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Noel Edmonds accused of "PR masterstroke" after defending his criticism of "accident waiting to happen" cycleway in campaign for lower speed limit

The TV presenter made headlines last month for a bizarre anti-cycling rant in which he accused a cycle route developer of being "the enemy" and needing her "head cut off and brain replaced"...

Broadcaster and presenter Noel Edmonds has continued his campaign against a cycleway close to properties he owns in New Zealand, now doubling down on a furious rant about the infrastructure in a move that has seen him accused of a "PR masterstroke" by some locals.

Edmonds last month lashed out at the suggestion the Great Taste Trail cycleway should be routed through his land, Stuff.co.nz reporting the TV presenter owns property worth NZ$30 million in and around the village of Ngātīmoti in the Motueka Valley. The news site also reported hearing recorded footage of Edmonds launching into a rant aimed at the route's developer, in which he accused her of being "our enemies" and bizarrely of threatening to "bring down this wonderful country" and needing her "head cut off an brain replaced".

> Noel Edmonds in bizarre anti-cyclist rant as he tells cycle trail developer: "You are the enemy"

Instead the trail is now to be built alongside the public highway, something Edmonds has once again addressed in a video uploaded to YouTube in which he declares he is "a very keen cyclist", but claims the proposed route is "incomprehensible" and an "accident waiting to happen".

He also ends the monologue by expressing his desire to campaign for the speed limit on the road to be reduced from 100km/h (62mph) to 60 or 50km/h (37-31mph) in a move that some locals have accused of being a "PR masterstroke". 

"He's trying to take the moral high ground and say he's not against cyclists, but that the cycle trail is unsafe," one local told Stuff.co.nz.

"The bicycle: one of the greatest transportation inventions of all time and probably the most controversial," Edmonds began his latest cycling comments in a YouTube video that has drawn comparisons online to Steve Coogan's parody broadcast personality Alan Partridge.

"People are still arguing about who actually invented the bicycle and who could have imagined all those years ago that in the 21st century the bicycle would be a symbol of social discord. People are arguing about bikes and cyclists. Now, there are unreasonable cyclists. I'm a very keen cyclist, not unreasonable but there are some dodgy ones.

"But hang on, there are some very unreasonable pedestrians and certainly some very unreasonable drivers, so how has the bicycle got itself into the very heart of so many arguments? Rows? Politicians getting so heated and taxpayers getting very angry?"

It is, Edmonds suggests, all down to "hundred-million dollar pledges" for "incomplete" urban cycle lanes.

"And of course there are a lot of people who are finding life quite hard financially who will never ever ride a bike who go: 'Why am I paying for all this?'," he continued, going on to argue the Great Taste Trail is unsafe, "utterly incomprehensible" and an "accident waiting to happen".

"There are features of the new route, which to my mind and to the cycle groups I talk to, are utterly incomprehensible," he said. "Rather than go along this beautiful area on the far side of the river someone decided to come across Peninsula Bridge and route it along this main road where cyclists will be cycling against traffic travelling at up to 100km/h.

"There sections of the cycleway that your head is the same height as the road. There are regular trucks coming from the quarry and on a wet day the spray is unbelievable. Is that cycling heaven? I don't think so. In a couple of places cyclists are going to be within a metre of these trucks that can travel at up to 100km/h. Well, on the Great Taste Trail they've already had a fatality, injuries and I'm concerned there's gonna be a fatality." 

However, presenting himself as a road safety campaigner, Edmonds later confidently asserts "I'm going to succeed" in getting the speed limit on the road reduced.

"So what am I going to do about it?" he asked the camera. "I'm going to get the speed reduced on this road because I've talked to the people who live in the area and they've tried for decades to get the speed past the school reduced from 100km/h hopefully down to 60 or 50.

"We have to look after cyclists but you know what worries more? We've got to look after the children at the school. So I'm going to succeed. I'm going to get the speed limit reduced and hopefully cyclists will be safer."

