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“It’s like a HGV parking in a car space”: Row erupts over cargo bike “blocking” pedestrian entrance to Waitrose

The customer’s complaint has been described as “absolutely pathetic” by cyclists, who pointed out that the bike was parked at a cycle rack and argued that there was “plenty of room” to access the shop

A cargo bike user has been branded “selfish” after a Waitrose customer claimed that, while exiting the shop, he almost tripped over the bike’s front wheel, which he said was “blocking” the entrance and adjacent pedestrian walkway.

The customer’s account has been subsequently ridiculed by cyclists on social media, who pointed out that the cargo bike was stationed at a cycle rack, positioned “well back” from the shop’s entrance, and that there was ample space to access the building using the pavement.

However, the customer responded to the criticism by arguing that the bike’s position on the pavement – away from allocated cargo bike spacing nearby – was the equivalent of “a HGV parking in an allocated car space”.

The cargo bike was photographed on Friday by X (formerly Twitter) user Innkeeper55 outside the Waitrose on Old High Street in the Oxford suburb of Headington.

“Cargo bike locked and blocking the pedestrian walkway into Waitrose,” the Twitter user wrote. “Not worried about the elderly, disabled, or less mobile, they’ve blocked the entrance instead of using the cargo bike parking spaces provided on the London Road. Nice.”

The post, which has been viewed over 85,000 times, has divided opinion on the social media platform, as cyclists posted their own photos of the bike parking situation outside Waitrose to argue that the initial photograph was “dishonest” and that there is “plenty of room” for customers to access the shop:

“You could say the same about cars parked on pavements – yes, you could walk around but you shouldn’t have to,” Innkeeper55 responded.

“I came out of the shop and turned immediately left as I do daily and nearly tripped over the bloody front wheel. Any one less abled would not have been able to pass.”

“I do see your point,” the In Oxford account replied, “A couple of things though: Waitrose have said in the past that section isn’t intended as a ‘path’. The much wider pathway is, to the left of your pic, which you’ve deliberately cut out. Also, the cargo bike owner may not know dedicated parking spots exist for them.”

The customer replied: “It’s a heavily used walkway whatever Waitrose may have said. I’m not looking for an argument with anyone, but this is very selfish parking of a cargo bike which restricts pedestrians who use the walkway. Locals know there’s much more considerate places to park these bikes.”

> Rishi Sunak is “on the side” of drivers – What happened to Britain’s “golden age for cycling”? Plus THAT cargo bike parking row on the road.cc Podcast

Rory McCarron, a senior solicitor at Leigh Day who specialises in cycling-related issues, also noted that the cargo bike was “parked at the specific bike parking”.

He continued: “There’s a Boardman bike parked beyond it. Considering the layout here, the cargo bike is well set back from the entrance and not even the nearest rack to the entrance. Absolutely pathetic.”

“No it’s not,” Inkeeper55 said. “It’s like a HGV parking in an allocated car space.”

> Council slaps nuisance notice on family cargo bike parked on pavement

Of course, this isn’t the first time that the placement of a cargo bike has been the subject of controversy.

In September 2022, Hackney Council came in for criticism after an enforcement notice was placed on a family-owned cargo bike which was parked on a pavement, demanding its removal within seven days.

The bike belonged to Will Prochaska, who used it to transport his three children, one aged four and two two-year-old twins, to nursery and at the weekend. As the family did not have access to adequate private storage space, the bike was parked outside on the pavement, where it was issued with a seven-day notice from the local authority.

After Will posted on Twitter about the unexpected notice, the council responded by tweeting that the bike “is causing an obstruction on the pavement so it would need to be removed and parked somewhere safe. This can be on your own private property or somewhere designated for bicycles” – a rather blunt reply which caused something of a backlash on the social media platform.

“I think the case shows the desperate need for cargo bike parking solutions in Hackney,” Will told road.cc. “As it is, the way we park our bike never blocks the pavement, so the argument that it’s an obstruction is false.”

> “The road is yours only if you own a car?”: Cyclist couple challenge council after being asked to remove DIY bike parking space from outside home

And in July, Bristol couple Anna and Mark Cordle made the headlines after they set up a parking space for their family cargo bike outside their home which, a year after it was installed, became the subject of threats by the council to remove it – because, the local authority said, it was taking up a car parking space.

