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Video: BBC Breakfast’s Naga Munchetty hits back at anti-cyclist comments on live TV

Presenter takes issue with Ian Collins' claim that "There’s nothing a cyclist likes more than jumping a red light”...

Presenter Naga Munchetty gave a guest on BBC Breakfast short shrift yesterday after he made anti-cyclist comments.

Fellow BBC broadcaster – and daily cycle commuter – Jeremy Vine was among those to tweet footage of the exchange on Saturday morning’s show.

Vine said, “I don’t know who this guy is” – in fact, it’s another radio show host, Ian Collins of LBC, who certainly has a bit of previous when it comes to criticising cyclists and investment in infrastructure for them.

Reviewing the newspapers on the sofa on the BBC Breakfast set at Salford's Media City, Collins was discussing an article published in The Times yesterday with the heading Bike bells could become mandatory under safety drive.

“There’s nothing a cyclist likes more than jumping a red light,” claimed Collins.

“Well as a cyclist who doesn’t jump red lights,” Munchetty replied – drawing a sarcastic “You sure?” from Collins, the BBC presenter said that she was in favour of bells on bikes because of the need to alert pedestrians to her presence when using shared-used paths.

That prompted Collins to return to a criticism he has voiced in the past related to cycling infrastructure.

“In London where they’ve spent like a hundred trillion pounds on cycle lanes and you can be driving your car but the cyclist isn’t actually in the lane, they’re on the road, I have no understanding of that.”

“I’ll tell you why,” Munchetty responded. “Potholes.”  

“Potholes? What, in the cycle lane?” retorted Collins, sounding fairly disbelieving.

“Yes,” said Munchetty, “and lots of rubbish and road debris ends up in the cycle lane and they’re not cleaned.”

“Are you sure that’s what it is?” retorted Collins.

“Yes. Sure thing,” Munchetty responded.

“Not just abject inconsideration?” the LBC presenter asked, prompting Munchetty to say, “Are you anti-cyclist?”

“No, I do cycle,” said Collins, greeted by laughter and a comment of “Are you sure?” from Munchetty.

At that point, her co-host, Steph McGovern chipped in with, “I did get sworn at by a cyclist yesterday, but I did deserve it,” going on to explain that she had stepped out into a cycle lane without looking.

Munchetty is undertaking a series of cycling challenges this year to raise money for the charity Action For A-T.

In May, she spent four days riding from London to Paris and later this month will tackle the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 later this month.

Finally, in September, the 43-year-old will undertake a three-day ride from Bedford to Amsterdam.

Simon has been news editor at 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.

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