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London minicab firm seeks to build bridges with cycling community after April's PR disaster...

Addison Lee the minicab company whose chairman John Griffin's comments on cyclists infuriated many last month and led to calls for a boycott of the minicab firm is to give its drivers training to help raise their awareness of cyclists. The training will be provided by David Dansky of London-based Cycle Training UK.

In his column for the company magazine Add Lib Mr Griffin asserted that "It is time for us to say to cyclists, ‘You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up’,” the irony that those comments will result in more training for Addison Lee drivers will not be lost on many of those angered by Mr Griffin's words.

The news of Mr Griffin's two-wheeled conversion and the programme of driver training came when I Pay Road Tax founder and BikeBiz executive editor Carlton Reid interviewed Addison Lee’s PR manager Alistair Laycock at a meeting at the firm’s offices in Camden on Monday. Mr Griffin was given an I Pay Road Tax cycling journey, underlining the point that cyclists pay for the roads too - as does every taxpayer in the land.

Reid spent an hour and a half with Mr Laycock – who in a comment to an article about the meeting on the I Pay Road Tax website he reveals that he has started commuting to work by bike – and who outlined some of the steps the company is taking to repair the damage caused by the backlash to the comments made by its chairman and founder.

Aside from driver training the company is also considering installing front-facing video cameras in its vehicles to record journeys, which could be used to provide evidence of what happened in incidents that lead to a subsequent complaint from a cyclist, potentially showing whether the driver or the cyclist – or, indeed, neither – may have been at fault.

As reported on road.cc two years ago, similar video evidence led to a London window cleaning firm sacking one of its drivers after footage showed that he had deliberately swerved into a cyclist.

Monday’s meeting came after a week in which Addison Lee had seen more than 200 cyclists stage a ‘Die In’ outside its offices in protest at Griffin’s comments, lost a High Court battle to prevent Transport for London to secure an injunction relating to his encouragement to drivers to illegally use bus lane, and had a number of contracts terminated, including one with the Government.

Later the same day, attending the mayoral hustings on cycling jointly organised by Sustrans and The Times, Reid also presented the newspaper’s editor James Harding, a keen cyclist, with an I Pay Road Tax jersey. You can find out where to get your own here.

 

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.

22 comments

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 4 years ago
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Anyone buying this?

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notfastenough [3706 posts] 4 years ago
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I seem to be able to hear the back-pedalling from here. How very appropriate!

@Scot - not really!

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 4 years ago
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Its, a, spots, doesn't, leopard, change - rearrange these words to find a familiar phrase.

Excuse my cynicism but I suspect his about face has more to do with the PR backlash he's faced rather than what he believes to be the truth.

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mrchrispy [468 posts] 4 years ago
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lol - he looks like he is chewing a turd in that picture

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Karbon Kev [688 posts] 4 years ago
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this bloke's a complete cnut imo ......

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giff77 [1256 posts] 4 years ago
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Agreed mrchrispy. Some serious damage limitation being carried out by AL. Here's hoping that the proof will be in the eating!

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Carlton Reid [132 posts] 4 years ago
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Baby steps are better than no steps.

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koko56 [330 posts] 4 years ago
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This is one of those unnecessarily long, awkward but deserved laughs - "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...hhhhhhhaaaaaahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.... etc etc

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Coleman [335 posts] 4 years ago
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"Er, John. You know this might actually really hit profits?"

"What? You mean those lefties on bikes work somewhere? What do you suggest?"

What a prat. Look at the shit-eating grin.

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notfastenough [3706 posts] 4 years ago
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Carlton Reid wrote:

Baby steps are better than no steps.

Agreed, and I dont think anyone's knocking your effort mentioned in the article. But it does appear to be a cynical bit of PR. He's wearing the expression of a bulldog licking piss off a wasp!  4

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msw [113 posts] 4 years ago
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Carlton Reid wrote:

Baby steps are better than no steps.

Agreed Carlton, & thanks for making the effort to engage with him. When the argument is getting heated on both sides it's especially important to have the odd cool head around looking at the longer game.

