A bit of advice, please: or, what do about pontentially psychotic private hire taxi drivers!

Hi all,

I'd like a bit of advice about what to do about an incident that took place this morning on my way in to work. Cycling down the Mile End road, I saw a private hire taxi edging out of a side road and occupying the entire bus lane. I made eye contact with the driver, who continued to edge further out into the road, and pulled around him (he had to stop pulling out to let me do this, but was doing no more than 2mph. The road was wet, so I couldn't have safely stopped in time to let him out). As I passed him, I said 'what are you doing?' and gave him a funny look. I continued on my way. He overtook me and parked about 500 or so yards further down Mile End road (near the SportsDirect store, for those who are interested). As I approached, he got out of the car, lit a cigarette, then stepped into the road to stop me from passing. A predictable stream of expletives followed, with him claiming that I should have given way to him when he was pulling out. Further expletives followed, none from me; I just asked to be allowed to continue on my way to work. As I pulled away from him, he kicked the back wheel of my bike. I (perhaps stupidly) stopped again and told him not to kick my bike. Needless to say, he kicked it again. I cycled off, agitated and angry. He shouted after me that he would knock me off my bike if he saw me again.

My question is: what to do next? I noted the company he works for, but not the number plate. Is it worth complaining to the company? Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but my worry is that he, knowing this is my route to work, will look out for me in future and hassle me further if he is reprimanded by his place of work. What have people done in similar circumstances? Laughed it off. I've had altercations with drivers in London, but never with this level of menace (stepping out into the Mile End road seemed particularly bizarre and intimidating). Any suggestions welcome!

Replies

First and foremost relax!

Don't bother changing your route or time of travel, you'll probably never see him again.

Reporting him to his employer; your probably not going to get very far unless you filmed the incident. Sorry but that tends to be the way of the world! It's more hassle than it's worth, all he'll do is move to another mini-cab firm (a quick look in the yellow pages will show just how many firms there are).

The best advice I can give you is "Chalk it up to experience and move on", it really is that simple.

As a final point I have found that making any comment [no matter how innocuous] will tend to light the blue touch paper with some people. I now make eye-contact only, often with a stern look.

I hope that this is of help to you and remember - Half an hour of hard pedaling will usualy put the world back on its axis!

Report it to the employers, and roadsafe. https://secure.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/  You might not get anywhere, but you definitely won't if you do nothing.

I'm tempted to suggest you should've ridden fast straight at him, knocking him over before using the get-out-of-jail-free card of "sorry mate - I didn't see you", but that would be a bad thing to do.

 

  • By SimonS at 11:07am 24 Sep 2013
You're obviously (and rightly) annoyed. Best report it to get it off your chest. If the company gets reports about all such incidents they can do something about them - if they don't know about such incidents, they can't act. Perhaps they could identify the driver from a description. The behaviour of the driver was also probably unlawful, so you should report it to the police (there may have been a CCTV camera filming what happened). Again, even if they can't prosecute, at least they will get a better understanding of the vile behaviour we have to put up with when cycling.

I once reported a driver of "one of the biggest PH companies in London" for overtaking me in my car (doing c22mph) - so he was doing over 30mph in a 20 mph parked up road where kids could easily have appeared from between the cars. I was informed that he had been sent for "retraining".

Of course that was a lot easier as he didn't even know that I'd taken his number down when I stopped behind him at the next traffic lights so no personal interaction............

 

I recommend that you look for a reliable and respectable minicab company. Try http://cabreviews.co.uk/north-finchley for local N12 companies. Choose only from the best minicab companies in London. It sure helped me a lot. And you can even create an account and speak your mind about the companies or experiences that you had and see what others have experienced.

Best regards

I've sometimes though a good marketing point would be a "cycle Friendly" taxi company.
I don't only mean a cab that will take the bike as well as the cyclist, but company with some sort of certificate (perhaps from LCC) that states they have had some sort of cycle awareness training. It might also encourage other cab driver to respect cyclist more on the road.

  • By Spoquey at 03:32pm 17 Apr 2014

You can report taxi and private hire behaviour to Transport for London as they are responsible for licensed and private hire vehicles. Go onto TfL's website and you will find out how to complain about behaviour here:

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/contact-tph

I have done it a few times and the driver has always been "talked to". At the very least it annoys the hell out of him, and the good thing is he realises he can't just behave with impunity.

Remember it is easy to forget to remember the number plate / taxi licence number !

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