You want to join our gang, get on your bike!

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!

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

Things are looking positive

Hundreds if not thousands of cyclists turned up to cycle around the streets of London to show support for The Times Cycle Safe campaign on the eve of the parliamentary debate. A debate which saw the House of Commons rather empty.

I would like to start of by saying thank you to the usual suspects, Mark of i b i k e l o n d o n, Danny of Cyclists in the City and of course the London Cycling Campaign for organising another great protest ride, which despite the forecasted weather, had plenty of cyclists attending. And whilst there where a few niggles with the police and how the pack was being split up, thank you to them for helping marshal the event and keeping everyone safe.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to cycle this event due to a knee injury, instead I was walking on foot with my camera in hand taking photos. A few of those photos can be seen on flickr. The turnout was certainly huge, I’ve heard numerous numbers thrown around, and as a bystander, I can certainly say it was above 1,000 cyclists. Watching the cyclists coming over westminster bridge was just amazing, the line went on for ages!

This was of course on the eve of the parliamentary debate about cycling safety. The Times campaign has certainly set an impressive chain of events into motion as we see the House of Commons almost empty yesterday afternoon. This is an achievement that no other cycling campaign has managed in recent years.

So are things looking positive? Well a great turn out from cyclists and a good turn out by MP’s is certainly a positive, our trusty Prime Minister David (not a cyclist) Cameron may have just thrown a few bad eggs. Promising a pitiful amount of money for building new cycle routes across the country (less in fact than what was spent on the current Cycle Superhighways, and we know how good they are). It is of course a start.

At the end of Wednesdays ride, Mark of i b i k e l o n d o n announced a new date to keep clear in our diaries, Saturday the 28th of April, for another mass ride, where hopefully even more cyclists will turn out for our biggest gathering to date.

 

A riders view of the ride. Thanks to Arasllopp for this

What are we missing?

The Times #cyclesafe campaign has taken off massively over the past weeks. With support from sporting stars, politicians, huge companies and thousands of people.

The campaign raises similar points to other campaigns, touching on topics such as trixie mirrors, issues with large vehicles, re-design of junctions and speed limits. The difference so far is that it has been coming from a huge newspaper and not from a cycling lobby.

But are we missing something?

The one thing missing is a way to change road user attitude. I see the Times mention training of drivers and cyclists and to include a cycling specific section in the driving test. Whilst yes this would be a good measure, it doesn’t solve the millions of drivers we already have on our roads who are ‘bad’ drivers.

So what can we do? Essentially we need better policing on the roads. At present people are allowed to get away with bad driving if nobody in authority is watching and if no collision occurs. Because they aren’t brought up on it, this leads to bad driving become a habit and essentially normal driving.

Speeding is bad driving

As Croydon Council recently put on a sign around the corner from me. ‘Speeding is bad driving’. They put this on a road which is well-known for speeding road users. It’s nice and wide, with a pedestrian footpath on only one side which is also separated from the main carriage way by traffic islands and another small roadway. So people feel like it is OK to speed. In my +10 years of using this road, as a cyclist, driver and passenger, I’ve not once seen a police vehicle on it that was going after speeding drivers.

Usually, unless there is a fatal or serious road collision due to a speeding vehicle, local authorities will not put in speed cameras, and even if they do, they are of the type which are static, highly visible and only slow drivers down for a few meters. Only a few years ago hundreds if not thousands of speed cameras were turned off around the country because they cost too much to run.

Adding brand new cycling facilities is all well and good but they are useless if they aren’t enforced by the police or if all road users aren’t educated about them. We can see an example of poor implementation, enforcement and education by looking at advanced stop lines. A large proportion of ASL’s have vehicles in them which shouldn’t, which just makes the whole reason for them pointless.

It took years to make drink driving unacceptable, fines and points is not enough to deter people from doing something. Driving bans are much more effective. Driving whilst on the phone is just as dangerous as driving whilst over the drink drive limit, yet the penalties are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum which makes driving on the phone appear to be less dangerous and more socially acceptable, which it shouldn’t be.

We obviously need to change certain things to make the road network safer for all road users but I think a big aspect we are missing in current campaigning is increased enforcement of road users, continued education throughout driving ‘career’ and changing the underlying attitude that British road users have.