Alan Kennedy represented Road Safety GB on Top Gear last night (Sun 2 March) as two of the show’s the presenters set about creating a public information film to promote safer cycling.
Alan joined British Cycling’s Chris Boardman and Westminster Council’s Martin Lowe on a panel of experts who commented on Jeremy Clarkson and James May’s typically tongue in cheek attempts to make the film.
While the majority of the segment was conducted in typical Top Gear fashion, two important safety points were highlighted: the difficulties cyclists face when turning right on busy roads, and the dangers posed by larger vehicles – in this case buses.
While the pair exonerated car drivers from any reckless or dangerous actions towards cyclists – perhaps not surprising given the programme’s audience – bus drivers came in for fierce criticism from Clarkson.
Here’s what the Telegraph said about the programme: “Jeremy Clarkson’s relationship with cyclists could generously be described as ‘strained’. Top Gear’s resident alpha dog has dismissed biking as a ‘silly Victorian distraction’ and suggested that, if they worked a little harder, members of the lycra and handle-bar set might one day aspire to owning an actual car.
“Still, recent photographic evidence of Clarkson barreling around London on a two wheeled contraption that looked suspiciously like a functioning bicycle suggested rapprochement was in the air.
“In fact, he and co-presenter James May were conducting field research for a public safety film aimed at cutting down on cycling mishaps – a jape only moderately less ludicrous, surely, than inviting Lady Gaga to share tips on dressing for a job interview.
“As it turned out Team Top Gear weren’t quite as serious as the exasperated transport officials they had roped into the endeavour may have hoped: their ‘safety’ videos mixed awful puns ("Christ on a bike" thundered Clarkson as a Jesus impersonator freewheeled past), Hitler gags (or, at any rate, a man pedaling about dressed as Hitler) and, of course, a bicycle with a jet engine strapped to the end.
“Far more illuminating was the footage of the pair wobbling down Regent Street at rush-hour. Clarkson squawked in horror as public transport loomed close and emanated existential dread when required to salve his aching nether regions with anti-saddle sore cream.”
The episode is currently available for viewing on iPlayer.