Dodging drivers - John C. Kirk
Apr. 19th, 2012
10:50 pm - Dodging drivers
Back in February, someone deliberately drove their car into my (hire) bike while I was queuing at a traffic light. I reported the collision to the police, and they phoned me last week for more info. On my report, I described the driver as "Female?" because I only saw him/her for a couple of seconds and I just noticed that he/she didn't have any facial hair. However, the police said that a man had identified himself as the driver, which could well be correct.
I received a letter from the police yesterday: "After careful consideration of all the available evidence it has been decided that the other party will not be prosecuted for the offence of driving without due care and attention. I can confirm however that this office has written to the other party and reminded them of their responsibilities as a road user, to drive safely and comply with road traffic law." Oh well, that's something I suppose. The police also gave me the driver's name and address, which surprised me: maybe that's in case I need to make an insurance claim, since he didn't stick around to exchange details at the scene.
More recently, I had a near miss with a private ambulance. Here's the video from my helmet camera:
I've had closer calls than that, and it may not look too bad in the video, but it was close enough to make me think "Yikes!" Also, if you look at the photo of a car overtaking a bike in the Highway Code, there's quite a dramatic difference. You may need sound on to verify that the driver bounced off the kerb ahead of me; it was more obvious in person.
That ambulance was labelled as "Door2Door PTS". According to this press release: "Addison Lee Green Cross Limited trading as Door 2 Door Patient Transport is now a member of the Medical Services Limited group." I reported this incident to the police (via RoadsafeLondon) and I emailed Medical Services so that they could address this as an internal staff training issue. I received an autoreply from Medical Services, but nothing further.
Addison Lee have also been in the news recently, due to a conflict with TfL. This relates to their mini-cab business: the boss has told all his drivers to use bus lanes (which is illegal) and that he'll pay their fines. TfL have responded that the drivers may face prosecution individually. There's more coverage in the Guardian, where a former driver said: "No one tests your driving skills". Based on the ambulance driver I saw, I can well believe it.
Edit: Following up on this, Addison Lee (the company that owns the ambulance) have been in the news again! This time, the guy in charge has implied that collisions between cars and bikes are inevitable, and claimed that drivers pay road tax (which doesn't exist). More info at road.cc and The Times.