I cycle that road every day and the vast majority of the time I don't have any issues. Most drivers keep a distance, which is important here, as I need to slow to enter the cycling lane at the end. This particular lane is a famous one, often filled with mud and standing water, and was one of my entries for the #glasgowcyclenfraday. On this particular occasion it wasn't too muddy, but there was a film of muck and some deep standing water, so I have to reduce speed before entering it. Thus, this is not a good place to have a car close to your back wheel. Not that there is a good place for that of course.
Anyway, I decided to write to the company, Kitchen Bathroom Designs. This is what I wrote:
Dear Sir/madam,I have not received a reply to this letter at the time of writing this post.
I am unfortunately writing to you with regards to the driving of one of your livered vehicles on the 10th March at approximately 8:30am.
I cycle to work, and as part of that journey travel down Balshagray Avenue before turning off using a designated cycle lane onto Balshagray Drive. On this particular occasion I noticed a white car attempting to overtake me on approach to a traffic queue. I signalled with a palm facing back gesture that there was no room for the overtake. At this point the lady driver slowed down and pulled to a stop behind me.
I pointed out, in a friendly manner, that there was no room for the overtake. The lady ignored me and only yawned.
Upon setting off once the lights had changed the driver, instead of giving me ample rear clearance, started driving closer to me, well within the suggested minimum of 2 seconds. At this point I signalled further for the driver to pull back, at which point the driver got closer and for some reason put her hazard lights on. I felt literally ran off the road, and was understandably furious.
Having faced driving of a similar nature in the past I wear a helmet camera and have a rear camera on my bike. Therefore, I have footage of the incident which can be viewed here ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jen687tXBxA).
I would be interested to know why the lady driver felt the need to drive with this proximity to my rear wheel. Does she understand how driving in that way is not only intimidating, but particularly dangerous? Why did she put her hazard lights on?
I would also be interested to know what action you as a company will be taking to ensure that there will be no incidents of this nature in the future.
I look forward to your reply.
Dr David Brennan
Unknown to me, another person (let's call him Joe) who viewed my video decided to e-mail the company. After the company had responded to him he decided to contact me via my blog contact page to inform me of the correspondence. This was his original message to the company:
I was appalled at the dangerous driving from one of your drivers (see https://youtu.be/Jen687tXBxA). This has certainly changed my mind about where I will be buying my new kitchen.Was Joe a genuine potential customer of Kitchen Bathroom Designs? I don't know, but the message certainly elicited a response from the company. This was their response:
Sorry you feel that way Joe.
We did nothing wrong the cyclist was cycling in the middle of the very busy lane in morning rush hour not allowing us to overtake and holding up lots if drivers behind us. A very selfish cyclist out to proof points.
The cyclist has lots if the same videos cycling in the middle of the road upsetting lots of drivers. The police should have a word with him, as much as everyone wants a safe journey to work he is not showing any respect to other road users by cycling in the middle of the road as all his videos all show clearly.
This was an interesting reply, especially considering what had preceded this incident. Watch this video which shows footage from the few minutes leading up to our interaction. Was I holding drivers up? (Apologies for the typo in the video)
Before contacting me Joe replied to Kitchen Bathroom Designs. This was his reply:
I'm sorry you feel that way sales@kitchenbathroomdesigns and am quite franky disgusted by the tone and ignorance shown in your email, which gives the impression that you have a complete disregard for your fellow human beings.
The cyclist in question was following the government guidance which can be found by a simple google search at the link below. The police should have a word with your driver for dangerous driving. As this person is driving one of your liveried vehicles and is therefore representing your company, you may wish to suggest that they try reading and following the guidance in the highway code as is required under the conditions of thier licence.
I look forward to purchasing a kitchen from one of your competitors in the near future.
Kitchen Bathroom Designs (I'd like to use a name, but none was provided) responded thus:
Yes we checked out this cyclist he has hundreds of u tube videos all with the same complaint. All in the same area. Upsetting road tax paying motorists. He clearly wants to command the road and shows no respect for other road users.
Good luck with your new kitchen.
At this point Joe contacted me.
I was shocked by this response. So I decided to write an e-mail to them about this:
I wrote to you last week with regards to the driving standard of someone driving one of your livered vehicles. I have yet to hear back. However, someone else contacted you about the driving they saw in the video and they forwarded me on your responses. Please see these below.
I write a blog about road safety with specific focus on cycling safety which you can find here (http://www.magnatom.net/). I feel your response is definitely worth publishing. I would however, like to allow you a chance to respond directly to me before I publish my blog on this particular incident and your response to the other gentleman. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could reply to my original e-mail and perhaps comment on the thread below so that I can include that in my blog. I plan to publish this blog either tomorrow evening or Wednesday evening.
I received no response. So on Wednesday lunchtime, I decided to send a quick chaser e-mail:
Just a last wee reminder I was planning to blog about this incident and your response below. If you have any issues with me doing this or if you wish to add any comment please send them to me by the end of this afternoon.
I received the following e-mail, which might explain my slightly different writing style to normal....:
Yes we do Dr David Brennan have an issue with you publishing an email sent out to your friend and posting out your videos online and internet bullying.
We are currently speaking to our company solicitor about a claim for loss of business and company damage as we have received emails from potential customers stating so.
So let me clarify the situation. I am (allegedly) internet bullying the company by posting a video of what happened in a public place and for asking the company to respond to my complaint. That is all I have done up until now. This blog itself serves as a record of that incident, and of the correspondence that the company had (and does not deny having) with a concerned member of public. That member of the public decided that I should know about this, and I have decided that, due to the attitude shown, to share that with you, via my blog.
I strongly believe that this information is in the public interest. I believe we all need to know about companies who think cyclists DON'T have a right to choose their road position and DON'T have any rights to a decent amount of road space behind them as a safety buffer, as I think is demonstrated by the driving.
I am very sorry to hear that the company might be losing business. That is a shame, as I am sure there are decent employees within the company and I don't want them to suffer. However, in my opinion (and for clarity, I think this is a very reasonable opinion) I think it is very important to highlight attitudes to road safety that appear to depend on the 'Road Tax' paying status of those who are deemed to be in the way.
As for 'Road Tax', well, we all know that doesn't actually exist. However, vehicle excise duty (VED) certainly does. What I found particularly interesting was that whilst at least one staff member of Kitchen Bathroom Designs thinks that I am upsetting VED (let's assume by road tax, they mean VED) paying motorists, it would seem that this does not apply to them when driving this particular vehicle, at least not according to the governments own VED checking website.....
This was correct as of 19th March 2015.