Bad ‘bicycle driving’ you can do something about?

Submitted by Rebecca Resman on Tue, 08/12/2014 – 9:29am

Source: Active Transportation Alliance

While riding my bike to work last week, a delivery truck driver coming from the other direction illegally turned left in front of me, making my heart skip a beat and forcing me to stop suddenly. The truck couldn’t complete the turn right away, because he was (thankfully) yielding to a pedestrian.

How's My Driving?

How’s My Driving?

I made eye contact with the driver and said “What are you doing?”

His response was troubling. I got a 7 second middle finger salute that just added insult to injury.

He completed his turn. I got to work safely. End of story?

Nope.

Since he was working for a well known company and had an identifiable truck number, I contacted the company and expressed my concern for their driver’s behavior – both the illegal turn and the “sign language.”

The company representative assured me that they take these situations seriously and that they would look into it. They even sent me some coupons for some free product to thank me for my time.

Everyone should drive safely, but people that drive for a living have an even bigger responsibility since they are on the road more frequently, transport other people and/or often have larger vehicles that can cause more damage.

In London, commercial trucks without special safety features to protect pedestrians and cyclists will be banned from the city due to the disproportionate frequency of injuries/fatalities they cause.

If you see someone driving a commercial vehicle irresponsibly, whether they are driving aggressively, illegally or distracted, please report their behavior. Please note — it’s not necessary or recommended to engage with the driver on site.

Collect the following information:

  • Vehicle number
  • Plate number
  • Date/time
  • Description of vehicle
  • Description of the driver
  • Exact location of the incident

Then, simply contact the company and calmly explain what you witnessed and that it was concerning behavior to observe from a representative of their company.

In the instance of dangerous cab driver behavior, you can submit your complaints directly to the Chicago Department of Business Affairs. I know from experience that they do a thorough job of investigating complaints.

Reporting bad driving, especially commercial drivers, is everyone’s job.


TakeAways

Rebecca has a great point about ‘bad driving‘. Nothing rankles like having a motorist or truck driver do something dangerous. You wonder why drivers allow themselves to be the target of ‘bad driving reports‘. But at least there is a recourse for others. We need to get these folks to stop.

Damen Hijinks - 'The Weave'

Damen Hijinks – ‘The Weave’

The flip side is what does one as a pedestrian do when bicyclists behave in a similar fashion? Unfortunately there is little that can be done to report a bicyclist whether on a commercial run or commuting. Why? There are no legal requirements that people operating bicycles be identifiable. Something is wrong with that approach.

That same individual in the family car would be identifiable. But put them on a bicycle and voila they are able to ‘drive their bicycle‘ through crosswalks where pedestrians are moving with impunity. In fact if a cyclist were to actually ‘hit‘ and pedestrian he could continue on his way without any fear of being identified. This is especially true if there were no cameras rolling.

What is also troubling are bicycle drivers who perform unsafe maneuvers on city streets by weaving in and out of stopped traffic, often ‘crossing the double yellow lines‘ and suddenly appearing in front of oncoming traffic without warning. This is especially true when those same delivery trucks are stalled in traffic and a cyclist crosses in front of a car and goes between that car and the stalled truck in front of it to suddenly face oncoming traffic that was unable to see him because of the truck.

Who do you report that kind of behavior to? And what would you tell the police offer or the city commissioner in order to allow them to identify the offender?

Bicycles Should Have Identifiable Markings

Does that mean a license plate? I would hope so. Does that mean an identifiable number on a helmet or the rear or front rack, even better.