Last week I was knocked off my bike by a driver turning left into me as I was cycling forward across a junction. She didn’t stop to see if I was injured or if my bike was damaged, she just drove off leaving me angry, hurt and very shaken.
Luckily I escaped with only some highly-attractive leg bruising and her registration number (which has been submitted to the police, along with a very long and boring collision report form), but the experience is still very fresh in my mind.
So I was mightily pissed off to see the cycle-hating editorial from the chair of Addison Lee cabs – a firm that I use regularly. We even used them for our wedding. Maybe John Griffin – or “Dickhead”, as I prefer to think of him – was just trying to court controversy by suggesting that cyclists should get off their bikes, learn to drive and pay “road tax” (a concept that doesn’t actually exist).
But surely there are better things for the head of London’s biggest cab firm to be controversial about – or in his words to “entertain and generate debate” – than the fact that hundreds of cyclists are injured or killed every year on the capital’s roads under the wheels of lorries, vans and cars, whether private or for-hire.
I would question the assumption that all these cyclists are “wobbling grannies”, and I would wager good money on the guilty party in a good number of those collisions being the one in the tonne or more of solid metal rather than on two wheels. Oh look – research shows that 75% of collisions are caused by drivers, mainly failing to look properly.
For what it’s worth, I’ve been cycling regularly for over 15 years. I also hold a full, clean UK driving licence and pay vehicle excise duty for my own car. I also use buses, trains, black cabs and minicabs, and am a pedestrian. I’m sure there are many, many cyclists who are in the same boat, so to speak.
Yes, there are bad cyclists that make my stomach turn as I watch them shoot red lights, whizz across zebra crossings or meander across the road (and don’t get me started on riders who either don’t have gears or don’t know how to use them…) but there’s a huge majority of good ones.
There’s also a minority of bad drivers amongst the majority of safe and careful motorists. And there are bad pedestrians who step out into the road in i-Pod oblivion, and mostly good ones who use the crossings and look both ways. We are all just trying to get along and share the city’s roads.
Anyway. As a result of all this shenanigans (including the hilarious cyclists “die-in” protest on Monday night) I’m boycotting Addison Lee cabs for the time being. Anyone got any recommendations for cab firms that aren’t run by a cycle-hating idiot?