The comments come a month after Edmonds' row with the route's developer was published in the local press, the former Deal or No Deal presenter telling Belinda Crisp, who manages the Nelson Tasman Cycle Trail Trust, she is one of "our enemies" during a visit to Edmonds' River Haven estate.

In the recording, Edmonds could reportedly be heard telling Crisp: "All hell's gonna break loose, right. And while you still have this attitude you are not welcome here.

"You are our enemies. You have to be defeated otherwise you're gonna bring down this wonderful country. Yes you are, because you're so proud. Anyway, good luck with it. As we say in Britain, 'on yer bike'."

Crisp said she was left "shaking afterwards" and described the confrontation as "unpleasant".

At a River Haven community meeting Edmonds suggested that instead of building cycleways the local council should be supporting local businesses such as his, which he says employs 30 people, saying that those jobs "didn't exist until we came to Ngātīmoti."

According to Edmonds, his business venture is "costing me a fortune", and that if it continues to lose money a year from now, he may need to reconsider whether it is worth continuing to invest in it.

Responding to a request to comment from the local press about the recorded rant, Edmonds replied: "Please don't tell me you’re just doing your job because that's what Belinda [Crisp] said and that's what the Nazis said. You can judge me how you want, I'm very comfortable, at nearly 75, with the person I am, the place that I've found and the way I conduct myself."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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13 comments

Avatar
EddyBerckx | 3 months ago
3 likes

Gotta feel for New Zealand with the dodgy immagrunts they let in...

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hmas1974 | 3 months ago
2 likes

Here we are in 2023 discussing the online antics of Noel Edmonds. Truly this site has descended into parody.

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henryb replied to hmas1974 | 3 months ago
4 likes

Luckily though, the person in the picture at the top is "Noel Edmunds" who is someone entirely different

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wycombewheeler replied to henryb | 3 months ago
0 likes
henryb wrote:

Luckily though, the person in the picture at the top is "Noel Edmunds" who is someone entirely different

you got me, I googled that, and it seems it is in fact just your run of the mill roadcc typo. Since River Haven is the home of Noel EDMONDS, and there are no hits for Noel Edmunds at all.

Very dissapointing, that there is not a pro cycling person called Edmunds after all.

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Browsie | 3 months ago
5 likes

Perhaps after his rather embarrassing anti cycling rant in his café, he's now realised that all of a sudden a good proportion of his customers rather sensibly no longer spend their money there and he's now pretending he's pro cyclist after all!

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Rik Mayals unde... | 3 months ago
2 likes

Was a knob. He talks complete blobby blobby blobby. 

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simonmb | 3 months ago
0 likes

Great hair though. I wonder what his secret is? 

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to simonmb | 3 months ago
0 likes

Timotei?

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eburtthebike | 3 months ago
8 likes

Possibly the most completely obnoxious twit in the history of the universe.

If he was worried about the safety of cyclists, he would have allowed the route to go across his land and he's only produced this steaming pile of horse manure to justify his refusal to do so.

He may be in the antipodes, but that isn't far enough away.

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mattw | 3 months ago
13 likes

Why is a Great Taste trail going within 100 km of Noel Edmonds?

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eburtthebike replied to mattw | 3 months ago
1 like
mattw wrote:

Why is a Great Taste trail going within 100 km of Noel Edmonds?

It's the bad taste detour.

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Legin | 3 months ago
5 likes

It's an absolute relief that this Brentwood School educated sh1thead is the other side of the world.

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brooksby | 3 months ago
8 likes

So he's campaigning for the speed limit to be reduced because it services his own purposes (property development).  But he's realised that if he jumps on the active travel bandwagon then he's more likely to get it passed.

If he truly cared about active travel, he would not have refused permission for the proposed cycle trail to go across a bit of his property and away from the (suddenly now so very dangerous) road.

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