Palletline Logistics Chief Anti-Cycling Blog...(Updated)
A few days ago, I was made aware via several people, of a Blog Post by Palletline Logistics' chief Bob Russett, calling for Cyclists to be banned from the roads in city centres for their own safety.
I did submit a response, (which never appeared) but today the blog post has been mysteriously pulled, without further comment from the firm.
The original posting was cached at Google, and can be still be seen here. Mr Russett stated:
"Bicycles should be banned from the roads in city centres for their own safety ! About 18 cyclists die in road traffic accidents in London alone each year and the number is rising. Cyclists appear to think that they are exempt from the rules of the road and they pay for this misapprehension with their lives.
We have all seen them weaving in and out of traffic, ignoring red traffic lights , going up one way streets the wrong way and terrorising pedestrians on the pavement. They have little or no appreciation of how much room a truck needs to manoeuvre or the fact that when they are in close proximity there are areas where the driver can not see them in his mirrors.
If a car or tuck flouted the law as cyclists do they would be prosecuted and possibly banned from the roads. Why doesn’t this happen to cyclists? If there is an accident invariably the cyclist comes off the worst but the driver can suffer from severe trauma for a long time. This is unfair on someone that is paying a lot of money in fuel and road taxes to use the road while the cyclist pays nothing and has large areas of road space specifically for their use and then refuses to abide by the rules of the road."
As you can imagine, the responses (from both Cyclists and LGV drivers!) might not have been what Bob had expected.
In my response, I had pointed out that:
- He is quick to tar all cyclists with the "Jumping red lights/disobaying rules of the road" brush. Not all cyclists behave this way. (In the same way as not all LGV drivers behave the same.) In fact, I am of the opinion that if a cyclist behaves in a way that motorists can reasonably anticpiate their actions, this considerably reduces chances for conflict .
- It's a bit of give and take on both sides. We have been campaigning for: Cycle Training, LGV awareness events, exchanging places, and support Cycle Training for Lorry drivers by many local authorities and firms, as well as supporting simple safety equipment that can be added to vehicles such as safety lenses, enhanced mirrors and monitoring systems to alert the driver to the presence of something in a blind spot prior to turning. LGV drivers have a hard job, with a lot to concentrate on, so there is no doubt that these systems can save lives. *
- Sitting in the cab of a lorry is an eye-opening experience for cyclists when they realise the massive blindspots these vehicles can have and just how little can be seen.
- "Road Tax" - This old chestnut... Since 1937 there has been no direct relationship between the tax and government expenditure on public roads. Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) is based on vehicle emissions. We all pay for the roads through our council tax.
I would like to invite Palletline Logistics to respond in a postive and informed way, and Wheelers and LCC will be only too pleased to help.
- Perhaps Palletline Logistics would like to be involved in, and sponsor, training and awareness events?
- Maybe join the discussions on Safer Vehichle and Safer Junction Design?
- Maybe make the case for their LGV members and drivers
- Create a driver training and accreditation scheme?
* Indeed, many will recall how Cemex now supports these measures after a mother, Cynthia Barlow, whose daughter Alex was tragically killed, purchased a share in the company, turned up at the firm's AGM, and campaigned for safety measures.
An example of how it's possible to turn a tradgedy into something positive.
If Cemex and other firms can do this why not Palletline Logistics?
Seems Palletline Logistics just closed the discussion down when it started to look like a PR disaster. They could still recover...
Letters will be written...
UPDATE: Response 30 MARCH
Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:41:02 +0000
From: Robert Russett
Thank you for your response to my blog. Boring blogs don't get read or commented on which is
why I was deliberately contentious.
I am very serious about road safety for all road users including cyclists and think that the
initiative you speak of is excellent and should be promoted and spread throughout the country.
Truck drivers do need to learn more about the needs of cyclists as cyclists need to know how much
room a truck needs to manoeuvre and how little vision the driver has exactly as you said of your
own experience. We all share the roads and must learn how to use them safely together.
Nice reply, but I'm more interested in what it doesn't say...
- Why still nothing on the Palletline Logisitics web site stating their commitment to safety, what they are doing to support inititives and 'promote and spread throughout the country' or the training they are giving their drivers...?
- Bob should practice what he preaches, and maybe blog positive messages about what palletline logisitcs are doing. They should be leading the way and setting an industry example, instead of ranting negatively about cyclists.
- Bob should put his money where his mouth is, and promote safety measures, and sponsor awareness events and training...
UPDATE: 15 MAY 2012
I have been asked to clarify that Palletline plc is not the same company and is unrelated to Palletline Logistics:
"Robert Russett is involved in Palletline Logistics (Birmingham) which IS NOT Palletline plc. Though sharing a similar name, Palletline Logistics is a separate legal entity under separate ownership and not a division of Palletline plc."
There were some references to just "Palletline" in this article, which may have been ambiguous, although we were referring to, and dealing with, Palletline Logistics. (Which was always in the original article title and web links.)
For the avoidance of doubt, I have changed all instances of "Palletline" to read "Palletline Logistics", and removed the reference to Palletline London / FORS.
Apologies for any conufsion.