Coach operator wants to let cyclists know about vehicle blind spots

National Express coaches wants you to vote on which of two warning stickers it should adopt to let cyclists know its vehicles restrict its drivers view of the road so that they pose a hazard to vulnerable road users.

The two sticker designs were developed by National Express and a focus group of cyclists and experts at sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which is hosting the vote.

The appeal for help picking a design comes after a York cyclist published a compilation of careless and irresponsible driver behaviour including an overtake by a National Express coach that clearly failed to meet the Highway Code recommendation to “give … cyclists … at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”.

Sustrans’ expertise is in building off-highway shared-use active travel facilities, so it’s perhaps not surprising that this exercise doesn't seem to have landed on the idea that making coaches less hazardous might be better than slapping on a few stickers.

The group came up with two designs: an arrow style sticker warning cyclists about passing on the left-hand side; and one that includes a large eye, focusing riders’ attention on the coach driver’s blind spot.

To be fair to National Express and Sustrans, the stickers do at least warn of the specific problem, vehicle blind spots. That will be seen as an improvement on the ‘Cyclists Stay Back’ stickers issued by Transport for London that have appeared on even small vans as well as trucks in the capital.

Representatives of cycling campaign groups, including CTC, London Cycling Campaign and Road Danger Reduction Forum, wrote to Transport for London in February saying: “The ‘cyclists stay back’ wording is not acceptable for use on any vehicle, because of its implication that cyclists are second-class road users who should defer to motor vehicle users.”

One of the campaigners’ concerns was that the sticker “conveys no useful information to cyclists,” said in a follow-up letter to Leon Daniels of TfL, adding: “We have suggested that wording should specifically draw attention to the risk from left-turning HGVs.”

According to collision-avoidance system manufacturer EyeDrive, National Express has trialled its Collision Prevention System and more than halved the number of near-misses recorded by its vehicles.

To pick your favourite, go to Sustrans.

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.