Monday 12 May 2014

Incident on the Road this morning

I've just drafted this letter and emailed it off. Lets see what happens, eh? Names removed, of course...

Dear Sir,

I was in your shop this morning to complain about your driver on (x) Road. I'm copying Sergeant (x) in to this email because he's our local police sergeant, and a decent chap who I'm sure we both know, and although I don't think police involvement ought to be necessary here I'd like him to be aware.

To describe the incident, I was cycling Southbound on (x) Road towards the (y) Road junction at about 5 to 9 this morning. A van was rather too close behind me. The traffic was fairly heavy, and it was doubtful whether either of us would get thorough the lights. I felt rather intimidated by the closeness of the van behind, and I thought the driver revving his engine was needless and aggressive. I feared that he wouldn't stop at the first set of lights, it therefore not being safe to stop I went through at amber.

I stopped at the second set of lights - there is a short delay before the second one changes, but if the junction is busy its easy to be stopped by the second set and not the first. Shortly afterwards another cyclist stopped next to me, by the kerb. She anticipated the lights change rather better than I did and headed off a few moments earlier. I cycled on and remained in primary road position (about 1.8m from the kerb - appropriate to deter overtaking where there the road narrows due to a traffic island) to overtake the slower cyclist. I neither swerved out nor inwards, I maintained the same lane position.

The van driver behind, in your van, passed me while shouting a stream of abuse. This continued as he turned the corner to head to the back of your shop. So I turned in to (z) and went in to your shop to complain.

If you were there, will remember the rest of the conversation - after briefly appraising you of what happened the chap from the van came in and acted in a manner I'd call aggressive. His driving and his behaviour reflect badly on your business. You can't lean on someone yelling at them to step outside and expect that to be taken as anything other than a physical challenge.

I mainly talked to (y) in your shop - he (you?) remained calm and quite reasonable I thought, but the chap who drove the van was hostile. He really only backed off when got my phone out and said I'd call the police.

If you have security footage of the inside of your shop at this time I suggest that you review it, and if there is traffic camera footage of the (x)/(y) junction then feel free to request it - I promise that both sets of footage would 100% confirm my description of events. If you do have security camera footage in your store I'm certain that it will confirm his demeanor was unmistakably hostile.

I don't need to know the details of any disciplinary procedures against this gentleman but I do ask that you confirm that you have dealt with this. But I do expect an apology from the gentleman concerned. I'm local to your (z) store, in fact I'm a customer, I'll happily accept his verbal apology accompanied by a handshake.

I ask you to consider the reputational harm that will be caused if people driving your company vehicle act in this way towards cyclists. Around half of the people of this city cycle at least once a month - do you really want someone in your shop van acting that way towards us?

Thanks for your time,

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