A Stevenage business has been reported to the police for operating a van sporting stickers that appear to incite violence against cyclists. One of the stickers reads “Avoid serious injury, stay away from my van!” and includes a graphic of a cyclist being attacked with a baseball bat. The other sticker reads "Stay wider of the driver".
Yellow "cyclists stay back" stickers have caused controversy in the last couple of years, and were originally introduced by Transport for London, and meant to be placed only on buses. The stickers soon migrated to other vehicles, including HGVs, vans and cars. Road.cc spoofed the stickers with one of their own, "Cyclists stay awesome".
The stickers used by the Stevenage business are probably commercially available. An “Avoid serious injury, stay away from my bike!” sticker – using the same graphic as the van sticker – is available from a retailer on Etsy.com.
The "Stay wider of the driver" sticker is a (non-sensical) pastiche of the "Stay wider of the rider" concept, popular in Australia and South Africa.
The van was spotted in Letchworth by freelance photographer Trevor Coultart. "I drove past it parked and did two u-turns to get the photo," he told BikeBiz, asking "Is it incitement to violence? Threatening behaviour?"
According to the Public Order Act 1986, it is an offence to "display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting …within the … sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby." The signs displayed on the van could also be guilty of other offences.
BikeBiz has contacted the Stevenage business for comment.