BBC presenter and cycle commuter Jeremy Vine has called out fellow presenter Jeremy Clarkson over a newspaper column in which the latter criticised a mother he had seen accompanying her children to school in Kensington.
In response to Clarkson’s assertion that “cycling in London is extremely dangerous,” Vine countered: “No, some people who drive cars are extremely dangerous. That is the issue.”
Writing in his column in The Sun on Saturday under the heading, Let Vine Be Bike Battler, Clarkson said:
This week, I saw a school-run mum cycling through the busy streets of Kensington in London with her two young children riding their little bikes in her wake.
Now, I’m sure that later in the day at the avocado and muesli bar, all her silly friends will have congratulated her for being so ecological and public spirited.
But the fact is that cycling in London is extremely dangerous and that one day, God forbid, it’s possible one of her children could be killed.
Yes, there’d be an outcry and the motorist who ran over the child would get some serious jail time.
But the child would still be dead.
So, if you’re reading this, love, and I know you’re not because you’re a Guardian type, but if you are, don’t use your kids as pawns in a battle Jeremy Vine is quite capable of fighting for himself.
So far, so Clarkson, in line with the anti-cyclist rhetoric he has so often employed both in print and while presenting Top Gear and, more recently, The Grand Tour.
But the TV host and journalist, who has a home in Holland Park, has been spotted at times cycling around Kensington – most notably in the wake of his sacking by the BBC in 2015.
And going by the way he sang the praises of Copenhagen in a column in The Sunday Times three years earlier in which he said that prioritising bikes over cars made it such a liveable city that he would move there “in a heartbeat,” he presumably understands the value of protected cycling infrastructure.
As Twitter user @Commuter76 who posted a picture of the column pointed out, Clarkson’s spleen might better be vented at the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea, given their opposition to having a Cycle Superhighway (CS9) built along Kensington High Street.
If Clarkson saw the same family that I did, this was on where #cs9 should be in Kensington but isn’t going to be any time soon. And he’s right, someone will likely be killed because of that choice. pic.twitter.com/OW2icErjSW
— PB (@Commuter76) June 23, 2018
The planned CS9, which will run from Brentford and along Chiswick High Road towards the city centre, will end at Kensington Olympia – the boundary between Hammersmith & Fulham, and the RKBC.
Cyclists will therefore have to travel along Kensington High Street together with motor traffic and past the Royal Albert Hall before rejoining protected infrastructure in the shape of the East-West Cycle Superhighway at Hyde Park.
Vine, whose commute to and from Broadcasting House in Portland Place takes him through Kensington High Street, retweeted @Commuter76’s tweet, highlighting it was motorists – not cyclists – who were the source of danger.
"Cycling in London is extremely dangerous."
No, some people who drive cars are extremely dangerous. That is the issue. https://t.co/CDnXz4LWmq
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) June 25, 2018
Vine regularly posts video of incidents captured on his ride to social media.
In 2016, Clarkson accused him of “selfish” cycling following an incident Vine captured on camera that later resulted in the driver concerned being imprisoned after being convicted of driving without reasonable consideration and using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.