Sainsbury's issues statement after video of supermarket lorry passing near cyclist causes online controversy

Sainsbury’s supermarket has issued a response to an online video purportedly showing one of its lorries in a ‘close pass’ with a cyclist, saying that it is treating the incident “very seriously”.

YouTube user CBL posted a video on March 29 of the Sainsbury’s branded heavy goods vehicle driving on his right-hand-side as he rode in a cycle lane.

The video was then picked up by several people on social media, and circulated widely.

A representative of Sainsbury’s initially responded to a query about the video on Twitter, saying “Hi Karl, the driver is in his own lane, this has already been brought to our attention. Have a good day. Faiza.”

>>> West Midlands Police targetting of ‘close pass’ drivers a success in improving cyclists’ safety

The response prompted an adverse reaction from many Twitter users, including former pro rider and cycling safety advocate Chris Boardman.

Boardman wrote: “I don’t normally retweet this stuff but watch the video and then I’ll show you @sainsburys response.” He then added: “THATS A HUMAN BEING @sainsburys how about if it was one of your kids, would you feel the same?”

When contacted by Cycling Weekly for this article, Sainsbury’s issued a statement saying that the incident was under investigation.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said, “We’d like to provide a reassurance that this incident is being treated very seriously. Our drivers receive extensive safety training and we are now reviewing the footage and investigating.”

The company also underlined that it had introduced “cycle safe” lorries two years ago, which included proximity sensors and video cameras giving the driver a 360-degree vision of the surrounding road. Drivers undergo “further driver training on higher safety standards in the truck”.

As a footnote below the video, YouTube user CBL notes: “Received a less than satisfactory response from Sainsburys so it’s been reported to the plod via the Met online portal. Awaiting response.”

West Midlands Police, who introduced an initiative to educate drivers on avoiding dangerous close-passes of cyclists, advise that vehicles should give cyclists at least 1.5 metres’ room.