Addison Lee Chairman Condones Knocking Cyclists From Their Bikes?
Many cyclists in London have an uneasy relationship with the car hire company Addison Lee. That relationship is set to get significantly worse after John Griffin, chairman of the company, used his editorial piece in the company magazine to slam cyclists.
He claims that drivers of his vehicles should bear no responsibility if they hit a cyclist that swerves to avoid a pothole in the road.
“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."
Not surprisingly, his comments have been met with anger by the cycling community, at a time when the number of people taking to two wheels for their commute to work is on the increase, especially amongst younger people who see it as a healthy and cost effective way of travelling.
It follows research published last year proclaiming the health benefits of cycling to work. It found that people that cycle to work were significantly less stressed than people that drove.
The researchers declared "Generally, car and public transport users suffered more everyday stress, poorer sleep quality, exhaustion and, on a seven point scale, felt that they struggled with their health compared to the active commuters."
All of which is perhaps of little interest to Addison Lee, but what is of interest is the series of massive public relations blunders they have conducted in the past week.
In addition to this ill thought out attack on cyclists, Mr Griffin also encouraged Addison Lee drivers to break the law by using dedicated bus lanes. The suggestion provoked a legal rebuke by transport for London (TfL).
Leon Daniels, TfL's managing director of surface transport, said: "We have applied to the High Court for an interim injunction that will require Addison Lee to withdraw the letter it sent to its drivers on 14 April advising them to drive in bus lanes and telling them they were indemnified against any fine or liability incurred."