When asking Anna and Mark – who made the switch to a cargo bike after giving up their car – to remove the heavy planters used to secure the bike, Bristol City Council claimed that placing them on the road is in breach of Section 149 of the Highways Act, and that they would be liable “if any person has an accident as a result of [your] planters being on the highway”.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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100 comments

Avatar
polainm | 2 months ago
1 like

Only in Broken Britain can the vitriol towards anyone using a bicycle be so acceptable. 

Meanwhile, thousands of drivers across the UK park where they want, whenever they want. This includes blocking the entire pavement or cycle lane. 

Both approaches socially acceptable. Both a sign our culture is in the sewer.

 

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wtjs | 2 months ago
4 likes

These long threads which consist of back-and-forth attempts to either ridicule the obvious nutter or respond are unedifying. Nobody could actually be stupid enough to believe 'CO2 is natural, so must be OK' without being too stupid to type/ walk and breathe at the same time. Therefore, he's suffering from some pathetic need to have people attack him all the time- I suppose it's most simply described as attention-seeking. Presumably, he's one of the retreads, so we have ample evidence that disputes with him are futile and are probably not even helping his disorder. I have little hope that any call to stop attending to him will have any effect, and people are free to respond how they like, but I am making the call anyway. If he wanted people to agree with him, he would be spending all this time on some Mail/ car-nutter site, so it's the widespread disapproval he craves. Help Him by Ignoring Him. HHbIH!

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Rendel Harris replied to wtjs | 2 months ago
5 likes

You'd be surprised how many apparently sentient human beings do believe that rubbish. There's always the call to just ignore them and they will go away, but in the case of some of them – Socraticyclist, Nigel and his trolls of many colours, Martin73, this one – they simply won't leave until they are banned (of course this one has been banned already, quite why the mods allow him to continue is beyond me) so one is faced with the alternative of either challenging them or putting up with absolute rubbish and considerable personal abuse, including abuse of one's wife et cetera, on pretty much a daily basis. It's doubtless a failing on my part but if somebody hands out that sort of crap to me I'm afraid I don't have the Zen-like serenity not to hit back.

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BalladOfStruth | 2 months ago
4 likes

How has this comment section managed to go from "is this cargo bike parked okay?" (Yes) to the ballad of climate denier Nige?

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KDee replied to BalladOfStruth | 2 months ago
3 likes

I dunno, but it's a kind of exciting wondering what piece of swivel eyed lunacy he'll spout forth next!

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to KDee | 2 months ago
0 likes
KDee wrote:

I dunno, but it's a kind of exciting wondering what piece of swivel eyed lunacy he'll spout forth next!

No spoilers here. 

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perce replied to KDee | 2 months ago
3 likes

He was on about marrying a milk bottle last week.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to perce | 2 months ago
1 like

Aha, Rendel has persuaded you to pop your head above the parapet has he? 

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
3 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Aha, Rendel has persuaded you to pop your head above the parapet has he? 

Yes, we had an emergency lunchtime Zoom meeting of the "Dealing with Losers" committee. You do realise what an absolute tit that sort of comment (along with all the other "Rendel is a member of road.cc staff" ones) makes you look? Just checking.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Aha, Rendel has persuaded you to pop your head above the parapet has he? 

Yes, we had an emergency lunchtime Zoom meeting of the "Dealing with Losers" committee. You do realise what an absolute tit that sort of comment (along with all the other "Rendel is a member of road.cc staff" ones) makes you look? Just checking.

You do realise what an absolute tit that sort of comment makes you look? Just checking.

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perce replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
2 likes

Married life getting you down?

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BalladOfStruth replied to perce | 2 months ago
2 likes
perce wrote:

Married life getting you down?

It can go sour. 

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to perce | 2 months ago
0 likes

All good here. 

We haven't heard from Clem for a while, perhaps you could have a word with "him" and ask for his opinion?

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chrisonabike replied to perce | 2 months ago
3 likes
perce wrote:

He was on about marrying a milk bottle last week.

Sadly it went off without them.  As they say in France, "Tu lait!" (is this right?).  Or even - hard cheese.

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Rendel Harris replied to perce | 2 months ago
1 like
perce wrote:

He was on about marrying a milk bottle last week.

