Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When Professional Drivers Don't Know The Rules Of The Road

Below the jump I have transcribed my account of verbal harassment by an armored car operator on my way to work today, which was e-mailed to the company Garda. The parent company has since replied by phone and said they will be following up on the incident and disciplinary action may be taken. My wife Meghan was harassed by a UPS driver a few months ago, a driver who actually clipped her pannier bag by passing too close after making other aggressive moves and tailgating. That driver was fired.

Getting our legal system to care about cyclists being harassed may be difficult at times, but private companies, that's another ball game. They care about their reputation, and see their vehicles as moving branding for their company. I would like to encourage cyclists to report harassment by professional drivers. I want professional drivers to take note, if you harass cyclists, you are putting your job in jeopardy.

Jan 11th around 10am, in front of the Water Gardens office complex in Santa Monica, an employee began harassing me. I did not get his name as he took off walking without wanting to talk face to face, and I did not want to peruse further and create a confrontation. I was riding my bicycle to work as I do everyday, I am a daily bike commuter in Santa Monica. I was surprised because usually road rage drivers only lash out when they are driving, but the armored car he was departing was already sitting in park in the center turn lane.  I pulled off the road to say I had a right to the road, per CA Vehicle Code 21200. He responded by continuing to shout get off the road, get out of the way, and walked very quickly before I could get very close and refused to make eye contact.

I took a photo of the vehicle it was license plate 8H70519. It appeared a driver was still in the car, so the belligerent employee, who was an overweight white male with balding hair, must have been the drivers partner. I was extremely dismayed someone in a professional position, one charged with protecting cash shipments, would intentionally shout at and provoke random individuals on the street. Additionally such ignorance of the laws governing the road from someone I presume to be in a professional driving position is alarming to me.

I hope such behavior is not indicative of your staff, such behavior and rage could turn tragic in an actual driving situation, and could expose your company to liability. I hope this matter will be taken seriously. I will be writing about this incident on my popular local cycling blog Gary Rides Bikes, with photos of the truck and it's license plate, I unfortunately did not get my camera out in time to capture the employee who began yelling at me.


Anonymous said...

Good work. If no one bothers to write a letter to the company, the jerks will just keep on assaulting bicyclists.

I think the root problem, though, is education. People just don't realize that bicyclists have rights. I bet a lot of folks are genuinely surprised to learn that a bicyclist can legally take an entire road lane. What, if anything, can we do about this?


Severin said...

Very upsetting! Sorry to hear about the experience. It may be education but some guys, usually guys, have an attitude that they won't respect bicyclists until they have a larger representation in travel... because bicycles are inferior, feminine modes of travel or something ignorant like that.

jericho1ne said...

I'm glad that UPS actually did something about their reckless employee. I had a similar situation in Westwood, where I was cut off by a rushed FedEx driver, and I felt extremely frustrated by the UCPD's reluctance to file a police report.