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Top Gear's Matt LeBlanc: Cycling in London "seems like a death sentence"

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

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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