 - 17:24

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not all carbon is the same.

Jon Burrage's picture

posted by Jon Burrage [1080 posts]
14th September 2009 - 18:28

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Don't forget to let the Daily Mail know how you feel: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/feedback.html

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
14th September 2009 - 19:54

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So now we have this fool to join the other notorious anti cycling bell-ends that are Nigel Havers and Jeremy Clarkson.

They all seem to have that social inadequacy thing in common; but what is saddest is that I actually doubt this even happened, but that he aspires to cretinous acts of cowardly bullying like this...

So many of these middle aged inadequates love the anonymity of being able to act tough in their cars and take off, never to be seen again. I did catch up with one of these types a couple of weeks ago, and love the sudden change in the power balance when asked to get out of their car and explain their actions face to face. I was a little diffused when he started calling me Sir though?!

Complicating matters since 1965

DaSy's picture

posted by DaSy [648 posts]
14th September 2009 - 20:32

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Cock!

First time I saw him was on the same mille miglia prog as jb. Didn't come out ofit very well.

Blackhound's picture

posted by Blackhound [435 posts]
14th September 2009 - 21:20

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I agree Dasy,

I reckon he either made it up or he is exaggerating (maybe he's hoping to carve out a niche as a Clarkson clone - he's going to have to work on the wit and the bombast a bit though if this effort is anything to go by). Whatever he did he's made himself look a right tit though.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4130 posts]
14th September 2009 - 21:37

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He's a fattie too. I reckon riding a few hundred miles on a bike would wear down his smug double chin a little.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2107 posts]
14th September 2009 - 22:22

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just try and blatt your horn at me,martin.go ahead punk,make my day!!! Angry

posted by racefaceec90 [46 posts]
15th September 2009 - 2:42

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tesla have distanced themselves pretty thoroughly from Martin's diatribe:

http://www.thefredcast.com/?p=904

"we normally post reviews on our website, but this time we won't" Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
15th September 2009 - 9:21

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I can't believe that the Mail have closed and removed the comments from this article. That in itself is almost as disgraceful as the article.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [294 posts]
15th September 2009 - 9:49

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yeah, it's almost like they're not neutral or something Big Grin Big Grin

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7230 posts]
15th September 2009 - 10:05

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I love Clarkson, you can take his rants with a pinch of salt, and he's not afraid to take the piss out of himself, but this twat is such an offensively bland houswives favourite he's just trying to say something controversial in the hope people mistake it for personality.

Think I might have to go ride round his place to annoy him further. Anyone know where he lives?

posted by wild man [276 posts]
15th September 2009 - 10:54

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Hmmmnn very interesting.
I work in a bike shop in central London and not so very long ago we had this said individual in looking at some commuter hybrids so that he could totter about the city more easily, possibly he's realised the cost savings compared to taxis and the ability to shed a few pounds into the deal.
He seemed sensible then and I'd always thought well of him in the past, but this diatribe casts him in an entirely different light.
I feel sorry for these selfish and spiteful individuals who presume the road is just there for their use because they pay road tax, bicycles were used long before cars on the roads. Oh incidentally I pay road tax and ride a bicycle so does that give me more right to the road? Wink

posted by shosh [5 posts]
15th September 2009 - 14:12

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shosh wrote:
Oh incidentally I pay road tax and ride a bicycle so does that give me more right to the road? Wink

I do the same, and rather sportingly leave my car at home to free up a bit more space on the road...

You have to wonder what the road tax people make of HGVs, which pay an enormous amount of "road tax" by comparison to the private motorist. Presumably this entitles them to run cars off the road, you would think.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [417 posts]
15th September 2009 - 14:41

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All this talk of who does and doesn't pay 'Road Tax' is a bit out of date. 'Road Tax' was abolished in the thirties due to the expanding number of car owners and the belief they may feel they 'owned' the road (still happened!). Subsequently road maintenance is paid for by local councils in the main and so is paid for by council tax and income tax. So we all pay for our roads to be in a 'decent' state no matter if we drive or not.

In fact cyclists end up paying for motorways as well, which we are not allowed to use. So I think all motorists should be grateful that we allow them to drive insanely fast around this country without having to come in to contact with cyclists, learner drivers, horses, tractors and other slow road users that might just make them a tiny bit late to their destination!!

posted by silly [35 posts]
15th September 2009 - 17:00

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I find the above post by John_the_monkey regarding road tax total £?$$%"£$ (rubbish) and it only offers support to the opinions by James Martin and his ilk. We do not need to go overboard on our comments to the point of lying. Motorists pay for registration, import tax, vat on vehicle purchase, vat on fuel, road tax and all the other stealth taxes such as parking and speeding fines that our government can conceive. The total revenue from these taxes are far greater than that spent on our roads so please tone it down - you may get support on this forum but if you spout this garbage in the real world you will only alienate even more people – to the point of increasing the chances of someone purposefully running ME off the road.

posted by ecowheel [2 posts]
16th September 2009 - 11:34

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Sorry - "John_The _Monkey" I was refering to the post by "silly".

posted by ecowheel [2 posts]
16th September 2009 - 11:40

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ecowheel wrote:
Motorists pay for registration, import tax, vat on vehicle purchase, vat on fuel, road tax and all the other stealth taxes such as parking and speeding fines that our government can conceive.

How are parking and speeding fines stealth taxes?

I don't drive a lot these days, but I know that I break the law if I exceed the limit for a particular road. (And risk a fine/points). Similarly I know that I risk a ticket if I choose to park on double yellows. If that's tax, it's staggeringly easy to avoid, no accountants or off shore banking required!

Quote:
The total revenue from these taxes are far greater than that spent on our roads so please tone it down - you may get support on this forum but if you spout this garbage in the real world you will only alienate even more people – to the point of increasing the chances of someone purposefully running ME off the road.

I think the point was that taxation levied from motorists isn't hypothecated for use in road maintenance. It goes into the general pot of cash (along with income tax, VAT in general, etc etc) and some portion of that goes towards the infrastructural and social costs created by use of motorised transport, just as some portion goes to hospitals, schools etc etc.

"Silly" doesn't say that a non-motoring cyclist pays more into that pot anywhere in his/her post, just that they pay in, like everyone else who buys anything, or earns above the current thresholds. (Although it's entirely possible that a cyclist with a fair amount of disposable income, house in a high council tax band and a decent job *could* be paying more in overall tax burden than some motorists).

Again, you could reasonably argue that the operators of LGVs pay way more in to the general pot than the drivers of private cars, yet no one argues that they're entitled to run the ordinary motorist off the road at a whim.

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [417 posts]
16th September 2009 - 14:32

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John_the_Monkey wrote:

Again, you could reasonably argue that the operators of LGVs pay way more in to the general pot than the drivers of private cars, yet no one argues that they're entitled to run the ordinary motorist off the road at a whim.

For clarity, I'm not saying that you're arguing this, just pointing out that this is where the "road tax" thing ends up (either this, or roadside comparison of P60s, maybe).

--
"Tant que je respire, j'attaque!"

John_the_Monkey's picture

posted by John_the_Monkey [417 posts]
16th September 2009 - 15:00

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