Welcome to the UK. Look out for cyclists while you're here, they're a pain in the...

A Heathrow-based hire car company has taken its website offline, and issued an apology, after it labelled UK cyclists as a ‘hazard’.

www.heathrow-car-rental.co.uk had given driving advice to its customers visiting the UK, saying cyclists were a ‘hazard’.

The advice read: “In London, as in other places, cyclists can be a bit of a hazard, since – though they pay no road tax – they still have the same rights as any other vehicle.”

It continues: “No law requires them to wear reflective clothing, have lights, or give any sort of signal. 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 website currently has the following apology printed on it.

Heathrow hire car company apology

Earlier the news caused a flurry of posts on social media sites.

The hire firm’s u-turn follows the announcement earlier this week that dangerous lorries are set to be banned from the capital’s streets. HGVs without side guards and safety mirrors will be not be allowed in London’s streets from as early as next year.

  • Matt Bowyer

    I have a car.

    If I SORN it, I can still own it. I can drive it on my property, or race it.

    Unless I tax it, I am not legally allowed to use it on the road.

    How is that not a tax on the use and entitlement of the road?

  • Antonio

    Firstly, maybe citing the source material as funny was a bit misjudged on reflection however I still agree with most of the points made and stand by the fact that both cyclists and motorists need to chill, stand back and look at the situation objectively.

    I take your point Gaz and agree that there are instances whereby cyclists are treated badly by some motorists however I disagree with your comparison with racism and the 70’s socially accepted standards. I know a thing or two about that.

    I cycle to work everyday, in London. I occasionally use my motorcycle. I drive a car less often as I do not own one. I am also a pedestrian nearly everyday. On the whole I would say that I have a good viewpoint on this subject – and it is unfortunate to say that some cyclists do give other bicycle users a bad name.

    Virtually on a daily basis I see many cyclists jump red lights, ride up on pavements at speed and fail to provide signals of where they are going. Some do not wear reflective clothing and use lights at night. Many don’t wear helmets (don’t get me started on that topic) but that is a different debate. It also seems that the more codes of conduct that a cyclist ignores the more likely they are to become indignant when a situation they disagree with happens. But then I could apply this observation to motorists also. Countless times I have seen indignant car drivers who do not like their bad ways pointed out to them.

    I have countless examples of situations whereby cyclists have been wreckless and a hazard to others. I won’t list them all – just a few. Just the other day I was crossing the road taking my 9-month year old to the nursery and a cyclist nearly hit us, driving the wrong way up a one way street. A few years ago I was crossing at a busy pedestrian crossing and a cyclist came rushing through the red light and weaved through at speed, nearly hitting me and a few others. I shouted out at him and he got very aggressive with me. I know of a few cases where cyclists have caused injury to pedestrians with their wreckless riding. On quite a few occasions I have had to swerve my motorcycle wide of cyclists who pull out abruptly without a shoulder check or signal, which once nearly sent me into the path of a car – that wrongly was trying to pass both of us.

    I wonder how many cyclists have done their cycling proficiency. I did mine when I was about 11 or 12 – encouraged by my Dad who use to get about everywhere by bicycle. I still remember most of what I was taught and try to observe it today when riding my bicycle. I am not all clean. I have been that indiganant cyclist who has jumped red lights and slammed car bonnets when drivers have edged out into main roads without seeing me. However, I took a stance a few agos that actually i needed to chill out a bit and remember what I was taught and observe the highway code if I was to be a safer road user and less of a hazard to myself and others. Since then I have had less bad situations to remember.

    I also have countless examples of motorists being wreckless and causing hazards to others. I have been knocked off my motorcycle once by a car turning right and not seeing me and nearly been hit a few times when drivers fail to look and signal when changing lanes. I would also say that motorcyclists get a much worse deal on the roads. After years of commuting to work by both bicycle and motorcycle I can safely say that I have had more incidents whereby four-wheel motorists have put me in more dangeous situations than when I have been riding my bike.

    Of course I also have many examples of good situations when I have been riding on my bicycle, motorcycle and in a car or a pedestrian, which makes me believe that the situation shouldn’t be cyclists vs. motorists. Last week I was riding in Devon up a long 12% hill with many blind corners. Cars were queueing up behind me but waited patiently for a safe place to pass. I signalled them by when it was safe and they switched on their hazard lights to say thank you.

    Many cyclists are motorists. Many motorists are cyclists. Many are not both – and some are neither. Maybe we need to think ourselves as road users. Some road users are responsible and try their best to observe highway codes and drive/ride safely with due consciousness and care for other road users. Some do not and frankly shouldn’t be driving/riding on roads at all.

    p.s. it is sad to hear that a 12 year old died and no their family would not find it funny.

  • AndyW

    It’s an emission tax. i.e pollution. tax. That is why electric cars and low emission cars DON’T pay it. Cyclists don’t emit toxic gas (well most of the time) so don’t pay it. Well not on their bikes but they
    do on their cars.

  • yenrod

    The reason this way done was to get this company – press and airtime no more! and everyone fell for it….

  • Gaz Kendall

    and yes we are legally required to ride with lights on our bikes…just in case you missed that bit 😉

  • Gaz Kendall

    There is NOTHING funny about it. Because this kind of thing is just another sign that it is now socially acceptable to treat cyclists like dirt. And the more people who do, then the more think it’s ok!

    Like back in the 70’s, when there were tv shows such as love thy neighbour. Utterly racist and vile, nothing at all funny about any of it y todays standards. But back then the majority of society all sat and laughed at it.

    And in the same way that moronic fools would watch love thy neighbour, and then think it’s ok to call the black man next door “sambo”. Motorists who spit venom and poke fun at cyclists, go out in their cars with that attitude in their heads…then people get killed, and suddenly nobody is laughing any more.

    A 12 year old kid was killed in my home town two days ago… do you think his family would find this funny?

  • BikeRideMike

    ‘Road tax’ suggests the tax is on the use and entitlement of the road, which it isn’t. So it’s Vehicle Excise Duty. Don’t try and justify that term.

  • Matt Bowyer

    Which is of course both technically correct and utterly irrelevant.

    I have to pay a TAX before I’m allowed to use my car on the ROAD. Ergo it’s road tax, whether it’s called road tax, VED, or a donation to the great cause.


    After a car knocked me off my bike the police arrived. Before they even spoke to me they said to the driver he had every right to deny the liability for this incident – luckily for me he didn’t – then they told me I could have a car for the price of my bike – and the poin is…..

  • kennymatic

    Which state is actually considering the carbon tax?

  • Antonio

    I agree with most of that (not legal claims, hazard and tax bits) and I’m a cyclist. Oh wait, I’m a motorist as well. Hmmm. I think cyclists and motorists all just need to chill out a bit. This statement was meant in jest and it’s actually quite funny and true in part.

  • James Simpson

    Motorists are going to be charged per mile and per pound of vehicle in annual registration policy changes here in US. I would expect it to spread the world over after the whole US converts. They are adding a Carbon Tax as well to cover all the damages caused by Vehicles. They continually are pressing to have many removed to allow for the expansion of our industry.

    This is nothing but another stab to control the progress people make daily by bike, without having to waste a dime.

    Not to mention all the frickin recalls this year alone…Boeing will be next.

  • TrevorHoldsworth

    Nobody pays road tax. It was abolished decades ago.

  • Jon Sparks

    “and legally, it is always the motorists fault.”

    Well, that bit is simply not true. Even if we had strict liability, which we don’t, it wouldn’t work like that.