I got left hooked by a taxi driver today. I’ve had closer passes but it was unnecessary so I tried to have a word with him. The conversation was something of an eye opener and made it clearer to me why some people overtake cyclists with so little care. This is a copy of an email I sent to the firm. I will see how they react before I consider naming and shaming.
Dear Sir or Madam
Today at a few minutes after 10am I was cycling along a slip road by the side of the Axx just to the south of [redacted]. As I approached the turning to the [redacted] Hotel I was overtaken by a taxi cab which then immediately turned into the Hotel, passing within a few feet of my bike’s front wheel.
Rule 167 of the Highway Code states ‘DO NOT overtake where you might come into conflict with other road users’. This includes ‘approaching or at a road junction on either side of the road’. Further this rule explicitly states that you should ‘stay behind if you are following a cyclist approaching a roundabout or junction, and you intend to turn left’.
I caught up with the driver at the Hotel and asked him, politely, if he was aware of the Highway Code’s rules concerning overtaking. He said I was being sarcastic. I told him that by overtaking too close to a junction he had carved me up. His response was ‘How can I carve you up, you’re on a bike’. This is the kind of attitude that saw Sir Bradley Wiggins knocked from his bicycle. Given that it is perfectly possible for cyclists to do 40mph+ and that almost any cyclist is capable of doing 20mph it is perfectly possible to carve up a cyclist and it is also highly dangerous. Whatever your driver’s personal feelings towards cyclists he needs to stay within the law and the Highway Code and he needs to respect other road users.
I asked the driver for a card or an ID number. He refused and made to drive off. His parting words to me were ‘At least I’m not as ugly as you’. I would suggest to you that an eye test might be of use to him.
I spoke to your customer who gave me the firm’s telephone number from a card the driver had given him. The fare had come from Exeter St David’s Station. The plate included the figures ‘BJ10’. The driver was elderly, white and male. From this information, the time and location you should be able to identify your driver.
What action you take is your own business. I have copied in Exeter’s MP, who cycles around Exeter himself. Rest assured I will never give you any custom again nor will I recommend [company name] to anyone. I refuse to give money to a business whose drivers have so little regard for other road users. And I would also feel completely unsafe in a vehicle with a driver who is so blatantly disrespectful towards women.