You’ll have to bear with me if this comes out in a bit of a mess but I’m rather irritated at the moment…
Last Friday, 20th January, I was cycling to a training course down in Kenley and heading down the Purley Way when this happened:
Not the best of starts to the day. I edited out the footage, uploaded it to Youtube on the Saturday
Sevening they penned out an e-mail to PJ Brown on the Sunday morning:
I would like to make a serious complaint about one of your drivers I encountered on the morning of 20/1/12 whilst cycling to work.
At approximately 8:30 I was headed southbound on Purley Way in Croydon when the driver of one of your lorries with registration GK08 PGU performed a very unsafe pass on myself, barely leaving me any room.
When I caught up with the driver with the driver at the next set of traffic lights a few hundred yards up the road and gestured my disapproval of his poor driving the driver then pulled forward into the bike box (therefore jumping the red light as he passed his stop line) and shouted ouf the his cabin window, calling me “maggot” and complaining I was riding too far out from the kerb.
At the time of the pass I was travelling on a slight downhill section at around 30mph (it’s a 40mph limit) about 3-4′ from the kerb in what is known as “primary” position and it taught by Bikeability and the IAM as a safe position to use when either approaching pinch points or when overtaking by a motor vehicle would place the rider in danger. Having had the HGV before your one do a very close pass just before a traffic island I was trying to be more cautious.
Highway code rule 163 gives a very clear description and picture of how much room a cyclists should be given when overtaking and in all honesty I’d expect more from such a large vehicle due to the wind buffeting.
The incident was caught on my helmet camera and can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/4oPB-ZUrgnQ.
Just so you are aware I will also be contacting Advance Fuels to complain about their drivers behaviour also, however I believe your drivers apparent lack of respect for my safety and his attitude at the lights ahead warrant some looking into and I look forward to hearing back on how this matter is being dealt with. I have had a look over the Health and Safety policy on your website and believe this driver is in breach of a few clauses with regards to respecting the safety of the public, given the high proportion of HGV’s involved in cyclist accidents and fatalities and don’t believe this sort of driving is an anyway acceptable.
I got a response from there this morning:
Good Morning,I have read your complaint reference our Driver and the advance fuel
vehicle. The road narrows to a singular track where these two incidents
took place and vehicles are not to cross the chevron area.
Your footage does not show the distance you are away from the kerb and
our driver states you were a lot further from the kerb than you have
stated. My driver did not jump any red light but only moved forward to
acknowledge yourself. Admittedly he called you a ‘maggot’ but you had
created a new era of ‘cycle rage’ gesturing and a vile torrid of abuse
to other road users. You also enticed trouble at the traffic lights.
Plant & Transport Manager
Nice eh? Seems from reading this they think the drivers actions where reasonable and could only be expected with my “cycle rage” and I enticed trouble at the lights….
Not much I could do asides from a new reply to summarize my feelings on the matter:
Thank you for the response. I’m guessing you haven’t actually looked at the section of the Highway code that I mentioned that demonstrates the safe distance to pass a cyclist? If so you can clearly see both the drivers in this case failed to give me adequate space.
I also believe my footage gives a fairly good representation of the distance I was riding out from the kerb, cyclist are NOT required to hug the gutter. As a commenter on the video stated the consequences of striking the kerb would have resulted in a crash.
As for my reaction at the lights I’d put that down to the adrenaline from having 2 rather large vehicles coming past at extremely close quarters. The mere fact that neither hit me doesn’t make them “safe”.
Anyway I’m guessing from this response no further action will be taken with this “driver” so I will now be forwarding a copy of the video to the Met Polices Roadsafe unit and see what they think about it.
I’ve just finished the Roadsafe submission so can only hope they’ll take it a bit more seriously then then PJ Brown, who like most construction companies have a nice shiny PDF on their website detailing their “health and safety” policy….which apparently can be ignored when it suits them!
I’m not going to let this one rest. Given the number of cyclists killed by HGV’s (and this isn’t even central London!) I don’t think driving like that shown by either of those in the clip is in anyway acceptable!
So what are your thoughts; Was I riding too far out? Where they safe passes and did I “over-react” at the end?
I have also contacted Advance Fuels and await their response….
to see the response I got from the MD after my MP wrote to them.