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"That's a human being" - Chris Boardman slams Sainsbury's response to close pass video

Supermarket operator suggested on Twitter that dangerous overtake was okay because "driver is in his own lane"...

Supermarket operator Sainsbury’s has come under heavy criticism on social media after it tweeted a response to a video showing one of its delivery lorries making an extremely close pass on a cyclist in which it said the driver had done nothing wrong since he had remained in his own lane.

The footage, taken in London on a camera mounted on the bike’s handlebars, shows the rider entering a non-mandatory cycle lane. As the cyclist reaches a pinch point created by a traffic island, the driver of the Sainsbury’s lorry overtakes, leaving inches to spare.

The video was originally uploaded to YouTube on 29 March by user CBL. It gained wider attention yesterday when a link to it was tweeted from the account @HackneyCyclist and caught the eye of Chris Boardman.

The British Cycling policy advisor, whose mother Carol was killed last year when she was hit by a pick-up truck while riding through a roundabout, then tweeted his reaction to Sainsbury’s initial response on Twitter.

Besides condemning the driver’s actions, Twitter users replying to Boardman’s tweet described Sainsbury’s response as “disgraceful” and “shameful.” Sainsbury’s has this morning said that the issue is being investigated.

Discussion of the incident on Twitter also focused on the inadequacy of the cycling infrastructure, with this tweet from James Hayden reflecting a view shared by many.

In 2015, Boardman teamed up with cycling journalist and author Carlton Reid and driving instructor Blaine Walsh for a video showing motorists how to pass cyclists safety, in line with instructions given in the Highway Code.

> Video: Chris Boardman demonstrating safe overtaking of cyclists

The previous year, at an event attended by then Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Sainsbury’s unveiled a new lorry to deliver to its outlets in London that it said incorporated features to improve cyclist safety.

> Sainsbury's unveils safer lorry as Boris Johnson launches consultation

But in June last year, BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, who commutes by bike in London, said that large signs on the back of Sainsbury’s lorries warning cyclists not to pass the vehicle on the inside were responsible for “increasing general fear of cycling."

> Sainsbury's truck cyclist warning increases "fear of cycling"

It won’t have gone unnoticed that in this case, it was the actions of the driver, not the cyclist, that led to the rider being put in danger.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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