Archives For Cyclists

I’ve heard several cyclists state that they only go through red lights because it is the safest thing to do. They are scared of vehicles behind them, the big scary lorries and busses. They state that they go through the red light because many cyclists are killed by large vehicles and being in front of them is obviously dangerous.

Cyclist jumping red light

Quiet obviously going through the red light is not the safest thing to do. All you are doing is moving your contact point with the large vehicle, moving it from a stop start to them overtaking you further down the road, where the speeds will be larger and the whole thing will happen a lot faster. Not only that but there is the actual fact that you are going through a red light, something which some people argue can be done perfectly safely, and whilst that might be possible, you will always get caught out eventually. You could hit a pedestrian, be struck by a car crossing in front of you or you could even SMIDSY another cyclist.

There are two scenarios and one way to keep safe for each.
The first being where you are stopped and a large vehicle pulls up behind you. If you are scared for your safely, the best thing to do is to remove your self from the situation. Many people think this means going through the red light but as I mentioned above, you are just moving the contact point. The safest thing to do is to move onto the pavement and wait for the vehicle to pass you, then re-join the road and continue on your journey.
The second being when you approach a large from vehicle behind, I regularly see cyclists filtering to the front, they see it as a target. Of course some use the danger factor to then jump the lights because it ‘is’ safer. The safest thing to do is wait behind the large vehicle and control the lane as you set off.

There is of course only one time where the safest thing to do is to go through a red light. That is when the light turns red and you don’t think the vehicle behind you will stop. Stopping would cause a collision and that is of course, a bad thing.
Some say that a handful of drivers think that all cyclists going through red lights and thus presume that you will not stop when the light changes.

Every time a cyclist jumps a red light, god kills a kitten

When signs matter

May 2, 2012 — 2 Comments

Above is a photo taken on Saturday, the road in question is Mitchem Road (A236) in Croydon. To this date there is still no reason why this cycle lane should be closed, a positive side to this, it has solved the issue of the door zone which Croydon Council is not interested in changing.

I do find the ‘NO PARKING THIS SIDE OF ROAD’ rather amusing, not only is the grammar rather poor (coming from someone who is dyslexic) but there also isn’t any chance of parking on the other side of the road as it has been dug up.

This image was taken only days before on CS7, further up the road are some gasworks which have caused the road to be narrowed on either side which means that cyclists and motor traffic can no longer co-exist.

Yesterday, several hundred cyclists turned up to voice their opinions on the comments that John Griffin had made. None of them how ever where grannies that had got on the bikes for the first time. They where seasoned cyclists, cyclists who care and who already know the lack of driving ability that the drivers of Addison Lee have.

Cyclists lie down in the road as if they where hit by cars

I’m sure that John Griffin is regretting his actions over the past week. He has pissed off two groups of people, taxi drivers and cyclists. Whilst he has done one thing that none of us imagined (united taxi drivers and cyclists), he has messed with two groups that are willing to get together and boycott the company because of the chairmans actions. This of course has resulted in the mass protest of cyclists and several taxi drivers outside Addison Lee’s headquarters. It has also lead to countless amounts of 1 star reviews on there iPhone, Andoid and Windows Phone App.

The app rating on the Apple App store

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Griffin didn’t think about, and what many people struggle to understand. Is that many people cycle because they enjoy it, or because it is quicker and not because they can’t afford to travel in a minicab or take the tube. Griffin may well have got the attention of some individuals that are in the position to make decisions about which minicab firm the company uses. This along with the bad news coverage, could lead to Addison Lee loosing out massively!

One thing that John Griffin continues to comment on is that cyclists are not trained to use the roads. What he fails to realise is that trained cyclists will be his worst enemy, especially if he wants his cabs to use the bus lanes. Why? Because any trained cyclist will know to take control of a bus lane, they are rarely wide enough to be shared. His minicabs won’t be able to make progress in the bus lanes without first leaving them to safely pass the cyclists who are cycling as they have been trained.
That unfortunately doesn’t help with his mentality of ‘it’s not the drivers fault if the cyclist swerves’

Addison Lee is a joke!

April 20, 2012 — 14 Comments

And not what you would call a funny. Cyclists in the City reported yesterday that the Chairman has said some worrying things in the latest Add Lib Magazine.

He says

You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up

I think it is worth noting that the bicycle came before cars and it was cyclists that made it possible for the cars to use the roads, as we where the ones that campaigned for smooth sealed roads!

His comment came after the usual rubbish that someone with little knowledge of the road network throws at a cyclist.

The rest of us occupying this roadspace have had to undergo extensive training. We are sitting inside a protected space with impact bars and air bags and paying extortionate amounts of taxes on our vehicle purchase, parking, servicing, insurance and road tax.

Road what? Come on John Griffin, I took you for a smarter man than that! We all know that road tax was abolished in 1937 and that even if cyclists had to pay under the same system as motorised transport, we would pay £0!