Shows what reading Portnoy's Complaint at an impressionable age can do to you…

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Cavey65 | 2 months ago
2 likes

Why not just be kind and considerate. There's no need to turn everything into a conflict. Cargo bike users appear to use their planet-saving credentials to do as they please in many cases. Lithium mining contributes massively to global warming so maybe less entitled behaviour is in order. Just be nice.

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chrisonabike replied to Cavey65 | 2 months ago
3 likes
Cavey65 wrote:

Why not just be kind and considerate. There's no need to turn everything into a conflict. Cargo bike users appear to use their planet-saving credentials to do as they please in many cases. Lithium mining contributes massively to global warming so maybe less entitled behaviour is in order. Just be nice.

A good principle.

Unpowered bikes for the maximum smugness (more than walking - it's more efficient...)  OTOH cargo bikes are still an order of magnitude better than e.g. a car - and that's what most people in the UK go for.

Just be nice - park in parking spots; don't park on the footway / in the cycle lane / path.  So job done here.

I still don't understand what people are getting triggered by here - can anyone explain?

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Hirsute replied to chrisonabike | 2 months ago
1 like

WING MIRROR, HELMETS, DISC BRAKES, TEESIDE, 1x, SEGUE

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Rendel Harris replied to Cavey65 | 2 months ago
7 likes
Cavey65 wrote:

There's no need to turn everything into a conflict.

The only person who is turning everything into a conflict here is the Twitter poster who thought it was worth taking a picture and posting a complaint rather than walk three feet to the left and use the legitimate pavement, instead expecting to be able to walk through the bike parking area.

ETA By the way, I've just had a quick skim through the original twitter poster's timeline, he is an absolutely virulent anti-cyclist and anti-LTN campaigner (along with the usual expected pro-Farage, anti-immigrant, climate change denial et cetera). Sample tweet below, this is not somebody who was just innocently out getting their shopping and found themselves blocked, it's someone who hates cyclists and goes actively looking for "evidence" against them, it seems.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
2 likes

I can't help but feel I could have read that tweet on another platform...

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Rendel Harris replied to Cavey65 | 2 months ago
11 likes
Cavey65 wrote:

Lithium mining contributes massively to global warming so maybe less entitled behaviour is in order.

Lithium mining contributes approximately 1.9 million tonnes of Co2 to the atmosphere per year (in 2022 a record 130,000 tonnes of lithium were mined, a mined tonne of lithium contributes 15 tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere). Obviously that's not wholly desirable, but in the context of the 32 billion tonnes pumped into the atmosphere each year by coal, gas and oil mining I'm not sure that 0.005% of the total carbon emissions caused by fossil fuels can justifiably be described as a massive contribution.

Additionally there is about 60g of lithium in a substantial (500wh) ebike battery, so you can make about 16,000 ebike batteries with a single tonne of lithium, meaning that mining cost of the lithium in an ebike battery is about 1 kg of Co2 - the equivalent of about five miles of driving in a standard petrol saloon.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Ignoring the fact that the stats you've quoted are irrelevant and not a like-for-like comparison at all, and that your calcs fail to consider for any other materials in manufacture (including the fact that parts on an e-bike will be oil derived), lithium mining is unsustainable and unethical

https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/from-us/briefings/transition-min...

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
5 likes

It's not making an argument simply to say something is irrelevant and not a like-for-like comparison (like-for-like with what?) without providing any facts of your own, it's simply being vexatious – no surprise there. Cavey65 specifically mentioned lithium mining and its contribution to global warming and so I have addressed the issue they mentioned. Indeed some lithium production is unethical and this must be addressed by national governments and international organisations, huge amounts of oil production is unethical and has involved the displacement and sometimes slaughter of indigenous peoples, presumably you don't buy petrol?

One assumes in this new, totally believable and not at all just obsessed with trying to contradict a single person Loser-as-eco-warrior persona you will obviously be giving up your car (even petrol cars rely on lithium for their computer systems), your computer, your phone, even your electric toothbrush, all of which require lithium to operate?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
1 like

Addressing your incorrect statements, (not facts) is another topic altogether

And I assume you, the ethical and green chap that you are, go around dressed in a coat of leaves? Most clothes, all rubber products and so on are oil derived, as are the devices you use to access road.cc

And for the record, no - i 100% will not be giving up on petrol or oil. It's just as green, if not greener, to use it. Co2 is a naturally occurring gas, so it's fine as a byproduct, and it's derived from sustainable and naturally occurring sources. 

