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Supermarket operator suggested on Twitter that dangerous overtake was okay because "driver is in his own lane"...

Supermarket operator Sainsbury’s has come under heavy criticism on social media after it tweeted a response to a video showing one of its delivery lorries making an extremely close pass on a cyclist in which it said the driver had done nothing wrong since he had remained in his own lane.

The footage, taken in London on a camera mounted on the bike’s handlebars, shows the rider entering a non-mandatory cycle lane. As the cyclist reaches a pinch point created by a traffic island, the driver of the Sainsbury’s lorry overtakes, leaving inches to spare.

The video was originally uploaded to YouTube on 29 March by user CBL. It gained wider attention yesterday when a link to it was tweeted from the account @HackneyCyclist and caught the eye of Chris Boardman.

The British Cycling policy advisor, whose mother Carol was killed last year when she was hit by a pick-up truck while riding through a roundabout, then tweeted his reaction to Sainsbury’s initial response on Twitter.

Besides condemning the driver’s actions, Twitter users replying to Boardman’s tweet described Sainsbury’s response as “disgraceful” and “shameful.” Sainsbury’s has this morning said that the issue is being investigated.

Discussion of the incident on Twitter also focused on the inadequacy of the cycling infrastructure, with this tweet from James Hayden reflecting a view shared by many.

In 2015, Boardman teamed up with cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid and driving instructor Blaine Walsh for a video showing motorists how to pass cyclists safety, in line with instructions given in the Highway Code.

> Video: Chris Boardman demonstrating safe overtaking of cyclists

The previous year, at an event attended by then Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sainsbury’s unveiled a new lorry to deliver to its outlets in London that it said incorporated features to improve cyclist safety.

> Sainsbury's unveils safer lorry as Boris Johnson launches consultation

But in June last year, BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, who commutes by bike in London, said that large signs on the back of Sainsbury’s lorries warning cyclists not to pass the vehicle on the inside were responsible for “increasing general fear of cycling."

> Sainsbury's truck cyclist warning increases "fear of cycling"

It won’t have gone unnoticed that in this case, it was the actions of the driver, not the cyclist, that led to the rider being put in danger.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

51 comments

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dodpeters [16 posts] 2 months ago
17 likes

A fine demonstration of why cycle lanes made only of paint are a bad thing for cyclists.

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CygnusX1 [449 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Can't watch the video due to office restrictions but the still on the front page tells me all I need to know. That is way too close.

Not victim blaming but even if I was using the marked cycle lane (which is way too narrow), I would make sure I moved out into primary position if there was a traffic island coming up. 

Crap infrastructure - inexperienced cyclists use it even though it puts them in danger, and many drivers take the view expressed by original Sainsburys tweet - they think if they stay right of the line its okay.

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ibr17xvii [166 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

Doesn't make it right or acceptable obviously but the reality is this happens all the time.

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ThatBritishBloke [24 posts] 2 months ago
6 likes

"Sorry to those who felt this issue wasn't being taken seriously. "

Weasel words ... It's your fault for feeling this... 

C'mon Sainsbury's. 'Fess up!

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HarrogateSpa [462 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

It's a remarkably calm reaction from the cyclist, to his credit. The driving is awful - terrible overtake, which gets the lorry ahead for about 20 seconds, before it has to stop in a queue. The driver should be severely disciplined or sacked.

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Daveyraveygravey [514 posts] 2 months ago
13 likes

This sums up the whole problem of close passing.  Too many drivers think that so long as they don't actually hit whatever it is they are trying to pass, then it is a OK.  Most of them care more about not damaging their own vehicle than not scaring the crap out of the cyclist.  

If I had been on that road, I would have been just to the left of the white line, and that truck would have scared the living daylights out of me.  I'd have punched the side of it and been screaming my head off.

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cdamian [140 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes

I mostly read road.cc to make fun of British bike lanes  1

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Ladders [11 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

The times I've had this happen to me!

It sends a chill down your spine, before the anger that someone gives so little of a sh&t about someones life that they would do this!

