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National tool hire firm to remove cyclist warning stickers from its cars

HSS Hire responds quickly to criticism on Twitter

A national tool hire firm has undertaken to remove stickers warning cyclists not to pass its Vauxhall Corsa cars on the inside by the new year after their appropriateness was questioned on social media.

HSS Hire said on 18 December it would remove the stickers just four hours after being contacted by Twitter user @beztweets, who is also a columnist for the mountain bike magazine and website, Singletrack World.

The company, which has more than 300 branches throughout the UK and Ireland, told him: “You've kept us busy today – good news is we'll be removing the stickers on our Corsa cars from next week. Merry Christmas!”

In June 2014, Transport for London (TfL) bowed to pressure from organisations including CTC and RoadPeace to ask businesses belonging to the Fleet Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) to remove ‘Cyclists Stay Back’ stickers – described as “offensive” by the London Cycling Campaign – from their vehicles.

> TfL agrees to scrap ‘Cyclists Stay Back’ stickers

The wording on the HSS Hire stickers differed, and is similar to that used on a number of vehicles including some construction lorries, buses, and even vans used to transport prisoners.

It said: “Cyclists. Beware of passing this vehicle on the inside.”

They are sold by organisations including the Road Haulage Association and seem primarily intended – although without saying so explicitly – to warn cyclists of large vehicles’ blind spots.

Their use on smaller vehicles has attracted criticism on social media in the past, with some maintaining that they seek to shift the blame in the event of a collision onto the rider.

> Storm over Europcar warning stickers

After HSS Hire confirmed it would be removing the stickers by the end of the year, Bez said, “Thanks for this. Much appreciated,” and asked, “Was that a change that was already planned, or a rapid decision? (Good stuff either way.)”

The company replied: “A rapid decision today. We're all about delighting customers here and that includes any customers on two wheels!”

Don’t forget you can buy “Cyclists Stay Awesome” t-shirts, stickers and bells from the road.cc shop.

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Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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