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russyparkin [570 posts] 4 years ago
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to little to late, silly bast*rd

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belgravedave [269 posts] 4 years ago
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'Considering front facing cameras' mmm love that word considering. Shouldn't even get a mention unless it's been ordered, paid for and has an install date.
Don't let them spin it.

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Carlton Reid [132 posts] 4 years ago
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It wasn't something they raised as a sop to me; I asked and the answer - and the research behind the answer - was credible. It makes total sense for Addison Lee to fit these cameras. Many buses have them fitted as standard.

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mad_scot_rider [581 posts] 4 years ago
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Carlton Reid wrote:

... Many buses have them fitted as standard.

And a fat lot of good they do - most of my 'poor interactions' with buses occur when they pull out of stops without looking or pull in too sharply after overtaking - neither being caught on these cameras because I'm at the back of the bus.

Hopefully in mini-cabs they'll be more effective

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Chris [158 posts] 4 years ago
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Seems a bit unfair to mock Mr Griffin's appearance quite so much. He can't help how he looks.
He's actually very happy to receive his jersey, but has lost the ability to smile due to his selfish, self-opinionated, bigoted mindset making him think the World is against him and everything is so unfair. Sounds like another Mr Griffin I heard about.
Probably also feeling ashamed to be photographed in such a shabby workplace with cables and trunking hanging down and poorly decorated/maintained plasterwork on the walls.
Still, none of that is his fault, so please, no more personal insults.

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Cauld Lubter [135 posts] 4 years ago
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What, the courier company office is a bit of a dump? Say it isn't so!

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belgravedave [269 posts] 4 years ago
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Carlton Reid wrote:

It wasn't something they raised as a sop to me; I asked and the answer - and the research behind the answer - was credible. It makes total sense for Addison Lee to fit these cameras. Many buses have them fitted as standard.

Yep I think most people are aware some buses have cameras in London. But not sure what you mean by 'research'. Do you mean you've done research into the validity of Addison lees claims about fitting cameras or the've shown you costings, possible suppliers, type of equipment etc.
Next time you watch a politician being taken to task on TV count how many times they say 'considering'.

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OldRidgeback [2632 posts] 4 years ago
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Looking at Mr Griffin I do have concerns for his health as it happens. He does not look a well man. Less alcohol and more exercise might help, and that's neither mockery nor personal insult. Tell you what, maybe he should start cycling to work.

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moonbucket [64 posts] 4 years ago
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It's the result - hopefully better trained drivers and slightly safer roads for cyclists - that matters, even if Mr Griffin has been forced rather than talked into these measures.

Voices ARE being heard, we need to keep it up across the UK till anyone who fancies cycling is NOT put off due to fear for their safety.

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Carlton Reid [132 posts] 4 years ago
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"What, the courier company office is a bit of a dump?"

Total opposite. The GPS and computer suites are smart and high-tech. If a London TV company wanted to mock up a NASA launch countdown, they could do it at Addison Lee.

The GPS tracking and app stuff are, in fact, done by a Russian company based in a tech zone that's famous for working on the Russian space programme.

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A V Lowe [582 posts] 4 years ago
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Mad Scot Rider (Rattrays?) and Carlton, London Buses are all operated on TfL contracts which have for around 8 years specified in every 5-year contract that external and internal cameras are fitted - generally about 8 externally (front/rear/sides/doors). Thus London bus fleet is 100% camera fitted (when they are working)

Most operators now also fit 'traffic light' monitoring to log abnormal acceleration/deceleration and other readings. Incentives and driver pride in achieving high level % of 'green driving' and those with high red scores are reviewed

I am getting an image of a Damascene conversion though where Addison Lee buys a fleet of Bullitts and fits out the front tray with a well sprung sports seat a streamlined cowl and retractable canopy to offer the ultimate in cycle rickshaw services getting clients and packages. rapidly across the city.

More power to the talking. As Churchill said Jaw Jaw is better than War War, and often when you have backed an animal into a corner, there can be a need to get the energy levels on both sides down a notch before the animal starts lashing out as the measure of last resort. True he looks a bit uncomfortable have had the T shirt handed to him by Carlton for topical picture. I'd have gone for a pose on a Barclays' bike