Thursday, 19 April 2012

Simply unbelievable. If AddisonLee wasn't worrying you before, it will be once you've read this. I'm shaking after reading it.

AddisonLee in-house magazine. The chairman speaks. Courtesy Graham Lehr on twitter








































I'm not sure what to say. I wanted to assume this is a spoof. But it's not. This is the chairman's comment page in the latest edition of Add Lib magazine, distributed in Addison Lee cars to its customers. You can read the text on road.cc's website here

The man is suggesting not only that his minicabs should break the law and drive in bus lanes (the Guardian has more on this here). He seems to be hinting that motorists should have no obligation to slow down or pay attention to what happens around them as far people on bikes (or pedestrians, one assumes?) are concerned because they may be new cyclists and they may not be trained and they may not have paid for a motor vehicle or for (non-existant) "road tax". He is suggesting people should not have rights to cycle on public roads until they become 'one of us' - fully trained and paid up.

The fact is, it's not just novice cyclists who have to swerve to avoid drains or potholes. All cyclists may have to, even fully trained cyclists. Which is why we (backed by the Highway Code) ask drivers to leave enough room when passing. And furthermore, if an AddisonLee driver sees a granny wobbling down the road, he should slow down and give her plenty of room. Frankly, why shouldn't a granny be able to wobble down a road in London on her bicycle in any case? Why shouldn't London's older residents want to get on bicycles and make the city 'thick with bicycles'? 

I will say one thing. John Griffin is right that London's cyclists are 'throwing themselves on to some of the most congested space in the world'. The thing is, most of the hundreds of thousands of us who do so each day in London reckon it would be a lot less congested if more of that space was made cycle-friendly to encourage people not to drive but to cycle instead. Mr Griffin, it would suit both our purposes: Space for safe cycling and space for your business too.

I'm not sure if I'm more outraged by his comments on cycling or by the fact that he links cycling solely with the Green party. I think Jenny Jones has made all the right noises about cycling. But 'cycling' is not the stuff of 'green' politics. Cyclists come in all shapes and sizes and all sorts of political beliefs.

City of London headquarters - just half of the cycle parking here
In all honesty, Griffin is making some points that do need discussing. But he's making them in a way that I think is irresponsible for a man in his position who has just announced his intention to have minicabs drive in bus lanes - the nearest thing London has to bike lanes.

Griffin could have chosen to use this article to call for safer cycling infrastructure or for better tolerance between different road users. But he didn't. He calls for cyclists to get trained.  Fair enough. But what's all this about 'paying up'? Does he mean cyclists should become car drivers?

For now, I shall leave this article with one image. This is a picture I have posted before, of just half of the 'car' park of a City of London headquarters. The people who use these bikes use AddisonLee on a contract basis during the day. Because their employer has a contract with Mr Griffin's company to do so. I wonder if they like being labelled with the terms used in Mr Griffin's editorial comment? I wonder if they like the fact that AddisonLee's chairman seems to suggest it is alright that they might be run over because one of his drivers might not need to feel he needs to look out for cyclists?

I would point AddisonLee to last weekend's Financial Times or last week's Telegraph. I think AddisonLee hasn't woken up to the fact that its customers are cyclists. Plenty of them too.

If you're not angry yet, I suggest you look at this blog post by Diamond Geezer, in honour of the truly noble family of Brian Dorling, killed last year at Bow roundabout. Mr Griffin, should Brian Dorling have "paid up" as well, do you think? I think he has already. And his widow just as much.

Time to make a noise, I think. Saturday 28th April. Hyde Park Corner. 11am. Be there.

95 comments:

  1. Have you pointed-out this article to the LCC? While you're at it, what about the Times? This needs to be made into his Gerald Ratner moment.

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  2. I echo Amoeba's ideas.. I will be tweeting Kaya Burgess, too.. edit, he's seen it.

    I think perhaps the hashtag on twitter #boycottaddisonlee could be used and tweet as many companies as possible? Let them know how unsafe this will end up - not just for us, but for black cabs, buses and their passengers.

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  3. Typically ill-informed, holier than thou, anti-cyclist ranting.

    We could pick holes in it all day long!

    Should a motorist fail to observe a Granny wobbling to avoid a pothole or a rain drain...

    Highway Code Rule 213 says that actually motorists are informed that they should look out for cyclists avoiding bumps & potholes. It isn't anything radical, but then as well as asserting that all motorists are male, Mr Griffin is also incorrect in putting a man in a car on a par with a train driver in charge of a virgin pendolino doing 120mph on the west coast mainline.

    Motorists are obliged to share the public highway with cyclists & pedestrians. I can when driving, riding & walking...in terms of driving it just means doing things a little slower & more considerately.

    cyclists are 'throwing themselves on to some of the most congested space in the world'. The thing is, most of the hundreds of thousands of us who do so each day in London reckon it would be a lot less congested if more of that space was made cycle-friendly to encourage people not to drive but to cycle instead.

