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Insult thrown shortly after driver had cut in on cyclist – who caught incident on film - on Croydon High Street

Transport for London (TfL) has apologised to a cyclist after a female bus driver called him a “knob,” with the incident recorded on the rider’s helmet camera.

The incident, involving a number 119 bus operated by Metroland, took place on Katharine Street, Croydon, a little after 2pm on Saturday 12th April.

Footage uploaded to YouTube by user 4ChordsNoNet shows that the bus had cut in on him shortly beforehand on Croydon High Street.

Catching up with the bus, he stopped alongside the driver and asked: “Why did you overtake me there?”

The female driver replied: “I could get past you easy.”

“You were that close to me,” said the cyclist as he rode off.

As he did so, the driver shouted after him: “You know when you nearly killed the old bloke at the Swan & Sugar Loaf [a former pub in South Croydon – ed]? You knob.”

On the video, 4ChordsNoNet adds: “She knows that she’s being filmed, she’s in a liveried vehicle, yet she still decides to ‘have a go’ at me.”

In the ‘About’ section of the video’s page on YouTube, he says:

I contacted both TfL and the bus company direct with regard to this incident. The Depot manager came back the same day and confirmed that this standard falls far below what is expected of their drivers and that he would be speaking to the driver in question.

I am happy with this and have edited the video, blurring out the driver's face. The original video is now unlisted and will be deleted when I have heard back from TfL.

That reply from TfL read:

Thank you for your email of 15 April 2014 about a bus driver on route 119. I understand how you must have felt after this experience and appreciate your concern. Please accept my apologies.

The safety of our passengers and other road users is of paramount importance to us. It is essential that London's bus drivers promote a positive image of London Buses, as well as operating their bus safely and competently.

London's bus drivers receive comprehensive training which includes Customer Services and poor driving standards are unacceptable. In the instance you described, it would appear those training were not put into use. I have made Metrobus aware of your complaint and can assure you appropriate action will be taken.

I hope this incident does not change confidence in us and high standard you have always held our service. We work hard to maintain high standards and are confident the vast majority of London bus drivers do an excellent job. Passenger feedback is extremely valuable and I am grateful to you for bringing this to our attention.

In a reply to a comment to the video, 4ChordsNoNet said: “I've emailed the same depot before when I complimented one of their drivers on his exemplary driving, and I believe that they will take this incident seriously.

“I imagine that the depot manager will give them a right royal bollocking.”

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

53 comments

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Chuck [546 posts] 2 years ago
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So what was with the Swan and Sugar Loaf stuff?

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ct [165 posts] 2 years ago
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It appears to now be a Tesco...maybe that is what she is so angry about....that it has killed local shops for local people?

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Wolfshade [187 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow, if you change the references to London to another 'bus company then it would be almost identical to all teh complaints I have raised....

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4ChordsNoNet [13 posts] 2 years ago
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I've no idea what she was on about. I've looked through the local papers to see if there's been a cyclist/pedestrian incident there recently, but couldn't find anything.

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OldRidgeback [2620 posts] 2 years ago
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Typical close pass by an idiot driver who doesn't understand there was no need for the overtake in the first place anyway as the vehicle will be held up at a traffic queue at the next set of lights. It is a good example of how so many drivers cannot comprehend that driving faster in busy cities will not get them where they want to go any quicker.

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BrokenBootneck [130 posts] 2 years ago
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The pass isn't that bad in the way it starts, as in this one and where I find the most problems, is that as soon as the front goes past you they dive back in at a sharper than needed angle, and as demonstrated in this video the middle to back end of the bus nearly kills you.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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The cyclist isn't blameless here. Ok, the driver made a mistake, but to deliberately carry on riding between the bus and the kerb, rather than just scrubbing off some speed, does indeed make the rider look like a knob, and a pretty dangerous knob at that.

