So I was cycling along the same old boring road I always do under the grey, freezing cold skies which are always there whilst thinking about what it would be like if I had a turbo button on my bicycle, when out of nowhere a car overtook me using the WHOLE OTHER LANE FOR SPACE.
Yep, the whole other lane! I had ample room to wobble and jerk over the potholes as I pleased without fear of necking it into a passing car.
All thoughts of turbo buttons and hot days were dispelled as I looked ahead to catch a glimpse of this goodwill, safety driver and the set of wheels they were rolling in. And shock horror, it was an Addison Lee car ahead of me!
Addison Lee cabs got into hot water a year ago after big boss, John Griffin shamefully berated cyclists saying that cyclist deaths and injuries are largely the fault of cyclists and that drivers are not to blame. And what followed was a PR nightmare for Addison Lee with a protest and a boycott of their services. (Griffin obviously wasn't clever enough to realise that many of his customers are cyclists)
Addison Lee cabs have never been a favourite amongst the cycling community, they are like black flies on the road persistently buzzing around you waiting for a cheap move to cut you up. They are also enemies with fellow black cabbies after Griffin encouraged his staff to flout the law and drive in bus lanes.
With cyclists and black cab drivers uniting in April last year, it was evident that Addison Lee cabs were the most hated vehicles on the roads of London. So fancy my surprise to find that an Addison Lee driver had been considerate and careful when passing me on the road. It is such a rarity that a driver uses the other lane to pass me, even when they is no traffic on either side of the road, let alone being an Addison Lee taxi driver.
I have been aware that to improve their disastrous image, Addison Lee have been working with Cycle Training UK offering taxi specific cycle training for their drivers. I also can't remember the last time an Addison Lee driver cut me up on the road, which was a frequent occurrence in the past.
Coincidentally, in the last year Griffin seems to have accrued a bicycle (see below), but is having trouble getting out of the AddLee car park. Perhaps he's scared he might get cut up by one of his car drivers and be on his maiden voyage into the abyss. Or maybe he's just waiting for his high-vis gear to arrive from Wiggle.
|Mr Griffin 'takin' muh bike fo' uh ride Ya' know what I'm sayin'?' Source: Cab4now.com|
Does this mean that Addison Lee really have improved their reputation and relationship with cyclists? Are they now polite, considerate road users, happy to share the tarmac with bicycles? Or was my experience just a one off? Either way, I'm still reluctant to hop into their cabs...
UPDATE: Hot of the Twitter press, Stagecoach West Ham bus drivers are also receiving cycle training with Cycle Training UK. Let the revolution begin!