Bad driving. From the annoying to the downright dangerous, it leaves us fuming helplessly at the roadside as the perpetrator disappears into the distance.

For many cyclists, bad driving is an annoyance that is not easy to challenge. But what happens if you do report a close call? Whom should you contact? And what is the best way to go about it? We look at incidents involving commercial vehicles.

With any complaint, detail is key. Take down the number plate, exact time, location and, if possible, a driver description. In instances where the vehicle is a commercial sign-written one, the CTC’s Chris Peck advises writing to the company; many, especially larger companies, have complaints and disciplinary procedures.

Remember, a polite, reasoned letter will be taken much more seriously than an incandescent rant.There has been a lot of bad press concerning lorries lately, some of which fail to comply with basic safety standards.

HGVs, buses and coaches are regulated by regional traffic commissioners, who have the power to suspend licences in cases of proven bad driving. If complaining to the company fails or the vehicle is unmarked, find your local traffic commissioner on the government’s website:

A collective voice is always stronger, and for most businesses there are few bigger incentives to take action than to avert a PR disaster. After taxi firm Addison Lee’s boss suggested in his company’s magazine in 2012 that cyclists were to blame for accidents, a ‘die-in’ was staged outside the firm’s London HQ.

Addison Lee has since improved its driver training, as marketing manager Alistair Laycock explained: “Addison Lee is the only cab company to have created a comprehensive 
taxi-specific cycle awareness training programme. We have also set up a dedicated email account [cyclesafety@addison] for cyclists to report dangerous driving incidents.”

Meanwhile, for bus operators, is the public transport campaign equivalent of crowd funding, where someone starts a campaign that others with the same complaint 
can join. FixMyTransport’s Myfanwy Nixon said: “When people band together visibly because the correspondence is published online, it is going to exert more pressure on the operator.

“As a cyclist, you would be able to say, ‘Look, it’s not just me who thinks your drivers are irresponsible; I have 54 people saying the same thing.’

“The original reporter might not think of taking their issue to a local councillor, 
for example, or might not have spotted that there’s a ‘meet the bus company manager’ event coming up, but other members of the campaign might.”

This article was first published in the December 12 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!

  • Marcus Gregory

    For any incidents of road rage, driving without due care and attention or any motorist, commercial or not, driving badly or behaving irrationally to cyclists out on the roads, just take the reg number, time, place and as much detail as possible and report it to the police on their non-emergency number…101.

    They take it pretty seriously when you give them a call and report an incident. If it warrants it, they’ll send a local bobby (in my case Met Police) out to see you to take a statement and take it from there. I’ve used it twice since living in London: once when an Addison Lee driver gave me a load of abuse for no reason and once when some chavs hit me with an apple from a moving car. On this occasion it was handed over to Essex Police who tracked the driver down and paid him a visit.

  • Ken Evans

    Central London is covered with CCTV cameras, everyday many incidents of bad driving will be seen by the police, yet everyday very little is done about it. On the other hand, some boroughs (such as Westminister) frequently use CCTV to give parking fines. One might come to the conclusion that money matters more than lives or health.