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National Express wants your help picking warning sticker

Coach operator wants to let cyclists know about vehicle blind spots

National Express coaches wants you to vote on which of two warning stickers it should adopt to let cyclists know its vehicles restrict its drivers view of the road so that they pose a hazard to vulnerable road users.

The two sticker designs were developed by National Express and a focus group of cyclists and experts at sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which is hosting the vote.

The appeal for help picking a design comes after a York cyclist published a compilation of careless and irresponsible driver behaviour including an overtake by a National Express coach that clearly failed to meet the Highway Code recommendation to “give … cyclists … at least as much room as you would when overtaking a car”.

Sustrans’ expertise is in building off-highway shared-use active travel facilities, so it’s perhaps not surprising that this exercise doesn't seem to have landed on the idea that making coaches less hazardous might be better than slapping on a few stickers.

The group came up with two designs: an arrow style sticker warning cyclists about passing on the left-hand side; and one that includes a large eye, focusing riders’ attention on the coach driver’s blind spot.

To be fair to National Express and Sustrans, the stickers do at least warn of the specific problem, vehicle blind spots. That will be seen as an improvement on the ‘Cyclists Stay Back’ stickers issued by Transport for London that have appeared on even small vans as well as trucks in the capital.

Representatives of cycling campaign groups, including CTC, London Cycling Campaign and Road Danger Reduction Forum, wrote to Transport for London in February saying: “The ‘cyclists stay back’ wording is not acceptable for use on any vehicle, because of its implication that cyclists are second-class road users who should defer to motor vehicle users.”

One of the campaigners’ concerns was that the sticker “conveys no useful information to cyclists,” said in a follow-up letter to Leon Daniels of TfL, adding: “We have suggested that wording should specifically draw attention to the risk from left-turning HGVs.”

According to collision-avoidance system manufacturer EyeDrive, National Express has trialled its Collision Prevention System and more than halved the number of near-misses recorded by its vehicles.

To pick your favourite, go to Sustrans.

John has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with founder Tony Farrelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013. He lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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