Controversial private taxi firm holds first cycle training day for its drivers

06/07/2012 Advocacy

Addison Lee, the large London minicab firm at the centre of a cyclists-don’t-pay-road-tax storm back in April, has held its first cycle training day for drivers. The training day was led by David Dansky of Cycle Training UK.

Alistair Laycock, Addison Lee’s marketing and PR manager (and a sportive cyclist), said:

“After the ‘die in’ demo at Addison Lee’s offices, we met with David Dansky to look at how the company can bring about some positive results from the controversy around cyclists. Last month I completed my level three Bikeability qualification with David as a taster of what the course involves. I then worked on a programme for our drivers.”

This programme was held on a weekend and was attended by twenty Addison Lee drivers and training staff. The session was designed by Cycle Training UK to promote better driving and awareness via an understanding of the road from a cyclist’s perspective.
Dansky said:

“The Addison Lee drivers had a positive attitude and were keen to learn and engage realising that both riders and drivers are sharing the same space. They were clear of their responsibility to look out for people on bikes. Many hadn’t been on a bike for many years and some had never ridden on road.

“The points that drivers made included an understanding of the effect of the road surface, the sound of other motorised vehicles and the feeling of vulnerability people on bikes experience. They particularly noted the importance of riding where drivers can see them which may look as if the rider is blocking but in fact the rider is helping drivers see them. They also understood that people on bikes sometimes ride out of cycle lanes because the lanes are not always in the best place.”

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Laycock said his company would become more cyclist-friendly:

“Addison Lee’s focus is now on how we extend this beyond the 20 drivers that did the course and on to the rest of the fleet. Present on the course was one of our driver training coordinators and our ROSPA-qualified instructor who trains drivers who are referred to us for retraining. These two staff members will ensure that Addison Lee’s introductory training and the Addison Lee Diploma both include comprehensive cyclist-specific content.

“We are also currently working with Cycle Training UK to produce a series of videos for our web-based driver training site to capture some of the main learnings from the course.
“We’re determined to use the events over the last few months as a springboard to improve relations between cyclists and our drivers, improve our driver awareness of cyclists and we are committed to creating what we believe is the UK’s first and only cyclist-specific training for taxi drivers as part of this.”

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David Dansky’s has a photo-set of Addison Lee’s first cycle training day on Flickr.