Guys, this is the second "cyclist vs bus" vid you've highlighted recently, where the cyclist has exacerbated the conflict by continuing to cycle level with the bus as the space becomes ever narrower. It doesn't really help our cause to provide media exposure to people who seem keen to escalate a driver's error in this way.

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Scoob_84 [381 posts] 2 years ago
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I've had two busses do this to me but then decide to pull into a bus stop as I'm along side them. Generally I find bus drivers to be quite good considering how big their vehicles are, but there are a few bad eggs out there that have got through the net.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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The cyclist isn't blameless here. Ok, the driver made a mistake, but to deliberately carry on riding between the bus and the kerb, rather than just scrubbing off some speed, does indeed make the rider look like a knob, and a pretty dangerous knob at that, a fact backed up in his video, which shows him using the full width of the road on a bend without checking behind, a failure to execise caution when passing a stationary high sided vehicle, and an extremely close pass with a pedestrian. Maybe the bus driver did indeed witness similar behaviour.

Guys, this is the second "cyclist vs bus" vid you've highlighted recently, where the cyclist has exacerbated the conflict by continuing to cycle level with the bus as the space becomes ever narrower. It doesn't really help our cause to provide media exposure to people who seem keen to escalate a driver's error in this way.

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harman_mogul [226 posts] 2 years ago
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'Knob' is an apt description of many a London cyclist.

I have every sympathy for London bus drivers (perhaps not this one)!

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NeilXDavis [122 posts] 2 years ago
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Doesnt look that bad to me...as mentioned why not take some speed off as the bus passes, I would....the initial pass distance is fine.

Share the road...

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Scoob_84 [381 posts] 2 years ago
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So might is right? If a big vehicle tries to pass you where there isn't enough space, drop back and slow down? f**k that

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md6 [181 posts] 2 years ago
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NeilXDavis wrote:

Doesnt look that bad to me...as mentioned why not take some speed off as the bus passes, I would....the initial pass distance is fine.

Share the road...

I don't think its the initial distance that's the problem, its that the bus then cuts in before it completes the pass. London busses do regularly (at least in my experience) do this regularly, its almost as if the driver forgets the bus is rather long. I don't back off or slow when a vehicle passes (doesn't the highway code indicate that when being overtaken maintain your course and speed or some such?) but if it pulls in on me then i sure as hell do - there's no point being squashed, but if the driver is actually any good then there is no need to slow just because they are passing you.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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NeilXDavis wrote:

Doesnt look that bad to me...as mentioned why not take some speed off as the bus passes, I would....the initial pass distance is fine.

Share the road...

I thought I was alone in being unable to see "a close pass" in that video. The bus only began pulling back in when the front of it was well past the cyclist. At that point the bus was clearly the lead vehicle and it was the cyclist's responsibility to moderate his speed to avoid a collision.

Cyclists do not have a mandated right to cycle at maximum speed at all times and any other vehicle that hinders them from doing so (even momentarily) is invariably *wrong*.

I think the 'helmetcam warrior' in this video, and in many of the other 600-odd videos he has posted on Youtube, is an angry and aggressive cyclist. He needs to learn some road manners and consideration for other road users.

I have to apply my brakes, when I would prefer not to, on almost every ride I make due to the less-than-perfect driving of others. It's not a big deal. I don't get angry, I don't scream "Oi", I don't race after the the driver in order to confront them and I don't record the incident or post it on Youtube. As the previous poster says "Share the road".

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IanW1968 [271 posts] 2 years ago
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There may be circumstances when we(road users) have to take evasive action because drivers are dangerous and/or incompetent but it shouldnt be the expectation.

Usual victim blaming from the haulage association rep.

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IanW1968 [271 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole- are seriously suggesting only the cab needs to pass whatevers being overtaken?

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4ChordsNoNet [13 posts] 2 years ago
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I did scrub off some speed as the bus past me, and was ready to slam on the anchors or jump ship if things got too bad. As others have said, just because the bus is much bigger than me doesn't mean it can bully its way past.

