John Griffin, head of taxi firm Addison Lee, has caused a storm on Twitter after he published a rant on cyclists using the road in London.
The article, published in the company’s Add Lib magazine, read: “Green party candidates and others are up in arms about what they see as the murder of Cyclists on London Roads.
“There has, as we all know, been a tremendous upsurge in cycling and cycling shops. This summer the roads will be thick with bicycles. These cyclists are throwing themselves onto some of the most congested spaces in the world. They leap onto a vehicle which offers them no protection except a padded plastic hat.
“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.
“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.
“It is time for us to say to cyclists, ‘You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up’.”
‘Addison Lee’ is now trending on Twitter with people discussing the debacle, and a ‘die in’ event page has been set up on Facebook, with 107 people at time of writing planning to attend the event on Monday to highlight the dangers that drivers pose to cyclists.
Comments on Twitter include ‘Just caught up on that Addison Lee debacle. Wow, that dude really didn't think that through huh? Incredible levels of ignorance.’ from @BangsandaBun; ‘Hm. With people like that Addison Lee guy around, it's no wonder that people are frightened to cycle. I worry even more for my safety now.’ from @MsAlliance and ‘Loving the Addison Lee vs cyclists war. Not saying I agree with Griffin's comments, but a lot of London cyclists are infuriatingly careless.’ from @HannahsTweet.
This is the second faux-pas in a week for the company, which also instructed its drivers to illegally use bus lanes. Transport for London is seeking an injunction against the company.