This morning I was walking along Chaucer Road towards Beechen Cliff and observed a mini-bus driver overtake a Beechen Cliff Pupil riding his bike to school. Chaucer Road is a typical Bath residential road with cars parked either side and about 3m of width between. The driver chose to pass the kid at less than 0.5m.
I lost my cool. Stopped the driver, told him in no uncertain terms that that was a dangerous close pass and then called up his company to lodge a complaint.
I later had a call back from the company, where the manager initially apologised and then started to go into a story about how a cyclist up at the top of Wellsway didn’t ride properly across a roundabout. An 11 year old boy was placed in a phenomenally dangerous situation because a professional driver could not wait 10 seconds and his manager tries to use collective responsibility and blame “cyclists”.
W T F?
He did say he would have words with him.
This is where it gets interesting
I suggested that a better solution would be to ensure he gets Bikeability Level 3 training from the council so he understands how bad what he did was. The manager stated that he couldn’t ‘punish’ him that much as bus drivers are quite rare and he would leave to work for somebody else.
All professional drivers must have Bikeability training
The reality is, within a gig economy, we must ensure that the companies that hire these drivers take responsibility for their behaviour. Requiring companies to only be able to hire drivers that have had Bikeability Level 3 training would be a simple step in ensuring the safety of people choosing to cycle to school or work or the shops or just for fun.
I think, particularly taxi and bus companies need to ensure all their drivers have Bikeability training.
Bad driving should require a Bikeability Refresher Course
Let’s be real, there are economic and time pressures on drivers to deliver goods/people as quick as possible. Having to wait for an annoying cyclist can cost them money. However they should realise that the company they work for will put them on Bikeability Training if complaints are received about their driving around vulnerable road users. Evidence of the training should be published.
Driving is what they do
Professional drivers spend their lives on the road and should be held to a high standard. Ideally I’d like to see Bikeability Training as part of passing your driving test, but with a significant number of KSIs related to HGVs, maybe, just maybe, getting those drivers that spend all day on the road trained up as cyclists, we will save lives.
One more thing…
The school drop off at Beechen Cliff has to be seen to be believed and the reality is that closing Chaucer Road at Kipling Avenue to vehicular traffic using bollards would create a quieter, safer residential area and control the speeding traffic that piles along Chaucer on a regular basis. Each resident would still have 3 exits onto Wellsway. A modal filter cell here would have huge benefits to the community and to the safety of children.