I am a person on a bike and I need some space
This morning I had the most amazing cycle ride from Peckham to Mile End. It was raining but I had a grin from ear to ear. Drivers and pedestrians alike greeted me with patience and goodwill. Cars and vans gave me space, waited before turning left, held back at junctions. It was wonderful.
Sadly on my return home this afternoon the magic faded as I neared my house. Just a couple of streets away from home I got forced off my bike by a courier van too impatient to allow me to pass through a narrowed part of the road.
The van was from Rowsy International and after tweeting about it I was encouraged by other people that ride bikes to let the couriers know how this incident had made me feel. This is the email I have sent them:
Thank you for asking Imran to pass on your email so I can submit this feedback direct to you.
As I said on the phone to Imran I am not complaining to get anyone in trouble, I just want to explain how the actions of the driver have affected me.
I was cycling up Peckham Rye in heavy rain about 1.30pm this afternoon when I reached a point in the road that is narrow due to a pedestrian traffic island. At this point I was aware a large white transit van was coming up at speed behind me. I turned and used a simple and polite hand gesture to request some space to get past the island - the road surface is very poor close to the pavement there.
The driver did not give me space but rather sped up and came so close to me that I came off my bike in my attempts to avoid the van. Whilst the van did not hit me his actions seriously compromised my safety and really scared me.
I wish for the driver to understand that his actions could have had serious consequences. A few moments gain in his journey could result in injury or even loss of life for me. Chiara Giacomini died only last week in a similar situation to mine today. It is very easy to forget when in a car or van or lorry how vulnerable a cyclist is.
I understand that your drivers have schedules to keep but please can you let them know that their actions on the road are far reaching. They must give cyclists space when passing. Failure to do so in this case gave me a fright and a bruise from falling awkwardly off my bike. In other circumstances it could result in serious injury or even death of the person on the bike.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to my call and I hope that you can pass on my comments appropriately.
The company respond
By the next morning I had a phone call from the head of HR and an email, copied below. I am pleased with the way Rowse International have taken my comments with seriousness and acknowledged the issues in question. If they do as they say and talk to both their own drivers and the ones they contract through agencies, then I feel this is a positive action with a positive outcome.
Good morning to you and many thanks for bringing this incident to our attention.
I do hope you are well. I called to see how you are and left a message on your phone.
We will like to apologise for the incident and most especially for putting you in such a situation. It is definitely a time when the country is raising great road safety awareness for all road users and we at Rowsy, had always make safety our priority . Most especially our drivers has a duty of customer care as they represent us wherever they go.
This particular driver, was a temp driver and yesterday happened to be his first time with us, I have spoken to the provider, the Agency, and also forwarded your email to them to have a meeting with him, this they have promised to do. We have had our drivers go out every day for almost 10 years, such an incident had never happened and this is the first time such a feedback had come to us.
We will continue to educate our drivers on safety and care for other road users.
Once again, thank you for letting us know and we wish you safe journey always.