Cyclists up in arms over car hire firm advice

Updated: 

Cyclists riding on the London cycle superhighway.

Furious cyclists have crashed the website of a Heathrow-based car rental firm in their attempts to complain about its guide for overseas motorists.

Heathrow-car-rental.co.uk has incensed London cyclists by claiming they routinely ignore the rules of the road.


"No law requires them to wear reflective clothing, have lights, or give any sort of signal," reads the guide.

"Furthermore, cyclists tend to ignore traffic lights and one-way streets, so please be careful you don't hit them, cyclists become most indignant if you hit them, and legally, it is always the motorists fault."

The volume of complaints has been so high that the firm's website is out of action. It has also been deluged with phone calls, after the London Cycling Campaign published the company's phone number and called on people to complain.

While the response may seem a little humourless, cyclists have good reason to worry. Last year, 14 cyclists died in accidents in London. A survey by the London Assembly Transport Committee published earlier this year found that more than eight out of ten believe that cycling on London's streets has become more dangerous over the last year.

"Cycling in London has made great strides over the last decade, but the recent rise in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on our roads risks reversing that progress," commented Val Shawcross, the Labour chair of the committee.

Today, Transport for London (TfL) and London councils have started consulting on a Safer Lorries Scheme designed to cut the death toll by equipping lorries with safety equipment specifically designed to alert them to the presence of cyclists.

Heathrow-car-rental.co.uk is contrite about the fuss.

"We apologise... to all those cyclists and other website visitors who took offence at some light-hearted comments that were on this website about cyclists," it says. "All these offending remarks have been removed."

The company has now pulled the guide from its site - but there's a cached version here. And, lest other road users feel superior, the guide also contains some handy advice about pedestrians.

"Reagardless of whether a pedestrian is crossing the road in the right place, or at some random point, it is strictly forbidden to hit them," it reads.

"Hitting pedestrians, even if they are on a road or any other dangerous place, is considered 'Dangerous Driving' and specific laws have been drafted in the UK to discourage, indeed outlaw, the hitting of pedestrians."

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