Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!
"We will end the war on motorists," proclaimed the new transport secretary Philip Hammond on his first day in office, providing an instant soundbite for Jeremy Clarkson fans everywhere.
Dashing hopes that he might continue the green transport policies of the last government, this was a coded message of support to climate change sceptics. The "war on motorists" has always been a Daily Mail myth.
First impressions can be misleading, but after a fortnight my second impressions aren't that great either. To judge by yesterday's interview in the Evening Standard, Mr Hammond hasn't heard of either climate change or carbon reduction, failing to mention either. Instead he revealed himself as a man who loves driving his Jaguar XJ out on the open road, wants to ease speed limits for motorists and thinks cyclists should get out of their way.
Out there in the land of the petrolheads, they are already cheering. Their favourite website carsuk.net has praised him for a "damn fine start", singling out his promise to end funding for fixed speed cameras and hailing him as an ally in the battle against "eco-mentalists".
Mr Hammond isn't a fan of traffic-calming measures such as speed humps, or of road charging, and wants more flexible speed limits to allow drivers to go faster at night.
Cycling should be made safer, he told the Standard. But motorists, apparently, have no part to play in this process, only cyclists themselves: "Cyclists need to be more aware of the risks around them. It frightens me to death when I see them pull out around other cyclists, completely unaware there is a car behind. Maybe they need wing mirrors."
I am struggling to think of something that might excuse this level of saloon-bar ignorance. Eight of the 13 cyclists killed in London last year were hit by lorries who didn't see them. As a resident of the Tory heartlands in the south-east, I don't cycle in London either, so I have a certain sympathy for his reply to the suggestion that he might join Boris Johnson on two wheels: "I'd have to take a deep breath. I think you need to know what you are doing when you cycle in London."
Hammond told the Standard he was "not sure of the logic" of advanced stop lines at traffic lights to allow cyclists to get in front. It's hard to square that with his next suggestion for making cycling less risky: "The more separation you can create between cyclists and motorists the better."
We all know that there's no unanimity among cyclists over bike lanes; beginners and those who want to see us copying the Dutch tend to favour them, while experienced cyclists prefer to take their chances in the traffic. But Mr Hammond sounds like he just wants those pesky cyclists to get out of his way.
Perhaps his only excuse is that before the election he was shadow chief secretary to the treasury and hasn't got up to speed on transport issues. But you don't need wing mirrors to see that the signs are ominous. Government efforts to reduce car use in favour of cycling and walking have now come to a grinding halt.
In the Standard's delicate phrasing, his comments "mark a contrast" with the views of London's Tory mayor Boris Johnson and of his bicycling predecessor as the transport secretary Lord Adonis. That's putting it mildly. Margaret Thatcher understood climate change back in the 1980s, and John Major's government introduced the first national cycling policy. By contrast, Philip Hammond seems a real dinosaur, a throwback to the era of the motorway-building Ernest Marples and that mythical golden age before the "war on motorists" when Jag drivers never had it so good.