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Yorkshie Whippet [530 posts] 2 years ago
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Why should cyclist have to scrub off speed if there was enough room to complete the overtake without causing the other road user to swerve or brake? If they have to swerve or brake, then the overtake was not a safe one.

Strange, if this was done on the motorist it would be called "cutting someone up" or some cases "crash for cash". Resulting in cameras being fitted to vehicles to prove the who was not at fault. If it's done on a cyclist it's the cyclist at fault in some peoples eyes.

Hmm, look forward to cutting a HGV up on the motorway and after the crash claiming that he should have slowed down to avoid me. NOT!

Come on cyclists join me in riding down the middle of the road so that no-one can endanger our lives. Instead of this considerate riding through the glass and gravel in the gutter whilst trying not to hold traffic up. Let us show the buses, the hgvs, the reps..... that their time is worth less than our lives and we don't care if they are late as long as we are alive. As long as you are wearing a helmet, day-glo and reflectives and have 20 million candle power lights, they can not touch you. Together we can slow the country down and stop the senseless killing.

Oh dear the drugs have worn off!  35

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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@4chordsnonet.
If you say you were ready to brake, you clearly took the decision not to brake, so exacerbating the conflict. Maybe the driver made a mistake, but once the bus driver has committed to overtake, why not just allow the bus to quickly pass and just accept the loss of a few seconds added to your journey.

I don't know you, but many of your videos reveal a lack of observation, innapropriate speed, poor anticipation, and an apparent enthusiasm to up the ante; which doesn't really help the situation we face as cyclists.

Helmet cams can be a good thing, so maybe you could do some vids that demonstrate your skill in defensive riding, which some of you guys are posting already and are both helpful and enjoyable to watch.

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Edgeley [352 posts] 2 years ago
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Only time I have ever thought someone was deliberately trying to kill me was a bus in South London. Deliberately squeezed me into railings.

It is entirely good for bus drivers to think they are being filmed.

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kobacom [98 posts] 2 years ago
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I ride in London pretty much every day and I've lost count of the number of time this has happened to me. I have this theory that bus drivers think you become stationary as soon as they pass you, therefore it's ok to cut in straight away.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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IanW1968 wrote:

Joeinpoole- are seriously suggesting only the cab needs to pass whatevers being overtaken?

I'm saying that once the bus is clearly in front of you then, if you have any common sense, you should ride defensively and concede a little speed if necessary to ensure the overtaking manoeuvre is completed as quickly as practical.

All the time you are alongside the bus you are in a highly vulnerable position and may also be in the driver's 'blind spot'. What if the bus suddenly swerves left for example, perhaps to avoid a pedestrian or a child?

Sure, you *can* fight with the bus and demand your *right* to maintain your speed for as long as possible. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong then the cyclist will most definitely be the loser in any subsequent collision. At least you'll be able to have "I was in the right" engraved on your headstone.

I really don't understand why our 'helmetcam warrior' is so angry all the time. Whenever I'm cycling I'm always in a good and generous mood. It's the exhilaration of the ride and the endorphins from the exercise that invariably put a smile on my face. So what if I have to slow down a little occasionally? That just means that I'll get a bit more exercise when I accelerate back up to speed again. Good!

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zanf [836 posts] 2 years ago
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kobacom wrote:

I ride in London pretty much every day and I've lost count of the number of time this has happened to me. I have this theory that bus drivers think you become stationary as soon as they pass you, therefore it's ok to cut in straight away.

Whenever I ride to my girlfriends, I'll cross on Waterloo Bridge and will always get cab drivers cutting from the right hand lane to the left in a dangerous manner. It's always the case that there is no reason for them to either leave the right hand lane, nor to cut so violently into my path, but it always happens.

When I've caught up with them at the junction of the Strand and asked why they did it, they look at me blankly with absolutely no recollection of what they just did before exploding into expletive and derisory comments.