    Yes absolutely. What does he think will happen if everybody drove?

    Amoeba said:Have you pointed-out this article to the LCC? While you're at it, what about the Times? This needs to be made into his Gerald Ratner moment.

    Ditto

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  4. This is absolutely disgusting. How dare he claim it's the fault of a cyclist if they're hit, because drivers shouldn't have to 'anticipate' their every move? Basically, prepare to be rear-ended because the driver behind you *shouldn't be expected* to watch the road in front of him and pay attention to any vehicle, be it a car, bike, or pedestrian, ahead of him.

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  5. It's ignorant thuggery like this that has got us into such a mess on our roads. The idea that drivers shouldn't have to look where they're going is me-first callousness of the worst kind. It has no place in any city, least of all one where so many people cycle because the alternatives (including Addison Lee cabs) are so expensive.

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    1. What I find most annoying is the fact that on my past 60 mile daily car commute in South London, if I saw an Addison Lee car I would give it a wide berth, they were so eratic and appeared not to know how to drive?
      Perhaps the Addison Lee Drivers should be "trained" before being let loose to cause havoc.

      Delete
  6. Shocking stuff. I just emailed The Times to point it out to them and shared it on Facebook. Lets hope it proves to be an own goal.

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  7. -you drive into the back of anyone you are automatically at fault.

    The other point in the article is he's upset about the costs of motoring. That's not his problem -his business model depends on it. If parking and driving in London was actually easier less people would use any form of taxi. He's just too shallow and self-interested to read it.

    One thing that would be good to push back on would be getting any evidence of A lee drivers
    -driving in bus lanes
    -driving into ASLs while lights are red
    -blocking bus lanes
    -blocking bike lanes

    There's no point getting angry when a vendetta is the other option. Escalate, put them on the wrong foot, make it clear that they are in the wrong.

    If your employer has a contract with them, say that you don't think it is safe for the cars to be anywhere near you on your commute, so the company should stop using them.

    If someone can get stickers abusing addison lee, people can stick them on the back of a-lee vans stopped at the lights.

    If he thinks he is winning a war against both black cabs and cyclists just because he has been able to pay to get attention from parliament, he needs to be re-educated.

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  8. Bloody.Hell. Seems that Addison Lee apple really is rotten to the core! Have re-tweeted, shared on Facebook and G+ on this as it needs to go viral. Maybe I should try "accidentally" clipping a few Addison Lee wing mirrors in traffic - don't think the same "Oh I didn't expect you to be there" will hold much water....

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    Replies
    1. Wow, what an incredibly adult response. Surely you are just enforcing his argument

      Delete
  9. +see there is an address for advertising, ads@addlib.co.uk

    Would be interesting to get a list of advertisers and give them a hard time too. It killed News of The World, didn't it?

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  10. Mr. Chairman says his drivers aren't skilled enough to see cyclists or trained enough to anticipate the cyclists might wobble. While it is odd for a private hire company to admit that their drivers should have their drivers licenses revoked, I have to thank Mr. Chairman. By admitting this in public he has improved road safety for cyclists and pedestrians tremendously.

    Now we know to look out.

    Therefore, any time you see one of his drivers, you must take the lane. That way you more room for evasive maneuvers if they fail to see you. And the extra room also helps if you happen to wobble a little.

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    Replies
    1. hi
      Now my recent experience of these drivers makes sense. I have thought about phoning the police a couple of times when their drivers have passed much too close and too fast. Generally very poor driving observed. I happen to be a very experienced cyclist, who also has cycling proficiency training and a full drivers' licence!

      Delete
  11. A cabbie once told me that John Griffin is related to anotehr famous Griffin - Nick, of the British National Party.

    No idea whether it is true, but it wouldn't surprise me.

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  12. Blimey. That's pretty jaw dropping.

    Apparently we shouldn't be allowed to opt out of the ever growing arms race forcing people to travel around wrapped in bigger and bigger pieces of steel.

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  13. How about asking those who do work for large companies that have term contracts with Addison Lee (and a proportion of the workforce cycling to work) to cancel that contract. I do and I have. I cannot see how we can employ them any longer.

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  14. And there was me thinking no one would want to be known as the Michael O'Leary of the road. He's certainly trying to be as publically controversial as the Ryanair magnate. What an odious man

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  15. I work for a large City bank (one of the largest employers in the City) who use Addison Lee in preference to black cabs for most of their travel across London. They are also encouraging more people to cycle to work over coming months as an alternative to the tube during the Olympics.

    The behaviour of Addison Lee this week disgusts me and I will be making sure the relevant people at my company are aware of what they are doing. I think others in the same situation should do the same!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I work for a major City accounting firm. I alerted our corporate social responsibility, ethica, transport and money laundering officers to this.

      Money laundering? If AdLee accepts fares for journeys where they have committed a criminal offence (per TfL view of deliberate infringement of bus lanes) then that action is construable as money laundering of proceeds of crime. Certinaly our MLRO agreed that was at least arguable.