I also had a builder do this to me in his van, who then pulled over ahead of me to 'have a go' at me because I had shouted at  him when he did his close pass!  2

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beezus fufoon [673 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes
CygnusX1 wrote:

Crap infrastructure - inexperienced cyclists use it even though it puts them in danger, and many drivers take the view expressed by original Sainsburys tweet - they think if they stay right of the line its okay.

agreed - I have belts wider than this "cycle lane" - it encourages him to ride in the gutter

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alansmurphy [425 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

Cygnus,

 

The problem with adopting primary is you could argue that if the lorry was coming up behind at a speed relatively quicker than yours, you would be obliged to check the lane you're moving into. A shoulder check could make you move out slightly (further endangering you) and would result in deciding it wasn't safe. What do you do then? Stay where you are with the same outcome or pull in on the left? I don't fancy having to pull in every time there's a traffic island.

 

One option is to ignore the cycle lane, but we all know we then put our lives at risk with a punishment pass.

 

One last thing, I wouldn't particularly hammer Sainsbury's, this is one bad driver and one ill informed person sitting monitoring social media...

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Duncann [986 posts] 2 months ago
8 likes

[shudders]

Whoever installed that pathetic cycle lane also has a case to answer.

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beezus fufoon [673 posts] 2 months ago
0 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

...check the lane you're moving into.

There is only one lane there, so no need to move if you're already taking the lane by not riding in the gutter to begin with.

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ChrisB200SX [359 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

One last thing, I wouldn't particularly hammer Sainsbury's, this is one bad driver and one ill informed person sitting monitoring social media...

Nope, they employ both and are responsible for their actions, hammer away, it's the only way to change this dangerous culture.

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alansmurphy [425 posts] 2 months ago
1 like

But you cannot police every member of staff every minute of every day - some cashier somewhere may call someone a rude name, someone in the warehouse may hold sexist views.

 

I'm not saying it is not wise to raise it, hopefully it will help. All I am saying is that one of several million drivers behaved like an idiot on a given journey. The video was posted and some 'marketing guy' monitoring social media tried to be a bit defensive of the driverith a view that millions of motorists share. All this is likely to have happened before Mr J Sainsbury had a chance to authorise their demise.

 

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P3t3 [386 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes

The pointlessness of this risky manouver is what strikes me the most!  Predictably a mere few seconds later the truck is stationary in a line of traffic again and the rider carries on past him... which anybody who has ever driven or ridden in a town in Britain knows is 99% certain to happen.  This is a professional driver, driving in London, putting someone at great risk despinte it being obvious that within a minute the situation will have been reversed.  

 

I had this once with a minibus, the guy came past me in a similar way then stopped at the lights:

 

Me:  "its really firghtening when you come past that close"

Him:  "We are trained not to leave the lane"

... what am I supposed to do with that...?

 

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JonD [462 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

Cygnus,

 

The problem with adopting primary is you could argue that if the lorry was coming up behind at a speed relatively quicker than yours, you would be obliged to check the lane you're moving into. A shoulder check could make you move out slightly (further endangering you) and would result in deciding it wasn't safe. What do you do then? Stay where you are with the same outcome or pull in on the left? I don't fancy having to pull in every time there's a traffic island.

 

One option is to ignore the cycle lane, but we all know we then put our lives at risk with a punishment pass.

 

One last thing, I wouldn't particularly hammer Sainsbury's, this is one bad driver and one ill informed person sitting monitoring social media...

Perhaps a little easier for me , since as a recumbent rider I have to use a (glasses-mounted) mirror for a decent view of the road behind. But if you plan ahead enough taking the lane isn't an issue, and funnily enough drivers generally seem not to get arsy (tho there's the occasional dick that insists on a late overtake).

But occasionally I forget to adopt primary, usually when there's not much traffic around, and still get some muppet overtaking through pinch points.

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CygnusX1 [449 posts] 2 months ago
1 like
alansmurphy wrote:

Cygnus,

 

The problem with adopting primary is you could argue that if the lorry was coming up behind at a speed relatively quicker than yours, you would be obliged to check the lane you're moving into. A shoulder check could make you move out slightly (further endangering you) and would result in deciding it wasn't safe. What do you do then? Stay where you are with the same outcome or pull in on the left? I don't fancy having to pull in every time there's a traffic island.

 

One option is to ignore the cycle lane, but we all know we then put our lives at risk with a punishment pass.

Agree - it might not always be safe to transition to primary, although with planning ahead and several shoulder checks to spot the safe gap this should be mitigated.

Personally, from what I can see in the picture I would go with your last option and ride secondary in the main traffic lane so that to pass drivers would be forced to cross the median line - this should prevent the attempt to overtake next to a traffic island (although I would still attempt to move out further to make it clear to motons behind that the pass is DEFINITELY not on).  Yes, this approach could "invite" a punishment pass but at least then you have the space to your left as a refuge.

