Insanely aggressive TNT driver

edited March 2009 in Commuting chat
Astonishing incident this morning. One of the worst in all my years of cycling. This guy really seemed like he wanted to kill me. He was SO close the second time. Just sent the following letter to his depo manager and TNT head office. I have no idea whether it will make any difference...

Dangerous driving incident involving TNT truck YN54 CGF, 4 March 2009

I am writing to complain in the strongest possible terms about the behaviour of one of your drivers. The incident occurred between 0835-0845 on Wednesday 4 March on the A432 Frenchay Rd. in Bristol. The registration number of the vehicle involved was YN54 CGF.

I commute into Bristol by bike down the A432. This is a busy urban commuter route. For most of its course there are cars parked on either side of the road, several sets of traffic lights and obtrusive road furniture such as bollards and traffic islands. The pace of traffic along it is slow. Indeed, on most days it is quicker to get from one end to the other by bike.

I first became aware that your driver was behind me at the top of the road when he tried to pass in an inappropriate place. The road is narrow at this point and there was significant oncoming traffic. It would have been a dangerous for a small car to squeeze pass at this point, let alone a seven tonne truck. This did not stop your driver who passed me anyway – very closely, into the face of oncoming traffic and gesticulating and swearing at me the whole time.

The nature of the road is such that I passed him myself again within a couple of minutes at the next traffic light queue, an action which appears to have driven him to frenzy. The following section of road is again unsuitable for passing, with bollards in the middle of the carriageway. Unable to pass – even unsafely – your driver contented himself with sitting a foot or so off my back wheel, gunning his engine and – presumably trying to intimidate me off the road.

At the earliest opportunity he again passed me, this time astonishingly close, whether to 'teach me a lesson', scare me or even to actually try and kill me I have no idea. Either way, it was the most aggressive and dangerous piece of driving that I have had the misfortune to see in over 10 years as an urban cyclist and 18 years as a driver myself. Again he was gesticulating wildly and swearing at me. Again, his action was difficult to understand as I would have caught him again myself at the next set of lights. In fact I did not do so because I stopped to write down his details in anticipation of writing this letter.

This kind of aggressive and impatient behaviour is the reason why people get killed on our roads. What is all the more frustrating is that your driver gained nothing by behaving in this way because of the slow moving nature of the traffic on this stretch of road. It is unacceptable that respected companies like TNT employ drivers who behave in this dangerous manner. I strongly suggest you send this particular driver for re-training.


  • Christophe3967
    Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    Good luck with that. I had occasion last year to write to Ealing Council about a similarly intimidatory piece of drivng by one of their lorry drivers. I received a prompt response from the contractors. The driver was apparently apologetic and was given a six month warning. Hopefully you'll receive a similar response. How an inexperienced cyclist might react is the most worrying thing. Perhaps lorry drivers ought to be required to spend a morning cycling in a busy urban environment as part of their HGV training.
  • Soul Boy
    Soul Boy Posts: 359
    It would be nice to think that TNT would take positive action against this driver, but then it would be nice to think drivers wouldn't be so damn impatient in the first place.

    Heres hoping they acknowledge your complaint, but failing that it sounds as though that driver isn't going to live long, how much stress?
  • Slow Downcp
    Slow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    May be worth reporting the incident to the local police - and put a reference to this in the letter to TNT.

    The police won't get involved - unless someone else has previosuly done the same - but if anyone else puts in a similar complaint in future (or there is an accident involving the driver and a cyclist) they may be more likely to follow it up.
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • il_principe
    il_principe Posts: 9,155
    Oh dear. The irony is he was probably in a hurry to deliver some cycling equipment to someone like me! I had a DHL package this am.

    Good luck with the complaint. I agree with Slow Down and would report to the police as well. Pity you don't have a helmet cam really, idiots like this should not be driving at all, let alone professionally.
  • RyanB
    RyanB Posts: 116
    If I was you I'd re-send the letter and cc your local police station on it (and also actually send the copy to the cops).

    It'll probably do nothing with the police but at least it might spur TNT into taking some kind of action.

    Makes me so angry even just reading this. :x :x :x
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    I really can't understand the motives of drivers who do this. What's lacking in their brain that they deliberately put someone's life at risk? A road user doesn't metamorphose into a different being not worthy of living when he steps out of his front door and opts for the bike instead of the car. He's still husband, father, son, brother, the nice bloke next door, chap who helps out at Scouts occasionally, bloke who knows how to sort out your computer, bloke who sits near you at the football and has naughty line in abuse for the opposition, chap who sometimes takes the kids from up the road to school in an emergency, chap who's currently 4th in the squash league but doesn't mind as it's more of a social thing really and an excuse for a pint afterwards, he's still the guy at work who cycles in sometimes instead of driving - what a nutter biking that far eh? And because some short-fused trucker takes offence at being delayed by this bloke of many colours, he deems it his right to remove our cyclist from our midst and break that network, and destroy the set of links that stretches into so many lives. TNT should sack the git and make it clear to all of their drivers that this sort of reaction is not tolerated. A bit of abuse and the middle finger is water off a ducks back. Being killed isn't. It's a bit more terminal.
  • @ChrisinBiscester. All true of course except the Scouts and the squash. :)

    I feel better having sent the letter off...
  • tiny_pens
    tiny_pens Posts: 293
    Hope you get a result. I have had a result with an aggressive van driver that I reported to the police. Because I had the full license number they were able to pay him a little call and have a chat with him. By all accounts it put him in a very humble mood.