      In any case, not good for a financial firm's reputation to be associated with wrong doing.

      Delete
  16. Can we see if the rag would accept an ad from LCC?

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  17. I agree with some of John Griffins comments, but none of his words. FACT: Drivers will get get blamed if they dont react with super human speed to [Not even an Old Biddy on a bike - as there are none in central London], but normally a young bambi bimbo on a boris bike; or if said driver does not have psychic abilities.

    For someone that is supposidly related to that BNP retard, John Griffin is failing terribly at keeping to his [relations] manifesto, since nobody seems to employ more Eastern Europeans then John Griffin.

    Having said the above, I can tell you that I think very little of John Griffin. He is little more then a NWO wannabe operative, whom prefers to use £250k to be in bed with the 'Elites' of this world. His company have ripped me off on two occasions with unfair waiting time - so I will not be using them again for that reason along.

    Anyway, think what you want. I will let all you mobb mentality sheep, who have nothing better to fuss about work yourselves into a retweeting, emailing, facbooking, googleplusing viral frenzy TO BRING DOWN ADDISON LEE. I'll look out for the ADDISONLEE 2012 Viral vid. You sheep need to get a life.

    Kind regards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @himandrew

      Sheep? Thou doth protest too much.

      Delete
  18. He is bit of a knob basically. No doubt unfit and too scared to try riding himself. He might get hit by one of this own drivers, now that would be an interesting moment.

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  19. Please join our facebook campaign pledging to boycott Addison Lee: https://www.facebook.com/BoycottAddisonLee . Not much up there (not enough free time!) but we want to show Mr Griffin that spouting agressive bile like this is disgusting and WILL damage their business.

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  20. Carlton Reid has run the story.

    http://www.bikebiz.com/news/read/break-the-law-minicab-boss-tells-cyclists-to-pay-to-use-roads/012926

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  21. from the guardian:

    The taxi war also places London mayor Boris Johnson in an awkward position. He chairs TfL, which has gone on the attack against Addison Lee, from which Johnson accepted a £25,000 campaign donation that helped him win office in 2008. The mayor's spokesman said he was unable to comment on the Addison Lee campaign.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/apr/19/tory-donor-addison-lee-bus-lanes

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  22. No, you haven't read it correctly. Read it again. He's saying that an increase in the number of inexperienced cyclists will most likely lead to an increase in the number of accidents involving cylists. Can't see how you manage to infer that he believes 'it's alright to run over someone on a bike right in front of you and to say you haven't seen them'. Try not to get upset at the tone of the article and focus on what he's actually saying.

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    1. @Pat Which is WHY drivers have to give space when passing. It is not the wobble or the inexperience that is the issue, its the lack of forward planning by others in rear-ending incidents thats the problem.

      SMIDSY is not an excuse. It is an admission that they didnt look. He's making the suggestion that its not the drivers fault in those regards

      Delete
  23. @Pat fair enough - maybe he isn't saying it's alright to run someone oer if you didn't see them. He also implies that we don't pay "Road Tax" which is quite right. Neither does he or anyone else in the country! There's been no such thing since 1937! What he pays is car tax which some cyclists do pay if they own a car and some don't if they don't own a car!

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    1. Vehicle excise duty is inmposed by reference to CO2 emissions perkm. All vehicles which emit less than 100 g/km pay nil VED. That includes 109 models of car from virtually every major manufacturer, incuding at least one BMW and a Mini Cooper.

      And, of course, it includes bicycles as they also emit less than 100g/km!

      Delete
    2. Actually there isn't a "car tax" - there is a vehicle excise duty. And as long as you put out under 100g of carbon per kilometer traveled then you pay the same as a car driver would!
      So Mr Griffin is saying it's either OK to smash up green cars, or we pay the correct VED, and so "pay our way".

      Delete
  24. Chiming in from Michigan in the States....all I have to say is, what a dick! Lol

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    1. That's rich coming from the country with the biggest number of dicks in it!

      Delete
  25. It's one thing to be treated like a third class citizen. It's quite another to be told to beg for scraps from the table.

    That's how revolutions start...

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  26. Unbelievable !!

    this is a really interesting page i find here,

    www.facebook.com/CyclistsForRightOfWayUK

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  27. Perhaps London cyclists should consider taking direct action against A. Lee cabs, by physically blocking them from using the bus lanes. I expect that the black cabbies would support you..

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  28. I think it's worth emailing your feedback to Mr Griffin via content@addlib.co.uk and CC'ing the editorial email addresses of the national newspapers - that might highlight what an uninformed and ignorant dick this man is.

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  29. What a numpty! Are we sure this guy is a chairman of a company? his statements are somewhat childlike!

    A first degree idiot.

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  30. he does have some point...inexperienced cyclists are at greater risk esp on London's roads...However saying that all motorists should be aware of their surroundings, and should have respect for all other road users two wheeled or four!

