Unfortunately I am writing to you to report quite a serious incident that occurred with one of your bus drivers at approximately 17:30 on the 10th March 2014.
I cycle commute to work 5 days a week, and on occasion come across your buses on a particular stretch of Dumbarton Road in Whiteinch. On this particular occasion I was traveling east towards the Broomhill roundabout. I was cycling along at a good speed (17mph according to my GPS trace) when upon doing a rear observation I observe one of your coaches approaching me at speed and at close proximity. Seeing the coach approach in this way caused me alarm. Very late, the coach pulled out around me. Whilst the coach did give me a reasonable amount of lateral room, it did cut in very early causing me to brake. This was due to an oncoming vehicle. I reacted to the driving as I felt it was aggressive and dangerous.
I normally turn up Broomhill Drive, however, on this occasion I was delivering leaflets to a local cafe for a cycle safety campaign that I help to organise (http://pedalonparliament.org/). As a result I caught up with the bus and driver in Partick. At this point I asked the driver, "What was that for?". At no point during the following 'discussion' was I aggressive or abusive. However, your driver was incredibly abusive towards me, swearing loudly (and in front of members of the public) and making unsubstantiated claims about my cycling and reason for reacting to his aggressive driving.
As a cyclist of many years who has had the misfortune to have been subjected to some atrocious driving, I record my commutes on both a front facing (helmet mounted) camera and a rear (bike mounted) camera. Therefore, the whole incident and the following discussion are captured on video. The video can be found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oB8onHtbY8k).
The driver makes a number of accusations. He accuses me of deliberately swerving in front of his bus (the video footage clearly demonstrates that the only way I swerved was away from his bus). He claims that I 'do this for a living', i.e. implying that I intentionally entrap drivers by cycling in a manner that 'forces them' to drive poorly. He also suggests that this is the third time that I have 'done this to him', again implying that it is I that is in the wrong and that I am doing it intentionally.
It just so happens that I have had at least one incident with an Avondale bus in the past (and it may have been this driver), when the bus was tailgating me with a time gap of 0.3 seconds. Again I have the footage here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNsRomEAZp8) This footage was from the morning of the 29th January 2014. I am sure you will agree that a bus driver should give a cyclist significantly more of a gap than 0.3 seconds.
Not only was this drivers driving of a low standard, his attitude towards me as a cyclist was appalling. His comments about my road position 'I should be on the left' are completely incorrect (http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/cycletraining/article/ct20110110-cycletraining-Bitesize-Bikeability--Part-4--On-Road-Positioning-0). It is very concerning that a bus driver would be so misinformed of the needs of another road user. His suggestion that I swerved out was completely wrong (as were the witnesses, who would have been seated further back in the bus). I was particularly concerned about that fact he pointed out he knew me and he knew about my filming and posting online. Despite this, and the despite the fact that he knew his driving would be filmed, he decided to drive in this way, and to react towards me the way he did. The fact that I have reacted to his driving in the past should have suggested to this driver that it was in his interests to drive more carefully around me, not more aggressively.
I would request that you investigate this incident please. I would be very concerned if this driver was to continue to drive with the attitude that he displayed on this occasion. Personally I am concerned that this driver will now be looking out for me as he obviously has a problem with the fact that I ride with my own safety in mind and that I don't accept that his driving is acceptable.
Please keep me informed about the progress of your investigation, and the of the outcome.
Sunday, 16 March 2014
Avondale Complaint Letter
The following is a copy of a letter I have just sent to Avondale Coaches. I will keep you informed of any replies I receive.