GREEN TRANSPORT SPECIALIST BANS EMPLOYEES FROM CYCLING ON COMPANY BUSINESS
“DO as I say not as I do”, that should be the message from green transport specialist Jacobs Babtie which while advising clients on cycle policy, has banned its own employees from cycling on company business on safety grounds!
Jacobs is one Britain’s largest engineering companies. It advises local authorities on how to get people to switch from cars to bikes.
The story was featured prominently in The Times when Jacobs Babtie refused to comment.
When Cycling Weekly contacted the company’s Glasgow headquarters, we were told the instruction had come their California office and referred to a Mary Bloon. Our call was met by voice-recorded message.
However, the CTC, the national cyclists’ organisation, told CW that the original email came from Iain Graham, the company’s Health and Safety boss in the UK.
In this, he says he is aware how this instruction will seem at odds with their environmental policy work.
Their website states they offer expert advice at every stage of cycle policy and planning, from design to implementation.
The instruction has angered many employees at their 36 offices in Britain, and prompted the following explanation from Graham.
“... our first responsibility is for the safety of our employees. We could produce statistical data looking at the frequency of car accidents compared to motorbikes and bicycles and slice or dice it any number of ways.
“But to be honest, that really doesn't matter. It's patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car!
“Again the reason for this policy is to protect our employees! And protecting them from other vehicles on the road!”
Jenny Jones, the green transport adviser to Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, said TfL should consider cancelling its contracts with Jacobs. She said: “It is hypocritical to offer advice on promoting cycling but at the same time ban your staff from using bikes. If Jacobs does not understand how important cycling is to TfL, we need to ask whether they are the right sort of company to work with.”
Kevin Mayne, CTC Director, told The Times.
“Banning cycling on health and safety grounds is ironic; forcing people off their bikes and into cars just reduces their fitness and increases the danger they pose to other road users. Jacobs’ policy shows a complete lack of understanding of transport risk assessment. For TfL and local authorities to pay a company which bans cycling for advice on sustainable transport is like asking the lunatics to help run the asylum.”