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  31. Playing devil's advocate for a minute here, many cyclists do need ditch the 'holier than thou' attitude they seem to have and start shaping up on the road.

    I have a 15-minute walk through the City from train station to office every morning, and the biggest danger I face is from cyclists. A significant percentage of the cyclists I see either have no understanding of the rules of the road, no interest in following them or believe that anything goes as long as they keep ringing their bell as they cycle.

    Traffic islands? No problem, just go round that on the right-hand side. The pedestrians looking left are obviously stupid and deserve to get run over. One-way streets? No problem, those three 'no entry' signs couldn't possibly apply to any pedal-powered crusaders. Just keep ringing that bell!

    It's a food chain of sorts, and everyone's looking down to the next level. But there are dumb cyclists out there, just as there are terrible drivers and people crossing roads whilst reading celebrity gossip on their Blackberry. Mr Griffin is an idiot, but there's something to think about in the subtext of what he's saying.

    Also, from the article above:

    "bus lanes - the nearest thing London has to bike lanes"

    Well, no - they are lanes for buses, taxis and cycles. Y'all need to learn to play nicely together. And don't forget the humble pedestrian please.

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    1. Anonymous, so your reaction to cyclists breaking the law is that mini-cab drivers should break the law?

      "Well, no - they are lanes for buses, taxis and cycles. Y'all need to learn to play nicely together. " Yes, that's right. We are (moderately) happy with that and do play nicely with taxis and buses, or we come off worse. They're not for mini-cabs. Mini-cabs have to play nicely - elsewhere.

      Delete
    2. I bike through the city every morning and evening and I get how annoying it is. If there was another route that wasn't twice as long, I would take it. You're right, many cyclists don't pay attention to the rules. And they should, especially during heady rush hour. But on Monday, take a look to see how many pedestrians step into the road off crowded pavements without looking. Look to see how many cross against the light or between buses caught in traffic. Everyone has to be better at this. If you can find me a report of a pedestrian death caused by a cyclist breaking a road law, I'll eat my frame.

      Delete
    3. @ Luke - no, my reaction is that everyone should follow the rules of the road *and* apply a bit of common sense. That's the point I'm trying to make - Griffin is clearly an idiot, but I think some of the backlash I'm seeing is hypocritical.

      @ Anonymous - yeah, pedestrians do do stupid things. I said as much above; on more than one occasion I've pulled someone back onto the pavement when they were sleepwalking in front of an oncoming cyclist. I don't think, however, that we need a dead pedestrian in order to lend validity to any of my arguments.

      There are traffic rules, and there's an ebb and flow to think about too. Based on personal experience as a pedestrian in City rush hour, it's the cyclists who need to work *most* on adjusting to these things. But we can all do our bit, of course.

      Delete
    4. @Anon (1st) - you are mixing up a perceived danger with a real one. You only have to look at the figures (and London has lots) - http://www.ctc.org.uk/resources/Campaigns/1110_Cyclists-behaviour-and-law__4M__brf_rev_.pdf Cyclists actually pose very little risk, drivers sadly pose a risk around 1000 times greater to others.

      The trouble is this - the dumb cyclists arent actually that many, and they're localised to specifics like location and times. Traffic note 8 is a bit of research that counters the myth that cyclists are scofflaws.

      No amount of law breaking by one party is reason to allow another party to break another law.

      Delete
  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. The people defending Mr Griffin's comments and saying cyclist represent a real danger to them are utterly misguided, I'm afraid. I pointed out in this recent blogpost that Transport for London research into the causes of vehicle-cycle accidents (based on figures from the hardly pro-cycling Metropolitan Police) attribute the blame for around three-quarters of the accidents to the motorists: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/it-may-be-fun-but-is-cycling-part-of.html . As for the idea that cyclists represent a serious danger to pedestrians or anyone else, I pointed out in a previous blogpost that cyclist-pedestrian collisions accounted for 0.22 per cent of road fatalities in 2010: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/minister-who-made-invisible-visible-man.html . That was a freak bad year. The six pedestrian deaths after cycle collisions in 2008-10 accounted for 0.08 per cent of road fatalities and 0.46 per cent of pedestrian deaths. It's cars that threaten people and poor driving such as that by Addison Lee vehicles particularly.

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    1. It always utterly amazes me how the car/cycle debate polarises seemingly intelligent people so much. As both a car driver and cyclist I can see valid points on both sides. I do however disagree with the tone of the original article by Griffin but think he does raise some valid points. Anyone who has ever walked along the side of the Paddington basin canal will know that cyclist seem to think they are racing to work - you mix this with pedestrians and it is a recipe for an accident. There are absolutely bad car drivers, in the same way there are some bad cyclists. With the upcoming Olympics there will be more "novice" cyclists on Londons roads but in a busy city everyone has a part to play. Just because the highway code says cyclists have priority doesn't imply that a motorist is psychic and can predict the actions of a "novice" cyclist. As an advanced driver the primary aim is to drive defensively - To think ahead in a situation, to be courteous to other road users and to drive safely. The same should apply to cyclists.

      As for the quoted statistic of bike versus vehicle, that's like comparing spoon vs knife related accidents in the kitchen. Of course one will be higher - but the person holding the spoon still needs to be accountable for their actions.

      Delete
    2. He doesnt raise any valid point, his attitude is why even learner drivers get subjected to aggressive s*** on the roads.

      Griffin has argued against a strawman - many of those recently killed or seriously injured were not inexperienced - they were people who rode every day and had done for a number of years. Outside of London it gets worse - people like Cath Ward, Ken Austin and Rob Jefferies - all VERY experienced, and ALL dead because of another's actions.

      Delete
    3. I love the knife and spoon analogy. You're such an idiot you've made everyone else's point accidentally.

      Knives cause more injuires than spoons. That's why there are serious legal restrictions on the selling and buying of knives, and none for spoons. Even though you can use both to eat peas off, one has significant regulations around its use, one does not. Do you still want to compare motor vehicles to knives and bikes to spoons? In professional kitchens, I owuld imagine there is a lot of training for chopping things, and very little (if any) on how to stir things.

      Also, the Highway Code doesn't say that cyclists have priority, does it? Priority is determined by position on the road and time of arrival at a junction, not by vehicle type. What the Highway Code does say is that sufficient room should be given to all road users when overtaking, and particular care should be given around those road users who might need to swerve to avoid potholes.

      Delete
    4. Wow you have so spectacularly missed my point and even resulted to insults - wow the Internet is a great place.

      I was not arguing about legislation at all, merely pointing out the fact that stats regarding fatalities from bike accidents are off course going to be less than from cars (e.g. Spoon vs Knife).

      My point was that everyone needs to play a part in it, not just car drivers.

      Delete
  34. What an offensive article.

    I cycle daily and use Addison Lee extensivley. I will never use Addison Lee again.

    Someone should point out to this guy that we ALL pay 'Road Tax' whether we cycle, drive, walk or all threee.

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  35. Sorry mate, I scratched your cab.

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  36. As a cyclist and a car driver, I know the importance of being considerate to other road users. It does work both ways though and cyclists need to be careful too. On a number of occasions I have had to stop suddenly at a pelican crossing after the lights have turned to flashing amber and the crossing is clear, when a cyclist on my inside decides to cut across in front of me and go over the crossing. Cyclists also need to be aware that Red lights mean stop for them too, and they don't mean stop anywhere over the white line you like.

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    1. How terrible that the nasty cyclists aren't more considerate to you the poor motorist - surely a case of people in glass houses throwing stones perhaps?

      We all see plenty of drivers going through red lights in London on a daily basis, and plenty who go across the Advanced Stop Line... you do know you're supposed to stop before you cross that white line. And let's not forget all the times we've seen drivers using their mobile phones at the wheel, or the habitual 'only going a little bit faster than the speed limit' we see all the time, or the changing lanes / turning left or right without indicating or checking if it is safe to do so, or the overtaking without leaving sufficient clearance, or the tailgating, etc, etc.

      And of course the outcome of any 'in-considerate' collision for the poor old motorist is that they give a 'sorry mate I didn't see you' and get a tap on the rest from the law, while the mean old pedestrian or cyclist probably ends up in A&E.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous @ 03.44 AM says he's a cyclist *and* a car driver. So why do you address him as 'the poor motorist'? Didn't like that someone could see both sides of the coin? Get a grip. It's a bike you're riding, not a high horse.

      Every single road crime you mention in your second paragraph is committed every day by cyclists I see, including chatting on mobile phones.

      This shouldn't be the 'us vs them' argument it's turned into. We're all responsible - drivers, cyclists, pedestrians. We (collectively) need to shape up and think about what we're doing out there, stop pointing fingers, and stop using ridiculous road safety statistics as justification for how we drive, ride or walk. Fucking pathetic.

      Delete
    3. I am also a cyclist and a car driver but didn't put that in my post because frankly I think it is an irrelevance, where as Anon @ 03:44 AM uses it as proof of their own superior knowledge of the importance of being considerate, as if anyone who wasn't a cyclist AND a car driver would be ignorant of these facts. They then proceeded to recount how naughty and inconsiderate cyclists can be without also acknowledging how naughty and inconsiderate motorists can also be. Hardly as balanced as you seem to be looking for is it?

      The point you completely missed in trying to score your point is that with great power comes great responsibility. If one chooses to drive a bloody great big metal box at high speed through the streets of a busy city then frankly you have to exercise a great deal more care than someone who pedals a bicycle through the same streets, because the consequences of you not doing so are potentially much more serious. Okay? Satisfied?

      PS. I quite like road safety statistics and don't think they are at all ridiculous. I didn't however use them once in my post, but why let a good fact get in the way of a rant, eh?

      Delete
  37. I think Addison Lee have the contract to drive the cars in the ZIL lanes for the olympics - the ones for VIPS no one else can use. Should they be allowed to keep it? If they do, is there a chance for protest/mischief? I know black cab drivers are not happy about those lanes.

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  38. Just to say that I agree with pretty much every comment on here. What a plonker! But there's also a hypocrisy in his words. If John Griffin feels that cyclists deserve no respect because they don't pay road tax it would follow that his drivers _would_ show respect to those roadusers who do pay road tax. In my experience they don't - particularly the mini-cab drivers. I'm a motorcyclist. I use London's roads every day and I don't have a "protected space with impact bars and airbags". Yes cyclists can be a pain but guess what so can cars, van, cab drivers and motorcyclists too. In my experience Addison Lee drivers (and riders) show little respect for any other road user - particularly those smaller than themselves. Congratulations Mr Griffin. I have never used your company but your words here have now added it to my list of companies I boycott.

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  39. I'm a cyclist and I have an Addison Lee account which I was thinking of cancelling as they're totally over priced. This article has just helped me made up my mind about it.

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  40. I am a cyclist and I agree with parts of what he has said.
    There are ALOT of novice cyclists on the road who pose a great danger to not only themselves but others around them.

    As cycling has become incredibly popular and with more and more people taking to the road without training or in some cases, road knowledge, we all need to be more aware when we saddle up and also more responsible and set a good example to freshers on the road.

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  41. I cycle daily, and I dislike the tone of the article, but responding with anger doesn't help. Sure, stop using Addison Lee, but let's keep on educating rather than getting cross.

    You know... stuff like this:

    http://www.roadswerenotbuiltforcars.com/motorists-front-of-judea-what-have-the-cyclists-ever-done-for-us/

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  42. Yet again the media takes an article and manipulates it into something 'shocking'.
    I read the article and was shocked by what it was saying, and thought the comments Griffin made were completely outrageous.
    However I stop an ask ask how many of you bothered to actually zoom in on the cleverly placed picture and read Griffin's column yourselves?
    Here his comments seem less catastrophic and well just plain careless.
    As a motor car driver of 3 years and previously a cyclist, I can see some logic to what Griffin has to say. When I used to cycle, I could have greatly benefited from the experience that driving a car has given me, driving gives you better awareness of the whole road, and you learn how cars see you as a cyclist. The mere fact that you have to undertake extensive training in order to be allowed to drive on the road wouldn't be in place unless it was a necessary precaution, so why shouldn't cyclists undertake the same training?

    Unfortunately Griffin in his column has quite a 'clumsy' way of putting this across, and subsequently more emphasis is place on the monetary value of this, a topic which always seems to divide us.

    An an previous Addison Lee customer, I could find no fault with their service. They were punctual, efficient, and the drivers with which I have met appeared to have good driving etiquette. I think to 'boycott' Addison lee because the chairman (who most likely sits in a boardroom and never drives for his own company and is probably driven to and from work) makes clumsy careless comments is ludicrous.
    However it seems as a nation we must have something to complain about, a 'bandwagon' to jump aboard. And well, alas, for this week it is Addison Lee.

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    1. Erm, Griffin isn't harmless sitting in his office at all. He's filling David Cameron's coffers whilst asking for official contracts, then orders a campaign of civil disobedience by his drivers to be be given road priority over normal cars and lorries. So an article claiming the "fact" that drivers can't be to blame for killing grannies because you'd need to be psychic is another shocking indictment of this man and his company.

      I've already started the boycott. You should be ashamed of supporting this behaviour

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  43. CDutton - surely pedestrian training should be next in mind. I mean they are also allowed on the roads, no? The idea of training stems from the fact that cars are much more difficult to operate and create bigger danger to others. There is a difference in operating even the smallest of cars to operating a bicycle.

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    1. Darth Vader taught me how to cross the road when I was a kid. Not a lesson I'm going to forget in a hurry!

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    2. This is why you need to be licensed to drive http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2yAZcDtwOo&feature=player_embedded#! and as it seems it still doesn't prevent all accidents. Try doing the same with a bicycle.

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    3. The actual learning to operate a car is a tiny part of learning to drive.
      Operating a car is not the difficult part, you learn that in your first lesson. The subsequent lessons are to teach you how to drive that vehicle safely on the road. You also have a driving theory test, which makes sure people understand the Highway code and how it applies.
      In terms of cycling, I undertook the cycling proficiency course when I was younger, which gives you a basic awareness of cycling on the road and of aspects of the highway code.
      Unfortunately this isn't a compulsory course in order to be allowed on the road. I'm not saying all motorcar drivers are faultless, but in terms of a growing numbers of 'fresher' cyclists taking to the streets, perhaps making a training course such as this a necessity would ensure better road safety for all its users.

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    4. This example wasn't about entr'acte ability to operate a car but rather about the consequences of misusing the car. That's the reason for comp insurance and all that.