However defensively (or not) we ride we're damned if we do, damned if we don't.

Ultimately, drivers need to take responsibity to pass only when its safe and there is space to do so, and hang back and give room when its not.

 

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Jackson [335 posts] 2 months ago
9 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

But you cannot police every member of staff every minute of every day - some cashier somewhere may call someone a rude name, someone in the warehouse may hold sexist views.

 

I'm not saying it is not wise to raise it, hopefully it will help. All I am saying is that one of several million drivers behaved like an idiot on a given journey. The video was posted and some 'marketing guy' monitoring social media tried to be a bit defensive of the driverith a view that millions of motorists share. All this is likely to have happened before Mr J Sainsbury had a chance to authorise their demise.

 

What a crock of shit. If Mr Sainsbury gets wind of this then he immediately rolls out a memo to all of the drivers to sort out their behaviour or get a new job. Done. What a ridiculous notion that you can't expect your employees not to buzz cyclists unless you're sitting in the cab with them.

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tom_w [219 posts] 2 months ago
11 likes

I would wager that over half of the driving public believe that a cycle lane is like another lane of the highway and so defines the amount of space that's necessary to give to the person in that lane (in the same way they would stay in lane when passing another car if it was in the inside lane).  

There is no possible use for a cycle lane like the one in the video; if it was added to keep the cars a safe distance from the cyclists then it has to be wide enough to do that, which means the cycle lane needs to be 2.25m wide according to the close pass initiative.  If it was added just as inside filter lane for the exclusive use of cyclists in stationery traffic (which obviously it wasn't) then the Highway Code needs to reflect that, as does driving tuition.

The problem is duofold, those lanes are unsafe by design and the highway code contradicts itself between its advice on passing cyclists and the use of carriageway lanes.  I'm amazed nobody has sued the government yet following a cycle lane collision.

Edit: I wonder if driver behaviour would change if the dashed line of the cycle lane *was* 2.25m from the kerb, would it feel more like the cyclist had priority?

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hawkinspeter [678 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

But you cannot police every member of staff every minute of every day - some cashier somewhere may call someone a rude name, someone in the warehouse may hold sexist views.

 

I'm not saying it is not wise to raise it, hopefully it will help. All I am saying is that one of several million drivers behaved like an idiot on a given journey. The video was posted and some 'marketing guy' monitoring social media tried to be a bit defensive of the driverith a view that millions of motorists share. All this is likely to have happened before Mr J Sainsbury had a chance to authorise their demise.

 

If they've got a great big "Sainsbury's" marked on the side of the truck, then you most certainly can complain to them about one of their drivers. They don't have to do much policing - just sack drivers that get complaints from the public. If they use a sub-contractor, then just make it perfectly clear that they'll use a different sub-contractor if they're going to sully the brand.

Also, I think you'll find that they have a small fleet of lawyers ready to pounce on anyone violating their brand/trademark, so even if they can't do 24 hour a day monitoring, they can certainly hang someone out to dry when they've been caught on video.

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Edgeley [452 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Well, look on the bright side.  Unlike in quite a lot of places, the cycle lane isn't made smaller where it passes the traffic island, in order to retain the size of the "not cycle lane".  

The driving was appalling.  The excuse as bad.  And the infrastructure encourages it.

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paradyzer [18 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

It's a remarkably calm reaction from the cyclist, to his credit. The driving is awful - terrible overtake, which gets the lorry ahead for about 20 seconds, before it has to stop in a queue. The driver should be severely disciplined or sacked.

 

To add to that, on the reverse camera view you can see the lorry actually pulling closer towards the cyclist coming up to the point where he passes by.. But as many say this is unfortunately not surprising and happens all the time, and they will all try to get away with it if they can. 

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Edgeley [452 posts] 2 months ago
7 likes

 

Edit: I wonder if driver behaviour would change if the dashed line of the cycle lane *was* 2.25m from the kerb, would it feel more like the cyclist had priority?

 

That is what they do on minor roads in the Netherlands.  Two large dotted line cycle lanes, and one car lane in the middle, signifying priority to bikes, and making car drivers consciously have to cross a dotted line to overtake or pass an oncoming car.  We don't have the nerve to do that.

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gw42 [8 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes
alansmurphy wrote:

But you cannot police every member of staff every minute of every day - some cashier somewhere may call someone a rude name, someone in the warehouse may hold sexist views.

