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Skanska van bullying cyclist - is this an adequate response?

ydrolydrol Posts: 39
edited December 2014 in Commuting chat
I encountered some impatient/bullying driving from a Skansa Lewisham/Croydon Streetlighting van whilst going straight over a mini-roundabout ( http://youtu.be/tPywRlkTMl8 ) They tried to push me left approaching the roundabout, and then tried to undertake me on the roundabout itself!
I complained to the relevant Skanska department :
.... As this driving reflects on your company I'd like to know what actions will be taken towards this driver, and generally so that drivers are more patient with vulnerable road users and follow the highway code.

and got the following response 24 hours later :
Dear Mr XXXX,

Thank you for your email regarding cycling on Addington Road, Croydon.
We have conducted toolbox talks with our operatives to ensure that the Highway code is followed at all times.

Kind regards

XXX XXXXX
Customer Liaison Officer

I cant help but interpret this reply as " all drivers were told to follow the highway code at some point (in the past) , but regarding this particular incident , we have done nothing at all - and we cant be bothered to apologise either", or am I being too cynical? In my experience multi-national construction companies usually make a lot of noise about the importance of Health and Safety - so this seems a bit of a lukewarm response to bullying cyclists on the road.

Posts

  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,796
    I would point out that "following the Highway Code at all times" is a bare minimum as anything else is breaking the law and punishable if caught.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    Yes you'd think that the Highway Code is the bare minimum someone would follow, although my understanding is that its not the law - just advice. The law is the Road Traffic Act? But that's another discussion I guess :)
  • You're right but generally, if you break the highway code you are usually breaking a road traffic act of a similar nature so although not law, it helps to follow it.

    Anyhoo, back on topic, I'd be a little peeved if that was the response i got but then I wouldn't have expected too much in the first place and would have saved myself the stamp complaining such is the dim view I take of most customer service departments
  • pblakeneypblakeney Posts: 16,796
    ydrol wrote:
    Yes you'd think that the Highway Code is the bare minimum someone would follow, although my understanding is that its not the law - just advice. The law is the Road Traffic Act? But that's another discussion I guess :)
    You are quite correct, but that just confuses the dim when you try to explain it to the dim. Best to talk at their level.
    The above may be fact, or fiction, I may be serious, I may be jesting.
    I am not sure. You have no chance.
    Veronese68 wrote:
    PB is the most sensible person on here.
  • At least you got a response....
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    At least you got a response....

    Sometimes I think I prefer, no response than a vague/guarded response. If I get no response, I wont waste any more of my time with them :) (Usually smaller companies etc.). But responses like this one from Skanska seem to assume I can be fobbed off with what looks like lip service and no apology at all - which I then take too personally. Must step away from the keyboard ...
  • lancewlancew Posts: 680
    I read the email as "we've gone downstairs and had a word to let them know that people have complained, so be more sensible".

    But I also read it as: "OK you stupid little cyclist, calm down, why are you out in the winter on a bike anyway, well I had best try and satisfy you with the minimum effort possible and might leave a note downstairs somewhere".

    I think that unless you have a major incident (get hit) currently there's not an awful lot you can do about it aside from always being careful and never trusting another vehicle on the road. CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
    Specialized Allez Sport 2013
  • pastryboypastryboy Posts: 1,385
    Reply saying you think the response is not adequate so you will be putting your camera footage on youtube and sending it to the police.
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    edited December 2014
    Reply saying you think the response is not adequate so you will be putting your camera footage on youtube and sending it to the police.

    My first contact referenced the evidence at youtube, and they should have the RoadSafe letter by now. Funnily enough the initial Police response to my Roadsafe submission was the standard boilerplate email plus :
    Can we also ask you to take the time and read rules 184 to 188 of the highway code.

    As a driver with 10 years no claims, that somewhat peeved me, but when I pressed for exactly which part of the HC I breached they didn't replay but confirmed a warning letter had been sent to Skanska.