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  44. I do think a good protest might be a 'cyclists in cars' protest. Choose a day when as many cyclists as possibly can, drive to work one rush hour. Then we'll see whether cyclists are the problem on the road. Difficult to organise though. Perhaps the cars should have their bikes on the roof rack to make the protest more visible.

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  45. He actually makes a very good point - a cycle test would be a benefit to all road users

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  47. It's on the Times
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3390328.ece

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  48. Yes, and lets vote with our feet. We will no longer be using Addison Lee.

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  49. I was driving along the King's Road in London a couple of days ago when a cyclist went full pelt through a red light and into a pedestrian who foolishly thought that a green man meant she might be safe to cross. He was more or less OK as he was wearing protective gear, she was injured and badly shaken up. Cyclists will get a lot more respect on the roads if they follow the rules themselves - you know small things like stopping at red lights...

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    1. Soooo because of some plonkers all cyclist should be tarred with the same brush? What about drink drivers, drivers on mobiles, mowing down and killing or maiming people for life? Should all drivers be guilty by association?

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    2. Well, this has completely changed my view. A cyclist went through a red light and hurt someone. We can all accept that that happens, is very unfortunate and shouldn't happen. I never run red lights. The incident you witnessed is, however, entirely atypical of road accidents. Collisions with cyclists killed six people between 2008 and 2010 - they accounted for 0.08 per cent of road fatalities, well below cyclists' share of traffic. Anyone who's seriously concerned about improving road safety should be seeking to encourage cycling (because it reduces the risk to other road users) and cracking down on speeding, driving while 'phoning and the multiple other motorist behaviours that actually kill large numbers of people. Sadly, people are more concerned with feeling the kind of irritation with cyclists that I chronicle here: http://invisiblevisibleman.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/why-some-people-get-angry-with-cyclists.html

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  50. Well I sniff some seriously manufactured outrage. As with any editorial which is clearly designed to provoke, he makes a couple of good points mixed in with some seriously bad ones.

    Then look at the conclusion - from nowhere he pulls down that we should "pay up".

    Frankly, I don't thing he deserves the kind of irate response he was clearly looking to get.

    Move on!

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  51. The comments on here sum up the idiotic worldview of the cult of the warrior cyclist. What privilege do you seriously expect on London's roads, keeping in mind many of the inner city ones were barely even conceived for motor vehicles, never mind anyone else? Your clamouring for special interest is no different than this Griffin wanting his taxis to be able to use the bus lanes. Much as I am loathed to say it, we are very much in this together, and groupthink isn't doing you any favours. You lot are definitely worse for this than the drivers, by the way, probably because you've convinced yourself you're saving the world by riding a fucking pushbike or something equally adolescent.

    I currently drive in London 5--6 hours per day and have used bicycles my whole life (ex-downhill racer and BMX trail/street rider). I have scraped two riders off the roads in the last six months, one just yesterday afternoon, both accidents caused by negligent car drivers performing U-turns and T-boning cyclists that were overtaking. The drivers should have both checked their offside mirrors and it was clear to me that neither did. Nasty slams for both cyclists, wrecked bikes, and travelling at speed not a great deal either of them could do but take it on the chin.

    But, both riders were going at full belt, probably 25mph or so in otherwise slow end-to-end traffic, on arse-up head-down road bikes, one in pitch dark. If this was a motorcyclist wearing no armour on a small, quiet 125 with pathetic headlights (most delivery motorcycles in London) nobody would have any sympathy for them, but as soon as it's a cyclist in lycra shorts on a hilariously inappropriate bike and three flashing LEDs on his handlebars? Come on.

    Cyclists need to take some responsibility for themselves. Most of the race bike riders (don't even get me started on the fixie doofuses) do not have a bike skill between them, and even if they did the nature of their stupid bikes and tyres is such that they couldn't get out of trouble anyway. And the idea that three (flashing!) LEDs should be sufficiently visible in a driver's wing mirror in the middle of Shoreditch in the dark surrounded by illuminated bus shelters/shops windows/video walls/the mess of roadsigns/a hundred other properly lit vehicles is just insane. I am convinced that the buck stops with the car drivers in both of the accidents I witnessed, but hell, protect yourselves from idiots! In the car world it's called defensive driving---driving you presume that everyone is just about to do what you least expect them to. This attitude, and developing the skills/buying the equipment to best deal with it should be obvious, but cyclists too often fail to see through their little cloud of smug.

    An aside: Separating roads into lanes for different types of traffic CAUSES accidents, as many more lane changes are required than would be if everyone had access to the (usually) two lanes available in London. The 'Cycle Superhighways' seem to be fairly effective, but that is because of force of cyclist numbers using them, and not the road design. Back in my BMX days 20 of us could dictate the flow of any urban street no problem. Bus/taxi lanes are a product of special interest groups and have caused more problems than they solve. And they dictate that cyclists (who should by rights be on the nearside of cars) should fight with the biggest vehicles on the road! I have no doubt that bus lanes and their impact on driving will have been the cause of many accidents with bicycles.

