By Angela Lovely
John Griffin does himself and his company no favours. He is a driving public relations disaster and a dinosaur in decline.
His comments about “a granny wobbling” on her bike and his call of “You want to join our gang, get trained and pay up” are typical of a certain brand of macho male who thinks they rule the road and don’t care who they push out of the way, be they cyclists or pedestrians.
Drivers are safe says Griffin. “We are sitting inside a protected space with impact bars and air bags”. This is of course is part of the problem, as Dr Robert Davis of the Road Danger Reduction Forum has pointed out.
Griffin assumes that because some road users are not inside crashworthy vehicles there is something wrong with them – not the road users who are dangerous to them and everybody else on the road.
The increasing crash protection that motor vehicles have for their occupants has made driving even more of a danger to others. And it is why grannies walking our streets are often afraid to cross the road let alone get on a bike and mix it with drivers who would rather they weren’t there and “in their way”.
At nearly 70-years-old John Griffin should know better than to make remarks about older people, but clearly he doesn’t. And his ill-informed rant comes in the wake of his instruction to his drivers to break the law by driving in bus lanes. No wonder people are questioning his fitness to hold a licence to run a mini-cab firm.
At yesterday’s demonstration outside Addison Lee’s HQ Griffin was thick-skinned and offered no apology. He emerged from his offices to hold up a copy of his company’s in-house magazine and read aloud his infamous editorial to TV crews and journalists. Griffin seemed to think that he had been misquoted, yet the full text of his statement had been widely published as soon as it came to light.
If he had thought that the press would leap to his defence, he turned out to be very wrong. And after one comment then another denounced his suggestion that cyclists are to blame for being hit by motor vehicles, one by one companies announced they were either cancelling or reviewing their arrangements with Addison Lee.
This Saturday (28 April) the London Cycling Campaign is organising The Big Ride. It is a fun event with a serious message, calling on London’s mayoral candidates to make the capital’s streets as safe and inviting for cycling as they are in The Netherlands. http://lcc.org.uk/pages/the-big-ride