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

Radio DJ Jeremy Vine weighing in on Twitter outcry over 'victim blaming' truck sign says he's "sick of the danger"...

Signs on the back of Sainsbury's supermarket chain trucks have been accused of "increasing general fear of cycling" by Radio Two DJ and daily London cyclist, Jeremy Vine, as well as a number of other Twitter users.

The words "Alert today... alive tomorrow" found their way into a number of critical tweets on Thursday following Mr Vine's original tweet which offered his own take on the meaning of the phrase.

He wrote: "Translation, 'If I kill you it's not my fault.'"



The signs, which have been in use on Sainsbury's trucks since 2014, bear a striking resemblance to the much maligned 2014 Transport for London "cyclists stay back" stickers which the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) called offensive.

Those signs were successfully repealed, and replaced by a non-cycling specific sticker warning other road users of the dangers of truck blind spots following widespread and vocal criticism from cyclists all over the country.

At the time a spokesman for the LCC said "The ‘Stay Back’ message is seen as a prohibition and has been interpreted by drivers as telling cyclists to get out of their way, with the implication that if a collision occurs then it's the cyclist's fault for not having done so."

While the Sainsbury's sign isn't quite as directive, according to Mr Vine there remains a "suggestion that cyclists are unsafe only because of their own bad habits."

Mr Vine offered up that line in the midst of an 'apology tweet' to Sainsbury's for criticising their message to cyclists.

His full apology read:

"Every morning I cycle into work in London in a law-abiding way.

"I am safety-obsessed: mirrors, cameras, a helmet, bright lights even in summer. Every morning, without exception, some arrogant klutz in a vehicle endangers my safety or my life.

"Buses had signs saying CYCLISTS STAY BACK - when bus drivers constantly overtake cyclists and then immediately pull in, which is a mirror image of the very manoeuvre they tell cyclists not to do.

"So Sainsburys - sorry I reacted badly to your warning sign. It's just that I am

  • sick of the danger, and
  • sick of the suggestion that cyclists are unsafe only because of their own bad habits."

Mr Vine wasn't alone in his views on  the matter. Road safety campaigner at Cycling UK, Duncan Dollimore, told iNews that "warning cyclists that they might be in or approaching a lorry driver’s blind spot is sensible, but it should be only a single part of a safe systems approach by any responsible company using large vehicles.

“Sainsbury’s message of ‘Alert today, alive tomorrow’ is just as applicable to their drivers’ behaviour around cyclists and walkers, and in this context it is unnecessary and tantamount to victim blaming.”

Meanwhile a Sainsbury's spokesperson said: "We launched this lorry two years ago with the sole purpose of keeping road users safe. We’ve been leading on this issue and have had positive feedback from the cycling community on our efforts."

We have our own opinions on the matter that can be most effectively summed up in our own stickers which you can buy here:

- Buy: Cyclists Stay Awesome stickers

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