Saturday, 21 April 2012


Addison Lee Founder & Chairman - John Griffiths
If you're a cyclist in the UK, you couldn't have failed to have noticed the storm that's been whipped up by the founder of the countries largest - London based - minicab company, John Griffiths.  If you've missed the story, best place to have a quick read is on the website here.  I've also written a blog about it on my business blog here.

Mutual Appreciation

Last year, I came up with a road safety campaign idea called "Cycle5Afe" - The Times subsequently launched a scheme called "Cyclesafe" so I ditched it, having already acquired the URL and Twitter ID I might add!

The crux of the idea was about mutual appreciation of the road and was themed around the five "A's as follows, a bit like the "Think Bike" campaign for motorcyclists: -
  • Aware (cars anticipate that a cyclists may need to manoeuvre unexpectedly, cyclists don't wear headphones so you can be aware of what's behind you).
  • Alert (always have a spatial view of the road, cars need to understand what gap they need to leave, cyclists need to be aware that swerving unexpectedly may cause an accident behind them).
  • Appreciation (of all road users).
  • Assertiveness (cyclists own the road when you need to, drivers be assertive and do not pass until safe, even if you are being hassled).
  • Always (cyclists wear a helmet, drivers stay safe when passing).
The point was there is as much as of a duty of care that cyclists need to show on the road, as there is to road drivers.  Most cyclists, like drivers, are responsible, safe on the road and just wanting to get from A to B.  As usual, it's the minority that jump traffic lights etc, that create the headlines and attract the anti-cycling ranting, like the idiot drivers that take silly risks when overtaking cyclists.

With rising fuel costs, a pressure to lower carbon footprints, rising healthcare costs amonst other things, more people are taking to the saddle and therefore the road needs to be a safe place for all those that choose to use it.  Let's just take a look at the statistics around the reported cycling incidents: -

The Stats (Source: RoSPA).
  • Around 17,000 cycling incidents are reported each year.  Around 2,500 of these involve a serious injury.  
  • Around 75% of fatal or serious cyclist accidents occur in urban areas.
  • Around half of cyclist fatalities occur on rural roads.
  • 75% happen at, or near, a road junction.
  • 80% occur in daylight.
  • 80% of cyclist casualties are mal.
  • Around three quarters of cyclists killed have major head injuries.
Types of Accident (Source: RoSPA).
  • In collisions involving a bicycle and another vehicle, the most common key contributory factor recorded by the police is 'failed to look properly' by either the driver or rider, especially at junctions. 'Failed to look properly' was attributed to the car driver in 57% of serious collisions and to the cyclist in 43% of serious collisions at junctions.
  • Other common contributory factors attributed to drivers are 'poor turn/manoeuvre' (in 17% of serious accidents involving a cyclist) and 'careless, reckless, in a hurry (17%). Cyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries when a driver is judged to be 'impaired by alcohol', exceeding the speed limit' or 'travelling too fast for the conditions'.
  • The second most common contributory factor attributed to cyclists was 'cyclist entering the road from the pavement' (including when a cyclist crosses the road at a pedestrian crossing), which was recorded in about 20% serious collisions.
  • The most common vehicle involved in collisions with cyclists is a car or taxi, with the rider usually being hit by the front of the vehicle. In a quarter of fatal cyclist accidents, the front of the vehicle hit the rear of the bicycle.
Cyclists Pay Their Taxes.

As John Griffiths of Addison Lee is quickly learning around 80% of all cyclists are also drivers (Source - Institute of Advanced Motorists) and quite a large number of them are also Addison Lee customers based upon the negative commentary on social media channels.  It's a myth that cyclists and motorists are separate groups, in four out of five cases, they are one of the same.

The future has to be about mutual respect and co-existence for all road users, regardless of transportation type, a safe environment for all.  Ranting comments just widen the divide, rather than narrow it and aren't helpful.  Griffiths has talked today of his support for the Cyclesafe campaign from The Times, which does rather make you wonder whether there is some serious back-pedalling being done.

Power to the People

The most important point to remember in this whole affair is that cyclists are people.  Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, Nephews, Aunties and Uncles to others.  A moment of madness can lead to devastating effects, just ask Simon Richardson MBE about that, innocently mown down whilst training by a drunk driver.  Being safe is about your actions behind the wheel or behind the handlebars towards another human being, simple as that.  Stay safe, stay cycle5Afe.  See you on the road.


  1. The last A is, I'm sorry, at best your subjective opinion. At worst, it stands at odds with the fact the safest places for cyclists in Europe have extremely low rates of helmet use. Hence, inarguably, helmets are most definitely not a pre-requisite for safe cycling.

    I'd suggest rethinking the last A.

  2. Hey pjakma that's the type of comment that needs a rethink, you can't talk about safer places not wearing helmets if you are not equally looking at the style and type of road / cycle lane.

    Phil - good on you, your final point about about cyclist being people is one that the motorcycle lobby have used for some time.
    Time to make car drivers think the same way, use our newly famous cycling pro's to get that connection in drivers heads that the guy on the bike is a person - that way it's not too great a jump to get them to think about their own family and maybe someday, everyone's family