    I've also had the following advice added to a Roadsafe acknowledgement email after blurting out the C word [ http://youtu.be/Va8V8u89PSg ] (I'll be washing out my mouth with soap shortly ):
    May we take the opportunity to ask that words used to motorists not cause conflict.
  • I just watched the vid and I think your lane position was poor and you cut the roundabout such that it was hard to tell where you were going.

    The driver did indeed start to cut in when he shouldn't but then you caused confusion by *appearing* to look like you were going right and not straight on, I think this is what caused the undertake manoeuvre and not a continuation of his poor driving.

    I think you should remember to follow the lane round in future and you would not end up stranded on the outside of the lane as you come off the roundabout.

    I think in this case, it is an example of poor road-craft from both parties.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • ydrol wrote:
    Reply saying you think the response is not adequate so you will be putting your camera footage on youtube and sending it to the police.

    My first contact referenced the evidence at youtube, and they should have the RoadSafe letter by now. Funnily enough the initial Police response to my Roadsafe submission was the standard boilerplate email plus :
    Can we also ask you to take the time and read rules 184 to 188 of the highway code.

    As a driver with 10 years no claims, that somewhat peeved me, but when I pressed for exactly which part of the HC I breached they didn't replay but confirmed a warning letter had been sent to Skanska.

    The bit you breached is the part I refer to... it seems I'm not the only one to note the way you crossed the roundabout.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    I just watched the vid and I think your lane position was poor and you cut the roundabout such that it was hard to tell where you were going..

    I cut the roundabout because a he was initially on my right, and was still bullying, , In this instance I'm fairly sure he would have tried to overtake me across the hump had I taken a more correct primary line. Although I can see how it looks on the video, I would not have taken that line normally.
    Based on our chat, he knew exactly where I was going in this instance. Before the roundabout, his window was open as I said several times, "I'm going straight" accompanied with me pointing directly ahead. (see right arm shadow at 1:02).
    This RAB , and the exit in question, are actually quite small so my position stopped him passing on either side.
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    Last one on this - an apology at last - not for their behaviour though - but because I'm too sensitive - lol! OK I'll draw a line under this one. (I kept adding various depts within Skanska to the distribution list )
    Dear Mr XXX,

    Thank you for your emails sent yesterday and lunchtime today.

    We are sorry that you feel[my emphasis] you had an unpleasant experience on Sunday afternoon whilst you were riding on the Addington Road, Croydon.

    As part of regular briefings with our operatives, we have raised this subject with all drivers, including the Skanska driver in your video.

    My final response:
    Thanks for the eventual apology, though the police did not send you a warning letter because of how "I felt", but what your driver did. I refer you to Road Traffic Act sec 3

    "If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence"

    Nothing to do with my feelings, but a matter of Law and Liability.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    I'm with Kieran here, mountain made of a molehill, poor lane discipline by you (left lane approach and then hugged the roundabout), sensible riding by you and there would have been no issue, and why tell him you have a camera before he's actually done anything.

    The van couldn't try and pass you on the left if you were in the right place on the road, if I was the officer I'd be looking to prosecute you not the van driver to be honest.

    Do you follow Traffic Droid on YouTube? If so it may help not to!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    Yup - sorry, having seen the video I concur with Kieran too ...
    granted, the van driver was initially "wrong" by appearing to come back in on you before the roundabout, but you're not helping by your positioning.

    Having had that initial altercation, how difficult would it have been to just wave the driver on - it basically says to them "I don't trust you to drive safely" - it's more likely to make them think about their driving in future.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I'm with Ydrol. The van is all over the back of the bike on the approach to and on the roundabout, clearly looking to get past on one side or the other instead of doing it properly and hanging back till after the roundabout. There's no scope for confusion as the driver has been told more than once that the cyclist is going straight on; using the whole lane doesn't seem that outrageous in that particular situation.