Can he not see that you must pay large sums of money because making a car is expensive, parking spaces are valuable, parts are expensive to replace and cars cause lots of damage. The bicycle on the other hand is simple machine in comparison, with costs much smaller than those of a motorised vehicle.

His comment about training is of course an amusing one. A bicycle is allowed to use the road by right, no training is required as it is a fairly simple task. It would be a bit silly if we forced 14 year old girls to get a number plate to hang over the horses bum and force them to take a test. Would the horse have to take a theory test as well?
The car on the other hand, as he points out, is a vehicle that is protected, the passengers are protected. The vehicle its self can be a weapon, it can kill and seriously injure someone if the wrong person is behind the wheel.

But to the real point, it was worse long before the usual comments. John Griffin said the following

Should a motorist fail to observe a granny wobbling to avoid a pothole or a rain drain, then he is guilty of failing to anticipate that this was somebody on her maiden voyage into the abyss. The fact is he just didn’t see her and however cautious, caring or alert he is, the influx of beginner cyclists is going to lead to an overall increase in accidents involving cyclists.

Well of course it is going to lead into an increase in ‘accidents’ if your drivers aren’t looking. Cyclists across London already know that Addison Lee hires drivers that got their license from a box of Frosties (They’re GRRRRRRRR-EAT).
Perhaps Mr Griffin should put his own house in order before commenting about others, as the quality of his drivers road use is appalling.

He is of course suggesting that it is not the drivers fault if a cyclist wobbles around because they are inexperienced and there is a collision. Of course it is the drivers fault, it is up to the overtaking vehicle to pass safely. If you are in the more dangerous form of transportation then you look after those who are in a more vulnerable position. You wouldn’t  go around ramming little girls off their horses and then try to blame it on them being too inexperienced or not having insurance.

He started this week off by whining on TV that his minicabs are being treated unfairly because they aren’t allowed to use the bus lanes. By the end of the week he has stated that it isn’t the drivers fault if an inexperienced cyclist gets in their way.

John Griffin is a child, he was on TV whining because he wasn’t getting his way, by the end of the week he has thrown his toys out of the pram because the cyclists grouped together and made some noise.

Here is a video I made earlier that I think Mr Griffin should be forced to watch

Bike Biz alerted us to the fact that Addison Lee drivers have received a letter from the Chairman of the company, telling them to start using London bus lanes as of today.

The Chairman, John Griffin, wrote

Our legal advice is that bus lane regulations are currently being misinterpreted to exclude [private hire vehicles] from bus lanes. Such misinterpretation is unlawful.

What defines who is and who isn’t allowed in a London bus lane, is the Traffic Management Order for the bus lane. I’ve looked at several of these across several boroughs and they all have similar wording (obviously built from the same template). They state something along the lines of

In this Order- …. “bus”, “local bus”, “pedal cycle”, “taxi”, “traffic lane”, “contra-flow” and “with-flow
lane” have the meanings given in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General
Directions 2002

Looking at the TSRGD Regulation 23, we can not determine what the definition of a taxi is. Is a minicab / private hire vehicle a taxi?

TFL state the following

Only licensed taxis (black cabs) can pick up passengers on the street. Any minicab driver who picks up customers without a booking is acting illegally. This includes minicabs lined up outside pubs and clubs.

Taxis (black cabs) have a light on the front displaying the word ‘TAXI’.

Only taxis (black cabs) may be hailed by customers and picked up off the street. Minicabs cannot accept fares that have not been booked in advance

There are now around 3,200 licensed private hire operators, 60,000 licensed private hire drivers, and roughly 50,000 licensed private hire vehicles in London. In addition, there are approximately 22,000 licensed taxis (black cabs) and almost 25,000 licensed taxi drivers.

So TFL make it clear that there is a difference between a taxi and a private hire vehicle.

The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1988 states

No such advertisement shall include—

(a)any of the following words, namely “taxi”, “taxis”, “cab” or “cabs”

So Private Hire Vehicles are NOT allowed to be advertised as a taxi or as taxis.

So are Addison Lee a Private Hire Vehicles Operator?

When you become a driver with Addison Lee, you join London’s largest private hire operator

In 2009 a FOI request was put in to TFL by Patrick Raeburn asking them

Please can I have all information relating to Private Hire
Vehicle access to Bus Lanes.

TFL’s response was

TfL does not currently permit private hire vehicles into bus lanes on the
Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). Therefore, no information is
held.

Addison Lee are trying to challenge the definition of TAXI used on the signs and in the Traffic Management Orders for London Bus Lanes. Under The Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1988 and by TFL’s own wording, a private hire vehicle may not be classed or advertised as a Taxi. As such, Private Hire Vehicles are not allowed in London Bus Lanes which allow TAXIS.

TFL released a statement yesterday that said the following

Private hire vehicle drivers could be liable to personal criminal prosecution if they break traffic regulations, including by driving in bus lanes.

At last, TFL will be receiving praise from cyclists all across London. Addison Lee drivers are known to be some of the worst in London.