To: John Lewis
John Lewis, DO NOT Pass the buck on cycling safety.
Dear John Lewis,
(For the special attention of Justin Laney, general manger Central Transport firstname.lastname@example.org)
Please remove the dangerous stickers recently affixed to all John Lewis vans and trucks. These say: "Cyclists: DO NOT pass on this side' (with 'do not' underlined). They are currently seen on kerb-side of *all* John Lewis vans & trucks, irrespective of whether the vehicle in question has any relevant 'blindspot', and issue their instruction regardless of road situations.
Why is this important?
As TfL have recently recognised, similar stickers with a 'Cyclists Stay Back' message have the effect of excusing careless driving and dangerous attitudes, thereby contributing to death and injury.
Cycling and safety campaigners welcome informative safety stickers with messages such as 'Caution, Blindspots' affixed to just those vehicles which actually do have these blindspots. We would also welcome stickers encouraging riders to take DfT Bikeability instruction. We cannot welcome attempts to ban cyclists' lawful progress or to generally displace blame for poor driving onto victims.
*Vans have perfectly adequate side mirrors.
*Current Road Layouts often instruct kerbside filtering.
*As marked in Coroner's reports, one important danger to cyclists is to be obstructed from reaching visibility refuge in an Advanced Stop Box.
Thus among other dangerous effects, John Lewis stickers might cause exactly this sort of death: http://aseasyasridingabike.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/how-failure-to-design-properly-makes-death-more-likely/
On your current stickers, cyclists are instructed not to filter on the kerbside in any situation, including where painted cycle lanes indicate for kerbside progress to a safe location, where no possibility of a left-hook exists, where blocking or other conditions make offside overtaking impossible or dangerous, and where there is no good reason for the driver (of a van, for example) to fail to observe or take appropriate care.
As TfL has recognised, indiscriminately instructing cyclists to 'Stay Back' or 'Not Pass' will misinform cyclists about safe cycling, and also support dangerous attitudes in drivers. Both factors will contribute to deaths. Such liability is a serious matter for a commercial organisation, and you may wish to take note of informed comment: http://rdrf.org.uk/2014/06/26/transport-for-london-sees-sense-at-last-over-cyclists-stay-back-stickers/
Having recognised this very serious problem, we expect you will act swiftly to minimise the damage to the John Lewis and Waitrose brands that will result from your ill-conceived sticker campaign.