    Blatant case of impatience and the driver not giving a monkey's about the cyclist or his right to use the bit of road that he's already on and which the van driver wants to use.
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    CiB wrote:
    The van is all over the back of the bike on the approach to and on the roundabout,
    No, it only just catches and draws level on the approach, its not all over the back of the bike through the roundabout as they are in different lanes (the van in the right one, the bike in the wrong one!).
  • The Rookie wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    The van is all over the back of the bike on the approach to and on the roundabout,
    No, it only just catches and draws level on the approach, its not all over the back of the bike through the roundabout as they are in different lanes (the van in the right one, the bike in the wrong one!).

    I'm not sure what you mean here. There are no lanes on the roundabout if it's this one.

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.36846 ... SF1F2Q!2e0

    Given the angle of the exit going straight on may well involve the apex of the grey extension to the roundabout.
    My blog: http://www.roubaixcycling.cc (kit reviews and other musings)
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  • The Rookie wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    The van is all over the back of the bike on the approach to and on the roundabout,
    No, it only just catches and draws level on the approach, its not all over the back of the bike through the roundabout as they are in different lanes (the van in the right one, the bike in the wrong one!).

    They were both going straight on (I think?). So when they're approaching the roundabout the bicyclist is in the correct lane (left to go straight over) and the van is in the wrong lane (he's in the right lane then tries correct himself by moving into the left one).

    Catching, drawing level, whatever the van did is wrong, he should have been behind. So I can see why the OP felt he had to own the lane.

    & despite telling the van he was going straight over the van still tried the undertake. A bit of a silly move but not worth getting your knickers in a twist writing letters and making videos over.
    Although saying that, I don't think the OP falls into the same category as traffic droid or that utter dickturd on the recumbent, he makes my blood boil.
  • jonny_trousersjonny_trousers Posts: 3,588
    edited December 2014
    My view is that the van driver was entirely in the wrong, but the cyclist's slightly controversial attitude didn't really help the situation.

    Skanska will be very aware that an apology could be seen as an admission of guilt, so will be very careful about issuing one.

    Edit* confrontational not controversial. Sodding autocorrect. Ps. The bloke below says it perfectly.
  • SemantikSemantik Posts: 537
    No offence to the OP but the van driver, though possibly a little impatient, was not a road rager or a bully.There are far nastier van drivers about the place than him. I'm afraid you have to learn to give and take out there and there was no need for you to chop across the roundabout like you did, especially as you were riding quite slowly, dawdling in fact. The roundabout was clear @ 16 secs yet you sat there for another 9 seconds- you should have ignored the van and just got on with it! You were basically hogging the road space. If you were making fast progress you would not have held him up and he wouldn't have become so impatient. Sometimes it is only polite to speed up a bit or pull over if you are holding someone up behind. I ride 6k miles per year and have learned what winds up motorists. Cyclists who appear to be dawdling and hogging the road is one of them.
    Yes, admittedly, you can aspire to the moral high ground by claiming: 'I have every right to my share of the road'.
    But this is no good to you when it's carved on your gravestone.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Just another one of those minor incidents which would have been forgotten about (and rightly so) if you hadn't had cameras all over your bike. I'd have sworn about the driver under my breath for about 10 seconds and have put it out of my mind straight after. Cameras seem to make everyone cross and confrontational. Useful when something that matters happens but otherwise just exacerbate the trivial stuff.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    Rolf F wrote:
    Just another one of those minor incidents which would have been forgotten about (and rightly so) if you hadn't had cameras all over your bike.

    I disagree. I think if we want cycling to be attractive to 8-80 year olds, then drivers need to be taught not to bully cyclists, its these minor incidents and attitudes by drivers that are the pre-cursors to causing more serious accidents.

    I only have two cameras and I will always commute with them if I can. If a driver bullys me I will generally roadsafe them so they change the way they drive around cyclists, and know that this is not OK. If it's a company vehicle, I will complain to the company so that they can remind all of their drivers. I dont just run camera's for selfish reasons.