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Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
9 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

And for the record, no - i 100% will not be giving up on petrol or oil. It's just as green, if not greener, to use it. Co2 is a naturally occurring gas, so it's fine as a byproduct, and it's derived from sustainable and naturally occurring sources. 

Of all the very stupid statements very stupid right-wing people come out with when they are being very stupid, "CO2 occurs naturally so it's fine" is one of the most stupid. If you are incapable of understanding the difference between the natural carbon cycle and the artificial introduction into it of enormous amounts of additional carbon that was sequestered deep below the ground and would have stayed there for billions of years without humanity's intervention then there's very little hope for you. The argument is about as logical as saying that because a pint glass can hold a pint of water then obviously it must be able to hold two pints.

Do learn to read, I didn't ask you if you were giving up on oil, I asked you whether as you have such an objection to lithium you will not be using products that contain it, including your automobile, computer, phone et cetera.

However if you genuinely believe that introducing additional CO2 into the atmosphere has no environmental consequences then you won't be bothered about the CO2 produced during lithium mining and therefore you have proved that you are simply being vexatious in order to continue your rather pathetic and obsessive feud against me, so sit down.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes

Haha, sorry - I have some kalms here if you would like them

CO2 is naturally occurring, adding more is fine! And therefore it doesn't matter if lithium produces it, but it is unethically sourced - using child labour etc. 

 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
7 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Haha, sorry - I have some kalms here if you would like them

CO2 is naturally occurring, adding more is fine! And therefore it doesn't matter if lithium produces it, but it is unethically sourced - using child labour etc.

Thanks for the offer but it would take a lot more than your pathetic posturing to upset my equilibrium.

Child labour is actually not a big issue in lithium mining; over 50% of the world's lithium is mined in Australia, for a start. You appear to be confusing it with cobalt production which definitely does have very serious issues with child labour.

You can't really be this ignorant, can you? Because something is naturally occurring then adding more to the atmosphere is fine? Nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, radon and many other gases are naturally occurring and lethal to human beings in sufficient quantity, but it would be okay to add more to the atmosphere because they are naturally occurring? Enough of your silliness.

Avatar
Left_is_for_Losers replied to Rendel Harris | 2 months ago
0 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Haha, sorry - I have some kalms here if you would like them

CO2 is naturally occurring, adding more is fine! And therefore it doesn't matter if lithium produces it, but it is unethically sourced - using child labour etc.

Thanks for the offer but it would take a lot more than your pathetic posturing to upset my equilibrium.

Child labour is actually not a big issue in lithium mining; over 50% of the world's lithium is mined in Australia, for a start. You appear to be confusing it with cobalt production which definitely does have very serious issues with child labour.

You can't really be this ignorant, can you? Because something is naturally occurring then adding more to the atmosphere is fine? Nitrogen, hydrogen, methane, radon and many other gases are naturally occurring and lethal to human beings in sufficient quantity, but it would be okay to add more to the atmosphere because they are naturally occurring? Enough of your silliness.

Of course it's fine - do you have any idea of the volume of co2 emitted vs the volume of air? It would take millennia before there was any kind of co2 level that was harmful to humans. 

You must either use google a lot, or perhaps have a photographic memory to remember all the data you do 

Cobalt is also used in batteries, but that doesn't stop you buying battery products. People don't look at the overall sustainability picture. Electric cars simply transfer emissions to the source of the materials, rather than emitting them during use. Although some electricity will come from non-renewable sources

Avatar
KDee replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
7 likes

Can I interest you in investing in my 100% ethical and sustainable CO2 mine? I hear there's a predicted market shortage, so stock will rise soon!

Avatar
tootsie323 replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 2 months ago
5 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Haha, sorry - I have some kalms here if you would like them

CO2 is naturally occurring, adding more is fine! And therefore it doesn't matter if lithium produces it, but it is unethically sourced - using child labour etc. 

Stating that adding more CO2 to this planet is fine is a bit like saying that more sugar is good for a Type 2 diabetic.

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