I just see it that the vast majority of people who use the roads are complete fucking idiots.

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Evo Lucas [22 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

....where the cyclist has exacerbated the conflict by continuing to cycle level with the bus as the space becomes ever narrower.

When is a bus actually past you?

http://youtu.be/HggeqzUXd3A

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David Portland [83 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

I'm saying that once the bus is clearly in front of you then, if you have any common sense, you should ride defensively and concede a little speed if necessary to ensure the overtaking manoeuvre is completed as quickly as practical.

Surely "clearly in front" is exactly what it says -- the whole bus, in front. Rather than "mostly alongside". If the bus driver can't pass something, anything, without having to pull back in while the something is still alongside, then they shouldn't have passed there.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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Evo Lucas wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

....where the cyclist has exacerbated the conflict by continuing to cycle level with the bus as the space becomes ever narrower.

When is a bus actually past you?

http://youtu.be/HggeqzUXd3A

That's clearly a far more extreme example of bad driving __ which the bus driver conceded and apologised for.

I thought you rode well there though, good anticipation and always in control of your bike. You also handled the situation much better than the ranting "Oi!" merchant of the subject video.

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ChairRDRF [308 posts] 2 years ago
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I note a long debate here about exactly what the cyclist should or should not have been doing. However. the central issue is that the bus driver has not driven in the way a professional in charge of a massive vehicle on London streets should conduct themselves - not least the verbal abuse given. That's why an official apology has been given.

What interests me is that this is highly unlikely to be the only time this happens - the vast majority of cyclists do not have helmet cameras, after all.

The first need is for better training and disciplining of bus drivers, as well as a close look at the regime governing health and safety with regard to buses in London. Do take a look at Tom Kearney's web site here - it is mainly about Oxford Street but also buses in London as a whole.

For the record, I reckon London bus drivers are far better than the average motorist - but they are in charge f a massive vehicle with massive lethal potential, so need appropriate regulation.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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Evo Lucas wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

....where the cyclist has exacerbated the conflict by continuing to cycle level with the bus as the space becomes ever narrower.

When is a bus actually past you?

http://youtu.be/HggeqzUXd3A

I watched your vid, Evo. Yes, the bus driver was in the wrong, but I'm curious about why you, just like the other cyclist, seemed keen to ride at the same speed as the bus, preventing it from pulling back in.

I mean, what purpose does it serve?

And to be honest, maybe you should also ask yourself why you cycle so close to vehicles in front of you, why you fail to position yourself correctly when passing a stationary high sided vehicle, why you fail to stop at an amber light when your vid clearly shows that your brakes were good enough, why you fail to look behind you, and why you force a bus to come to an emergency stop in a postion that could present a hazard to other road users. Do you watch your own vids? Do you recognise the errors that I'm pointing out? I fear you don't, because you're trying to defend another errant cyclist, with a vid that shows you to be lacking a fair amount of care too.

Evo, you guys do a great job with your helmet cams, and catch some seriously dangerous driving, which has to be good news and I respect you for that, but maybe you could ride a little more defensively, so that at least some of these incidents can be avoided in the first place.

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sim1515 [141 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

... maybe you could ride a little more defensively, so that at least some of these incidents can be avoided in the first place.

Riding defensively doesn't avoid these incidents, it decreases the risk of the cyclist getting hurt in them. To avoid them, drivers should not pass if they cannot pull out and back in without the vehicle (in this case the cyclist) having to brake.

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Evo Lucas [22 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

.... seemed keen to ride at the same speed as the bus, preventing it from pulling back in... ...also why you cycle so close to vehicles in front of you, why you fail to position yourself correctly when passing a stationary high sided vehicle, why you fail to stop at an amber light when your vid clearly shows that your brakes were good enough, why you fail to look behind you, and why you force a bus to come to an emergency stop in a postion that could present a hazard to other road users.

Do you recognise the errors that I'm pointing out?.

Are you serious?

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