    And God forbid, if I'm in a serious accident then I will hopefully have evidence to counteract the usual 'I didn't see him guvnor'
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    edited December 2014
    Semantik wrote:
    No offence to the OP but the van driver, though possibly a little impatient, was not a road rager or a bully.There are far nastier van drivers about the place than him. I'm afraid you have to learn to give and take out there and there was no need for you to chop across the roundabout like you did, especially as you were riding quite slowly, dawdling in fact.

    As I've previously explained, but this started before the roundabout. He cut into my lane whilst I was in primary. That was the main issue. He looked right at me and drifted into my path. That is why I first started talking to him. The way I subsequently traversed the roundabout, whilst not brilliant, was a reaction to his earlier manoeuvre. He was trying to push me left. Then I was certain he was going to overtake me on the roundabout, which I did not want to happen, because it would have likely been a close pass. I went slowly deliberately and chopped the roundabout to slow him down and stop an overtake on the roundabout. (either on the left, or on the right using the hump).

    And no I will not 'give and take' someone drifting into my lane and my path, when I'm in primary position. Sorry. [ The driving before the RAB ]
    And that is bullying.
  • ydrolydrol Posts: 39
    edited December 2014
    The Rookie wrote:
    CiB wrote:
    The van is all over the back of the bike on the approach to and on the roundabout,
    No, it only just catches and draws level on the approach, its not all over the back of the bike through the roundabout as they are in different lanes (the van in the right one, the bike in the wrong one!).

    No you are wrong on two counts. First , he veered into my path and into my lane whilst I am in primary . He was certainly not just drawing level. Look at his wheels crossing into my lane. You also briefly see his front headlight come very close in the front cam. (at 11 / 12 secs in) This was the initial conflict.
    Second, I AM most certainly in the correct lane to go straight across. If I was in the right hand lane , then I would certainly get undertaken by traffic in the left lane going straight.
    The Rookie wrote:
    and why tell him you have a camera before he's actually done anything.

    Why would I be talking to him if he hadn't done anything?
    The van couldn't try and pass you on the left if you were in the right place on the road,!

    No he could pass on the right though, wheels on the hump. I'd rather he passed after the RAB and made sure that happened.
    Slowbike wrote:
    Having had that initial altercation, how difficult would it have been to just wave the driver on - it basically says to them "I don't trust you to drive safely" - it's more likely to make them think about their driving in future.

    Now that is a good piece of advice.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    ydrol wrote:
    Rolf F wrote:
    Just another one of those minor incidents which would have been forgotten about (and rightly so) if you hadn't had cameras all over your bike.

    I disagree. I think if we want cycling to be attractive to 8-80 year olds, then drivers need to be taught not to bully cyclists, its these minor incidents and attitudes by drivers that are the pre-cursors to causing more serious accidents.

    Fair enough but you should also want cycling to be attractive to yourself and carrying cameras around so you can get annoyed over every single bit of duff driving isn't going to help that.
    ydrol wrote:
    I only have two cameras and I will always commute with them if I can. If a driver bullys me I will generally roadsafe them so they change the way they drive around cyclists, and know that this is not OK.

    But all you did was p1ss that driver off and encourage him to hate cyclists. How is making a driver angry with you going to make him behave better with cyclists in future?
    Faster than a tent.......
  • Right? Wrong? Who cares, it happened now move on. Storm in a tea cup.

    You've had a bit of a do with another road user, no-one was hurt. Things happen when out on a bike. We get angry at the time, but remember why you cycle. What you enjoy about it and forget the negatives. When I feel badly treated by another road user I swear, think about them getting their comeuppance, usually involving no personal harm to them just a huge garage bill that they can't afford so are car less, then I forget it. By that point I'm usually back into my ride and smiling. I love being out on my bike and no-one can take that away from me. Unless they actually hit and harm me of course.
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