One in ten complaints about the behaviour of bus drivers in London are related to incidents involving cyclists, according to information obtained by the Evening Standard. The news comesas a road safety campaigner launches an appeal for footage of poor bus driving to be sent to a senior official at Transport for London (TfL).
A Freedom of Information request submitted by the Standard to TfL found that cyclists were involved in 25 of around 250 incidents that were the subject of complaints made by the public during a two-week period last August.
In one of those, a number 45 bus hit a cyclist because the driver was apparently distracted by a female pedestrian, with the complainant saying: “He was concentrating on her so much that he didn’t see a cyclist and hit them.”
Another complaint recorded how a passenger saw the driver of a number 53 bus “overtake a cyclist causing her to be forced off the road and have to throw herself off the bike to ensure she did not get hit.”
However TfL said that the number of complaints received each year – between 4,000 and 5,000 – needed to be put into the context of the 2.4 billion passenger trips made by bus in the capital each year.
Director of buses Mike Weston said: “Passenger satisfaction is hugely important to TfL — in fact our organisational ethos is ‘every journey matters’.
“The statistics in question here must be considered in the context of the 2.4 billion bus journeys that are made each year across a bus network that comprises 8,700 buses, operating on around 700 bus routes and travelling more than 490 million kilometres in passenger service.”
A TfL spokeswoman added: “Any complaint about a bus driver would be logged and passed on the relevant bus operator. The bus operating company then deals with the driver according to their internal disciplinary procedures. We do not share the outcome of disciplinary procedures.”
The Standard says it had previously made Freedom of Information requests that covered a longer period, but TfL declined to answer them due to the amount of data involved.
Among other incidents logged during that two-week period in August were one in which a man crossing the road with his one-year-old son claimed a driver of a W13 bus went through a red traffic light.
Another related to the driver of a number 36 bus who was said to have “braked so harshly” at Hyde Park Corner that a pushchair, with a baby inside, was sent flying. When the mother asked him to be more careful, he is said to have replied: “This is how I always drive.”
The report follows the launch of an initiative by road safety campaigner Tom Kearney and the group Stop Killing Cyclists appealing for videos of poor driving by bus drivers in the capital to be uploaded to YouTube with the link emailed to TfL’s managing director of surface transport, Leon Daniels.
Mr Kearney, who tweets as @comadad, was left in a coma after he was hit by a bus on London’s Oxford Street shortly before Christmas 2009. A post published yesterday on his Safer Oxford Street blog outlines the #LondonBusWatch protest he has launched.
He developed the initiative after Mr Daniels rejected his suggestion that the TfL website should have a tab where people could upload footage of poor bus driving to enable such incidents to be investigated.
He said: “Instead of waiting around for TfL to do nothing, with the support of Stop Killing Cyclists, I am organising a Direct Protest Action called #LondonBusWatch. Anyone with video footage of a TfL bus 'behaving badly' should upload it on You Tube and email the link and a brief report directly Leon Daniels (LeonDaniels [at] tfl.gov.uk) with a copy to me (comadad1812 [at] gmail.com) and Stop Killing Cyclists (contact [at] stopkillingcyclists.org).”
Mr Kearney added: “With 1.5 KSIs per day being created from collisions involving TfL Buses, it's time we showed TfL Management how its buses are really behaving on London's roads. And, with #LondonBusWatch, we can tell TfL Management it's time to make Bus Safety a priority.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.