 

I'm not saying it is not wise to raise it, hopefully it will help. All I am saying is that one of several million drivers behaved like an idiot on a given journey. The video was posted and some 'marketing guy' monitoring social media tried to be a bit defensive of the driverith a view that millions of motorists share. All this is likely to have happened before Mr J Sainsbury had a chance to authorise their demise.

 

 

But you can judge higher management on how they are now acting. They could for example have said what you have above - though perhaps without the excusatory tone  1 - and then made it clear what steps they have previously taken and will now take to prevent similar events in the future.

If nothing else, I think any "marketing guy" should appreciate the significance of Chris Boardman passing comment and drawing attention to your employer's brand like this, and pass the issue along to higher ups. 

So the impression people are left with is that overall, Sainsburys doesn't actually care that much, because at best it has fairly rubbish systems in place to deal with reports of bad driving by drivers of lorries carrying its logo.   

 

Edit: and as others have said, rubbish infrastructure again plays a huge role in this, but still no excuse for the driver. 

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STATO [530 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
Edgeley wrote:

 

Edit: I wonder if driver behaviour would change if the dashed line of the cycle lane *was* 2.25m from the kerb, would it feel more like the cyclist had priority?

 

That is what they do on minor roads in the Netherlands.  Two large dotted line cycle lanes, and one car lane in the middle, signifying priority to bikes, and making car drivers consciously have to cross a dotted line to overtake or pass an oncoming car.  We don't have the nerve to do that.

 

Quite a few places do (Corbridge in Northumberland has one).  Obviously gets hatred initially but evetually a large amount of people end up supporting them (once they realise how they are supposed to be used and arnt any slower for cars than a normal road where you would wait behind a cyclist to overtake).

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brooksby [2235 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

How f-ing close was that lorry to the bike's handlebars???  Makes me wince, just watching that video.

So, if that cyclist had caught up on one of the drain covers and come off and been squashed, or if they had even just wobbled ever so slightly and been sucked under the wheels, would Sainsburys have said that it was the cyclist's fault because they should have stayed in their own lane?  

Thoroughly disgusting and ignorant response.

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dassie [110 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes

What a terrible pass.   As I approach a pinch point, I look behind, then take up a primary position - sometimes indicating as I do.  This tends to make the point that the vehicle following needs to hang back.  I also never cycle within those cycle lanes - on the line as a minimum.   London is full of that kind of horrible pinch point,  and drivers willing to make a dangerous manoeuvre.

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Awavey [287 posts] 2 months ago
3 likes
P3t3 wrote:

The pointlessness of this risky manouver is what strikes me the most!  Predictably a mere few seconds later the truck is stationary in a line of traffic again and the rider carries on past him... which anybody who has ever driven or ridden in a town in Britain knows is 99% certain to happen.  This is a professional driver, driving in London, putting someone at great risk despinte it being obvious that within a minute the situation will have been reversed.  

Had similar just last week with a single decker bus, which then stopped 20metres up the road in traffic queue & then a tipper truck this morning who then jumped a red light to keep going  2

Worst thing just watching the video first time you know exactly when the overtake will occur, as you spot the road narrows at the pedestrian island and think yep that's where Mr truck driver will pick his moment, sigh.

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alansmurphy [425 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Absolutely, I'm not saying it's right (and calm down Jackson, you'll do yourself a mischief) and I think a big company should come out and say that it is not acceptable after the event. I'm talking about the initial action (one idiot) and the early reaction (one ill informed social media marketing bod). It doesn't make Sainsbury's disgusting...

 

It would be great if Sainsbury's could write something in the drivers contracts to say that any driver found doing such a thing will be put on bog cleaning duty for a week and paid the appropriate wage.

 

On a tangent, these delivery vans they have for home shopping are now some of the worst menaces out there...

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RobD [412 posts] 2 months ago
4 likes

Seems to be another example of the cycling 'infrastructure' being worse than not having anything there at all, at least with no lane the cyclist would probably ride further out and the lorry driver would (hopefully) move out to pass properly.

On a more satisfying note, almost every night when I cycle back from work, a car will always try to overtake me in the same section (20mph zone outside two schools none the less) just before the traffic island. Last night, when the day's impatient driver left it really late to pass they ended up clipping the bollard in the middle of the island where they misjudged it, and just coming round the corner was a police car. to say the smile on my face was difficult to wipe off would be an understatement. (I'm sure there'll be more close passes tonight or tomorrow but at least that was one time it's served them right)

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