Following the comments made by John Griffin, the chairman of London’s largest taxi firm, Addison Lee, who implied that the injuries and deaths of city cyclists were the fault of untrained bike riders who choose to ride on busy roads on “a vehicle which offers them no protection except a padded plastic hat”, an e-petition to revoke the licence of the taxi firm has attracted over 4,000 signatures.
The article was published in the ‘Chairman’s Column’ section of a magazine that is distributed to all Addison Lee customers, has angered many people in London. The London Cycling Campaign (LCC) has written to Griffin, to make him aware that a study by the independent Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) shows that the major cause of crashes involving adult cyclists is because of bad driving.
Even though motorists pay taxes on their vehicles, not the roads, Griffin said cyclists should pay the same taxes as motorists and undergo the same training, if they want to use the roads.
Griffin has already spent several days in the limelight, after he told his drivers to use the bus lanes and he’ll reimburse any fines. Although the Transport for London warned that drivers could lose their licences if they kept reoffending.
Mike Cavenett, LCC Spokesman, said that Griffin’s orders were more than likely going to encourage his drivers to behave irresponsibly, who will possibly lose their licence and private hire insurance. He said, “It’s hard to see how the government departments and corporate clients that currently use Addison Lee services can continue to do so without appearing to condone the chairman’s complete disregard for cyclist safety.”
Green Party candidate Jenny Jones said she would no longer use Addison Lee and was happy to support the campaign to boycott the company, and a spokesman for the Mayor of London’s re-election campaign said the comments were “irresponsible and unacceptable”.
Griffin said to the Huffington Post that he was glad his comments had made such an online storm and that he stood by his words that cyclists should have compulsory training.
However, he did release a statement later on, saying, “I accept that the tone of the article was perhaps a little too inflammatory. It was meant to entertain and generate debate, but the online reaction has obscured the main message that there are many inexperienced cyclists who need better training to be safe on London’s busy roads”.