    When I ride my bike on the roads I don't follow the rules---to me personally there is no point in using a bike unless it is to circumvent the rules. But I grew up riding bikes every day, I could hop a car bonnet if I needed to. But I take responsibility for that behaviour. I would not, however, do 25mph through busy traffic in the dark in Shoreditch and expect to get away with it. Anyone thinking that they have a 'right' to do that is arrogant in the extreme and have it coming to them.

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    1. So you ride a bike precisely so you don't abide by rules.

      Proves what I have always thought - if you are an a*se on a bike, you are probably an a*se in a car or van or lorry too.,

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    2. The most sensible thing i have read about cyclists i have read in a very long time.

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  52. It is perhaps worth noting that Addison Lee does not employ the drivers - the drivers pay (handsomely) to get an Addison Lee owned car and get paid per job (unlike taxis than get a metered payment per mile, and per minute, so they have less of an urgency to complete the journey.

    I notice that Addison Lee also has a PSV operators licence - was a restricted 2-vehicle licence when granted in 2010, and not for limousines or novelty vehicles. Not sure what buses or coaches are in the fleet though, howver a condition for operators is 'to be of good repute' How does this square with an instruction to drivers to flout traffic laws?

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  53. Can we not all lobby our MPs to get Parliament to withdraw Addison Lee's licence? That'll hurt 'em!

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  54. Anonymous - Parliament does not issue the PHC Licences for London - TfL does and they're already in court with Addison Lee over the bus lanes issue. If TfL wins that one, it may lead them to look at the licence issue.

    Meanwhile Andreas, has anyone started logging companies who are closing their Addison Lee accounts? Reports of some significant clients pulling out.

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  55. I bet those that call for cycle training don't have the faintest idea what is being taught. Many motorists think cyclists 'using the lane' don't know what they are doing - ie think they should be in the gutter. That gives rise to exactly the 'granny wobbling round a pothole' scenario Griffin is concerned about.

    On a practical note, does anyone have a copy of the "Ad Lib" mag ?
    If you could harvest a list of email addresses from the adverts, we could perhaps suggest the advertisers cease associating themselves with the company ? In many cases, they will also be hire-car account-holders ...

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  56. Maybe John Griffin would like to meet the Dorling Family to explain his comments and negligent advice to his drivers? I think he should share our pain just for 1 hour. We also scattered Brian's ashes on Monday 16th April, our 25th wedding anniversary........not quite what we had planned.

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  57. Without wanting to set the cat amongst the pigeons, I don't get this at all. In 5 rather short paragraphs he seems to be saying cyclists should be trained and is concerned accidents might go up this summer. After seeing some hideous accidents where the cyclist comes out worse off I don't disagree.

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  58. What about us poor pedestrians who not only have to watch out for vehicles who don't bother to signal when turning left or right into side roads but now have to watch out for cyclists who increasingly have total disregard for traffic lights. Just the other day i saw a cyclist, with a helmet mounted camera, just casually go through a red light while people were crossing. Just shows that there are piss takers on the road no matter what mode of transport they are using.

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  59. For anyone, on either side of the fence, this is how bad things could get...

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2012/feb/17/bus-driver-cyclist-attack-video

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  60. As both a cyclist and a driver I find it dangerous that cyclist are allowed to use the public highway untested. The cycling proficiency test should be mandatory if you wish to use you bicycle on the public highway. Un tested cyclists should be restricted to cycle lanes, byways etc.

    I say this as the mixed ability of cyclists using London’s roads to commute ranges from fantastic cyclists (good lane discipline, spatial awareness, good judges of speed and distance and the ability to consider other road users) to god awful cyclists (no skills whatsoever and no consideration for other road users) who frankly would be a danger to themselves in a padded cell. This coupled with large scale access to the Boris bikes unfortunately means more cyclists will be run over and for some of them at least it will be their own fault.

    I don’t believe cyclists should have to pay a road tax but the testing should be self-funding

    With regard to Addison lee, I cannot be the only one who has noticed that there drivers are the worst on the road. Overly aggressive, always in the wrong lane and queue jumping, accelerating towards amber traffic lights, cutting in and cutting up everyone. It can’t be coincidence that they all drive like that and must be a company directive. I now make a point of never giving way to an Addison lee vehicle and hope that others do the same.

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  61. Thanks for sharing this. Indeed, cyclists (whether pros or newbies) should have safer roads to travel on.

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  62. If you have a car and you want to sell to it, then defiantly you search for dealers in you local area which have the slogan that "we buy any car". But, you will notice that the price at which they buy it from you is not a satisfactory one. So, if you want to sell it at good price then do a search over internet and try to find out their competitors also.

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  63. Yes ,we will defiantly have savers road now.
    www.royalwindsortaxis.co.uk


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