Yesterday saw an explosion of blog, twitter and Facebook commentary on the admission from TV chef James Martin that he had scared a number of cyclists off the road with some dangerous driving during a high-performance sports car test he wrote up for the Daily Mail.
Multiple Olympic gold medal winner Bradley Wiggins led the Twitter complaints against the Saturday morning TV chef who, in a review about the Tesla Roadster, wrote:
"“God, I hate…cyclists.
"Twenty minutes into my test drive I pulled round a leafy bend, enjoying the birdsong – and spotted…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."
To avoid prosecution for dangerous driving, the TV chef may have to eat his own words.
US electric sports-car maker Tesla has distanced itself from Martin’s comments.
In an audio interview with David Bernstein of the Fredcast podcast, Rachel Konrad, Tesla’s senior communications manager, said: "We don’t endorse him."
Bernstein had wanted to get Konrad on the Spokesman roundtable industry podcast which last night discussed the Martin affair but she was in Frankfurt for the upcoming car show and wasn’t reachable until after the show had been recorded.
In a special issue of the Fredcast, Konrad told Bernstein she had been a journalist for 15 years prior to the Tesla job and stressed that Tesla had no control over what a third-party reviewer might write about.
"We normally publish reviews on our website but it this case we won’t," said Konrad, a member of the San Francisco Cycling Coalition and sometime Critical Mass participant.
"This car is twice as energy efficient as a Toyata Prius and we have a lot of people who buy it for its low carbon footprint. A disproportionate number of owners are cyclists.
"Sam Perry, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, bought one. His other car is a bicycle. When he collected his car he rode his fold-up bicycle to the store and carried the bike home in the front seat."
Konrad has sent Martin an email, suggesting he might want to retract his comments about cyclists, and offer an apology.
Last year, Times’ columnist Matthew Parris apologised after he ‘humourously’ wrote in one of his articles it would be a good idea "stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists."