Funny, I pay more tax than I feel is fair although if it used correctly I don’t mind contributing to society, I’m fortunate, have worked hard and have a good lifestyle. I own a car to transport me and my family to cycling events and pay my VED. I didn’t think that when I’m on my bike I was a different person though, to be treated differently and made to feel like I’m not quite as equal as to those who choose other transport modes. Where is this going? It is the introduction by TFL (Transport for London) of the “Cyclists – Stay Back” stickers which originally were for the Crosslink construction vehicles but are now being seen on vans, taxis and cars. Some companies are now putting these instructional stickers on their fleets nationwide. How did TFL think that this was ever going to be a giant leap in the protection of vulnerable road users? The mere tone of the sticker says, stay out of my way, I am more important than you, have more right to be here and don’t have to take you, a miserable lowly cyclist into consideration. If I knock you off your bike, it’s your fault because “didn’t you see the sticker, I told you to stay back”. The Guardian reports a company whose response to bad driving as “did the cyclist not obey our sticker?” or words to that effect.
TFL spends more on cycling infrastructure than any other department outside London and this is the best they can do? Cycling organisations have asked for the sticker to be removed or changed but TFL are having none of it. They report that the sticker hasn’t been shown to increase the likelihood of bad or careless driving. A minibus driver when questioned why he was displaying the sticker on the driver side of his vehicle, stated that he was fed up with cyclists passing him when he was stationary in traffic. This just shows the frustration felt by drivers in gridlock all over the UK when someone on a bike passes them in a perfectly legal manner. To me, this is a slippery slope of pushing cycling as a means of transport even further back when what we need is strong, coherent promotion of a healthy, non-polluting lifestyle.