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"Sexist, dangerous and misogynistic": Cyclist says she was "verbally abused" by bus driver who made weight comments

"He was shouting at me out of his window, verbally abusing me and making me feel incredibly unsafe and uncomfortable"...

A London bus driver allegedly verbally abused a cyclist, dangerously overtook her, ran a red light and beeped their horn before making comments about the rider's weight.

That is the account of reader Phoebe Perry who says the driver left her feeling "incredibly unsafe and uncomfortable" during the incident near Elephant and Castle on Walworth Road in London on Friday morning.

The rider has put an official complaint in to Arriva, the bus company who operates on the route, as well as contacting Transport for London and the police. On contacting Arriva's head office Phoebe says her concern was "shrugged off" and she was sent to TfL who then in turn sent her back to Arriva but were "completely unbothered".

Explaining how the incident unfolded, Phoebe was on her way into Central London when the off-service bus driver pulled into a cycle box at a red light.

"I then mentioned to my partner that it was a funny-looking bike," she recalled. "The traffic lights changed, so we cycled forward. There was a car parked in the cycle lane, but as we moved out the bus driver then dangerously overtook us." 

A couple of traffic lights later, the bus driver "speeding up and running" one red "to stay behind me", now once again stopped behind Phoebe and "beeped his horn at me".

"I turned around to ask him what his problem was, and said that he was the one driving dangerously," she said. "He then went on to tell me it was a 20 zone, so he won't overtake me, so I could stop 'riding like an idiot'.

"After I told him to leave me alone, he then called me a 'f****** elephant on a bike' and told me 'I needed to lose some f****** weight'. He was shouting at me out of his window, verbally abusing me and making me feel incredible unsafe and uncomfortable.

London Bus roundel (licensed CC BY-SA 3.0 by Tom Page on Flickr)

"The behaviour was sexist, dangerous and misogynistic. I want a copy of the video footage recorded on this journey, and I want a full report on this incident. It is unbelievable to have to put up with this abuse as a woman just riding her bike." contacted Arriva and was told "we have not received a complaint" and encouraged the cyclist to do so in order for "further details" to be taken and investigated. has seen an earlier email sent by Arriva's customer service department telling Phoebe "the London region is under TfL" control and providing TfL contact details as well as an Arriva London phone number.

"Not even an apology, nor an email address. Just TfL's phone number," Phoebe explained. "When I emailed Arriva head office they shrugged it off, and tried to send me to TfL as they said they don't control this area and TfL have the area authority.

"I was sent in circles, spoke to the bus garage and they sent me back to TfL. 
TfL sent me to Arriva. Both companies are aware and so are the police."

Earlier this week, TfL told it would be "supporting" Arriva as the bus company investigates a driver's actions seen in our Near Miss of the Day series. TfL's head of bus operations Rosie Trew said: "We expect the highest standards from bus drivers and will not tolerate any driving that endangers cyclists or pedestrians".

That incident was similar to another video shared by us, back in February, which led to a cyclist speaking out about "bullyish" bus driving

Near Miss of the Day 851 - Bus driver squeezes cyclist into kerb (Lauren O'Brien)

In October a Go-Ahead London employee lost an appeal over his sacking after being found to have "used [his] bus as a weapon" against a cyclist, pushing a rider towards the kerb after they left a cycle lane and took primary position.

The incident was described as "atrocious" by a witness who saw the driver stop his bus to deliberately block a cyclist who was forced to bunnyhop onto a kerb to avoid a collision.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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srchar | 1 year ago

I've also had several bad experiences with London bus drivers. After one particularly bad close-pass/brake test incident, I followed the bus into the depot to have a polite word with the driver. Over stormed his boss, with all the usual ignorant guff, "he thinks he's in the Tour de France", "buses always have right of way" etc. I told them that, as they were unable to have an adult discussion, I'd just report them on the website. After that, they were my best mates, calling me "Sir", with the boss saying he'd put the driver on a training course. It was as pathetic as it was infuriating.

hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

Arriva and the driver need to have a good look at themselves as to why they think this kind of behaviour is acceptable. I'm pretty sure that behaviour would fail a driving test, so it's well below minimum driving standards and the police should step in and take action against them.

wtjs replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago

the police should step in and take action against them

Maybe they should, but they're not going to!

the little onion | 1 year ago

Request the CCTV from inside the bus?


Sorry you had to experience that

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