Boss of London cycle campaign group accuses black cab drivers of cold-calling him with abuse and threats as they ‘wage all-out war on cycling’

Chloe Chaplain
The co chair of Stop Killing Cyclists says he has been subjected to abuse for a year: Alex Lentati

The head of a prominent London cycle safety charity has accused black cab drivers of cold-calling him with threats and subjecting him to a barrage of abuse in a bid to “wage a war” against cyclists.

The co-chair of Stop Killing Cyclists, Donnachadh McCarthy said he has endured online abuse for more than a year since he began campaigning on the issue of cab congestion and pollution.

He described alleged instances of cabbies phoning him in the middle of the night to “scream abuse down the phone” and bombard him with “chilling” threats over his continued campaigns.

And he said he had been forced to report scores of Twitter accounts over a tirade of personal abuse he has received.

Some black cab drivers have been accused of posting online abuse (PA Wire/PA Images)

Writing about his experiences in a long and detailed Facebook post, he said: “Got woken up at 2am by a black cabbie who had got my home phone number and screamed abuse at me down the phone.

“This followed another one who rang me at 11pm before Christmas and quietly threatened me with what he would do to me if I did not shut up talking about the environmental and health damage caused by overuse of cabs (black/mini/Uber) in London.

Abuse: The campaigner wrote about the abuse on his FB page

“Last night's call followed an evening where I had to report two twitterers to Twitter for more invective personal abuse, in two threads about cabs in London.”

Mr McCarthy told the Standard that the abuse began when he grew tired of trying to create an alliance with cab drivers and instead campaigned on the problems caused by the amount of cabs in central London.

Outspoken: Campaigner Donnachadh McCarthy, pictured at a Stop Killing Cyclists event, said he has been subjected to abuse (Tamara Van Wertheren)

“We are targeting all cabs, not just black cabs,” he said. “But we just feel there is an issue with pollution and congestion.”

He said that, through legal injunctions and petitions, the cab industry has fought “tooth and nail” against “every single proposal to make London's streets safer” and accused them of delaying TfL plans to improve any area of road.

“The black-cab industry have been waging an all-out literally lethal war on cycling safety and people cycling for years,” he added.

He said he has been subjected to homophobic, racist, misogynistic, mental health-related abuse by London’s Black Cab drivers and is regularly accused of having a criminal record for drink driving.

Mr McCarthy said he has reported multiple abusive accounts to Twitter and mutes many of them but that new ones crop up “day after day”.

He called on the London Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) to crack down on anyone found to have been posting online abuse.

“The Chair of the Corporation of London told me he even received death threats for banning traffic from Bank junction and said that he was quite shaken by it,” Mr McCarthy said.

And he said the level of online racism received by Mayor Sadiq Khan made him “almost ashamed to be a Londoner”.

Steve McNamara, the General Secretary of the LTDA said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms any abuse or harassment that Mr McCarthy may have suffered, and are sorry for any distress that this has caused.

“Cyclists and taxi drivers need to work together to make London’s roads safer.

"As part of our work with the London Cycling Campaign, the LTDA has signed up to a four-point plan to promote safer driving and safer cycling to our 11,000 drivers across the capital.”