  • shae
    shae Posts: 105
    personally i would of draged him out of the van rather than write a letter
  • Good luck with that.

    I am surprised you have only seen such behaviour so infrequently if you have been commuting by bike everyday for the past 10 years. I see that sort of thing a lot. I ride quite assertively i.e. towards the middle of the lane and have found that this angers some drivers, especially the "professional" ones normally in delivery vans (or mini cabs). I only do this because I have had so many close shaves with drivers not giving me enough space.

    I had a situation with an Initial City Link (another courier company) driver a few years back - in this case the driver hit me from behind and then got out of his cab and assaulted me with a volley of expletives. He did it in a very aggressive way, he was a large man and I felt very physically threatened especially as I was already shaken up after being struck by a lorry from behind.

    I found out that a company I was working for at the time had a large contract with Initial City Link and I wrote to them on the headed paper. I got a grovelling letter of apology from the driver concerned within 2 days along with a cheque to cover the damage to my bike.

    They tend to take these letters more seriously if they think they might lose business over it.
  • iain_j
    iain_j Posts: 1,941
    Shoulder of Orion, that makes the whole behaviour even more pathetic. More bothered about losing business than maiming or killing someone on the road.

    I had a similar run-in with a tanker a couple of years ago, he'd sat right behind me for a couple of minutes beeping his horn. Like this it was on a busy urban road, flowing smoothly but too many obstructions and too narrow for me to be able to let him past safely. He eventually overtook at what would even be too close for a car. I was too shaken up at the time to get a name and/or registration from it.
  • NGale
    NGale Posts: 1,866
    Having done some short term office contracts with City Link I wouldn't touch them with a ten foot stick. If they can't treat the parcels of samples from NHS hospitals to labs with the respect they deserve then the public have no chance with their packages.
    Officers don't run, it's undignified and panics the men
  • iain_j wrote:
    Shoulder of Orion, that makes the whole behaviour even more pathetic. More bothered about losing business than maiming or killing someone on the road.

    Yes, but unfortunately money makes the world go round. If everyone who drove a van treated cyclists with respect because they feared they might lose their jobs or money if not then we wouldn't have a problem.
    iain_j wrote:
    He eventually overtook at what would even be too close for a car. I was too shaken up at the time to get a name and/or registration from it.

    This has also happened to me several times. Indeed this very morning a driver cut across me from the outside lane without indicating when I was going along at around 20mph. He had one of those "how is my driving?" stickers on the back of his van. But how I was supposed to memorise the phone number and his number plate having just had a near death experience is beyond me...
  • I am surprised you have only seen such behaviour so infrequently if you have been commuting by bike everyday for the past 10 years..

    I've had my fair share of run ins but nothing quite like this. Maybe I've just been lucky. Hope this isn't a sign of things to come.
  • downfader
    downfader Posts: 3,686
    Only time I've really had a run in with a pillock in a delivery van was this DHL guy in a "cube truck" as the americans put it. Heading towards the end of my road there is a left and right junction, van in the right waiting, I'm about to turn off my road onto the left junction so indicate. No sooner had I stuck my arm out the guy in the van pulled out on me. I had to brake REALLY hard to avoid going into him and shouted out "Oi! You nearly killed me you idiot!" (Or something along those lines, was a few years back... )

    Next thing I know is this plank is hammering his horn, puts the van in reverse and comes back at me. Luckily I was close enough to the left turn to dip down there. I turn around and have ago at him again "When my arm is out I'm INDICATING, NOT GIVING WAY to you!!"

    He just sat there having a hissy fit banging the horn, pointing, general swearing (which was hard to make out as he had the windows up). All this was at 7am and woke the neighbourhood up.

    Sent an email to DHL to complain with all the relevant details (date, time, road/location, etc etc) only for them to ask me where and what had happened. They just didnt take it seriously and I really wish I had gone to the police at the first instance and taken the guys plates.

    I knew better after that.
  • Hey Jax
    Hey Jax Posts: 107

    Keep us posted as to what happens! cant wait to see what TNT have to say for themselves!
  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    Fire off a copy of the letter to the head office also. There is sometimes a 'Hows my driving' sticker on the back of the vehicle.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • Huh. Reply from TNT today. Apologised profusely, but also claiming that the driver 'does not recall the incident'. How convenient for him. Bell end.
  • robmanic1
    robmanic1 Posts: 2,150
    Well I guess he would say that wouldn't he, you did the right thing by reporting him though, I'm sure his superiors will have had a word and who knows, maybe next time he'll think twice before acting in this way.

    Pictures are better than words because some words are big and hard to understand.
  • Peasoup
    Peasoup Posts: 63
    on the flip side, the driver might behave like that all the time, have many such incidents on a daily basis, and be simply unable to single yours out! :roll: