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"I've got a cyclist here!": Bus driver who tailgated cyclist tries calling the police for "getting on his nerves"

The bus driver tried to overtake the cyclist by speeding, and then on reaching a red light, got out of the bus to aggressively confront him

As a cyclist, being tailgated by the driver of any vehicle is bad – but when it's a bus driver, who tries to overtake by speeding, then gets out at a red light and not only seeks confrontation, but swears and threatens to call the cops just because you "got on his nerves", is surely worse, as a London cyclist tells us.

Rendel Harris was going down Herne Hill on his bike yesterday just before noon, when a driver behind the wheel of an out-of-service Go Ahead London bus started driving just "two to three metres behind" him, and tried to overtake twice, despite him already riding at the speed limit of 20mph.

Harris told road.cc: "He was behind me for about 800 metres, in which time I was never below the 20mph limit for the road (it's a steep hill). He twice pulled out to try and overtake in that time and had to pull back in due to oncoming traffic."

Based on some quick calculations, that would place the bus driver behind Harris for approximately 90 seconds.

He added: "The only other cyclist about was my wife but she was behind him so no issue, the traffic in front I caught up with near the bottom of the hill so being behind me did not slow the driver up for a single second!"

> "He has to wait, that's all there is to it": Jeremy Vine slams bus driver for near miss

As soon as both of them come to a halt at the red light at Herne Hill station, the driver screams while still seated in his seat: "I've got you, I've got you!" He proceeds to climb out of the bus hastily and rings up the emergency services, telling Harris: "You stand right here and shut up. I'm going to call the police you piece of s***."

"I'm a bus driver and I've got a cyclist here," the driver says on the phone. "I need police assistance right now." Presumably being asked what was the emergency situation, the bus driver can be heard saying: "He's really getting on my nerves."

Harris cheekily remarks: "Really getting on your nerves isn't a criminal offence buddy!"

Harris said that he could hear the police dispatcher ask: "Have they assaulted you?", to which the driver says: "No." The dispatcher asks again: "Have they threatened you?", and the driver replies: "Not yet."

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

Harris tries to ask him his name, but the driver walks away. Shortly after, he told road.cc that he climbed back in his bus and locked the doors, telling me that the police were coming.

"He didn't do anything, he very weirdly went and hid in his bus on the top deck, then every so often he would pop up and apparently take another photograph of us and then disappear again!," Harris said. "When we left I knocked on the door and shouted that we were leaving unless he could tell us the police were definitely coming, he didn't show his face!"

He also tweeted: "This person is clearly not sufficiently mentally stable to drive a large vehicle (or indeed any vehicle) on public roads," adding that he will send a formal complaint to Go Ahead London.

road.cc has contacted Go Ahead London for an update on the situation, and the private bus operator group told road.cc that it was "urgently investigating this footage and will interview the driver".

Harris, a road.cc reader and regular cyclist, meanwhile, added that he had been out for a 40km ride in London this morning and every bus driver he encountered was "lovely". "As with most things it's only a tiny minority," he said.

> Near Miss of the Day 855: Driver dangerously overtakes on the wrong side… is let off the hook by the police because she lives abroad

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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51 comments

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 7 months ago
21 likes

I've just received a response from GoAhead (bus operator), which I paste below for interest. The company deserves significant credit, in my opinion, for investigating this so quickly. Obviously I would ideally like to know what sanctions have been applied to the driver, but I don't think the amount of effort it would take, probably for no result, to try to force the company to disclose this would be worth it. At least they agree that the driver was in the wrong and he has faced disciplinary procedures. The fact that the company have reviewed the CCTV footage from the bus and that they have agreed that the driver's behaviour was a disciplinary matter might at least silence certain trolls who have attempted to accuse me of lying. I don't suppose it will, but one can hope. By the way thanks again to road.cc and Adwitiya for publicising this incident and pressurising GoAhead, which I'm sure contributed to them responding in such a timely fashion.

Dear Mr Harris,
I am writing in response to your complaint regarding a Go-Ahead London Commercial bus driver, on Saturday 3 September 2023, at approximately 11.20 a.m. Complaints of this nature are taken seriously, and I would like to apologise for any distress this situation may have caused you.
All drivers trained by Go-Ahead London undertake a comprehensive training programme with a very strong emphasis on both safety and customer care.  They are expected to operate their vehicles in a polite, friendly, and professional manner, consistent with maximum safety of and with due concern for passengers, cyclists and all other road users.  I am sorry you have had reason to report the contrary on this occasion.
Using the information provided, including the video you uploaded to X, previously known as Twitter, we have managed to identify and interview the member of staff responsible for your complaint. The management responsible for the operation of this service have viewed the CCTV footage from the vehicle in question and your footage from X; our driver did not carry out his duties to the standard expected by the Company on this occasion.  
Our colleague has therefore been dealt with formally, in accordance with our company's disciplinary procedure. Unfortunately, I am unable to disclose any information regarding interviews with our staff as this is a confidential issue between the employer and employee.
Go-Ahead London employs just over 6,000 professional drivers and the overwhelming number serve our city with distinction.  As a result, the number of comparable issues reported are very small, but those that are will always be treated with the utmost seriousness and we strive to learn from them.
May I once again take the time to apologise for any distress you may have experienced as a result of this incident.

 

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Hirsute | 7 months ago
7 likes

Yay the mods have taken action.
Was it death by mod again?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Hirsute | 7 months ago
0 likes

Better to delete posts and stick your head in the sand it seems. 

Hopefully our resident trolls have now been banned

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essexian replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 7 months ago
8 likes

Doesn't look like it as you are still here.

 

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to essexian | 7 months ago
0 likes

essexian wrote:

Doesn't look like it as you are still here.

Ditto...

Not sure why they deleted it all though, I hadn't said anything unreasonable. Rendel even replied with something about his speed which I was looking forward to reading and seeing the proof, and even that got deleted. 

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Hirsute replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 7 months ago
9 likes

The only troll is you.
And you are a PBU

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Hirsute | 7 months ago
0 likes

No - that might be your opinion, but I'm not a troll.

In my opinion though, there are a few on here. 

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chrisonabike replied to Hirsute | 7 months ago
4 likes

Hirsute wrote:

[...] Was it death by mod again?

I think I had their "Grate-ist Hits" but can anyone remember any of their singles?  "Stick Your Head in the Sand" comes to mind, IIRC most of them were too rude for any airplay!

EDIT was something like "Nothing Better to Do" one of theirs (probably the actual title was more offensive - my memory may have censored this)?

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Clem Fandango replied to chrisonabike | 7 months ago
7 likes

Oh indeed.  "Fooling Nobody" was a stone cold classic, even getting used in an episode of the late 90s Tv show The Pretender.   I had the 12" picture disc back in the day.  Curiously it had a cartoon character alien on it looking uncannily like Roger Smith wearing a namebadge saying "hi my name is Nigel Martin".   

I think the ex Leeds United goalie sued, but lost the case due to inadmissable evidence (something to do with an early version of Wikipedia).  Cost him a fortune in legal fees & now plies his trade as a barista in an independent coffee shop that's commonly frequented by Mounties - his Insta is awash with pictures of 'em.

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cyclisto | 7 months ago
18 likes

I need help to understand this, this bus driver is supposed to be in a hurry and gets pissed off when he believes a cyclist is delaying him some seconds. Ok somehow understandable, he may had a secret super emergency, and I also respect time efficiency.

Then he stops the bus and calls the police to ask for something that doesn't actually exists. And loses whole minutes.

Any tiny of piece of logic has flown to space.

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BalladOfStruth replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
14 likes

cyclisto wrote:

I need help to understand this, this bus driver is supposed to be in a hurry and gets pissed off when he believes a cyclist is delaying him some seconds. Ok somehow understandable.

Except for the bit where he's behind a vehicle travelling at 20mph in a 20mph limit. Doesn't matter what sort of emergency he has, or how much he cares about time-keeping, He's already going as fast as he's allowed to go.

So, he literally has no reason to be upset other than a pathological hatred for cyclists.This has nothing to do with time, and if he was behind a Ford Focus travelling at 20mph in a 20mph limit, he wouldn't have had any issue at all.

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cyclisto replied to BalladOfStruth | 7 months ago
4 likes

BalladOfStruth wrote:

cyclisto wrote:

I need help to understand this, this bus driver is supposed to be in a hurry and gets pissed off when he believes a cyclist is delaying him some seconds. Ok somehow understandable.

Except for the bit where he's behind a vehicle travelling at 20mph in a 20mph limit. Doesn't matter what sort of emergency he has, or how much he cares about time-keeping, He's already going as fast as he's allowed to go.

So, he literally has no reason to be upset other than a pathological hatred for cyclists.This has nothing to do with time, and if he was behind a Ford Focus travelling at 20mph in a 20mph limit, he wouldn't have had any issue at all.

Maybe with a different bold it makes more sense.

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BalladOfStruth replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
4 likes

cyclisto wrote:

Maybe with a different bold it makes more sense.

Does it? How is it understandable that he believes the cyclist is wasting his time? He's doing 20 in a 20, he's not holding anyone up. There is no logical justification for him to come to that conclusion. That's not an "understandable" belief, it's a ridiculous one.

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IanMSpencer replied to BalladOfStruth | 7 months ago
11 likes

Understanding is not condoning.

Cyclisto is right: as drivists use imaginary rules of the road, they are of course going to be frustrated when others break them. One clear rule is cyclists should never, ever be in front of a vehicle so breaking the speed limit is legitimate in such circumstances.

I'd bet the majority of drivers here know that in the past they have got angry at another driver driving entirely legitimately but still impeding them, even if they are reformed old wrinklies now.

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BalladOfStruth replied to IanMSpencer | 7 months ago
1 like

IanMSpencer wrote:

Understanding is not condoning.

Not explicitly, no (and not to get into the semantics of language here) but it does sort of infer that. One of the definitions of "understandable" is "Expected or accepted under the circumstances" (which is how I hear the word used in common speech ~90% of the time - I very rarely hear people use the word in the entirely literal sense of "my brain is capable of comprehending this", it's much more often used, as per the above definition, to mean "I can empathise", or “I agree”).

So if you say "the driver thinks xyz, and that's understandable", that does suggest that you think the driver's grievance has at least some merit (which is how I read Cyclisto's post).

The other (completely literal) definition "Capable of being understood" is also a bit of a stretch in this context, I'd argue, because there absolutely is zero logic to that position - the vehicle in front isn't holding him up, because the vehicle in front is doing the speed limit. Also, I doubt he'd have any issue if the vehicle in front wasn't a bicycle.

So, I don't agree that "a cyclist doing 20 in a 20 is holding me up" is an understandable viewpiont by any definition of the word.
 

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IanMSpencer replied to BalladOfStruth | 7 months ago
4 likes

I think the fundamental point is to grasp why drivers act in the way they do. We know that the reality is that cyclists generally rarely delay motorists significantly, yet motorists express frustration at the mammoth delays they believe cyclists cause them. So there is an instictive reaction to a cyclist in front that is not based on the circumstances but on the falacious belief that at some point in the future not getting past the cyclist will add an hour to their journey. We cannot change that thinking in the short term so we have to work with it.

I also think we have to factor in the London factor where drivers are subjected to cyclists swarming around and I think some drivers are genuinely stressed by that experience and cyclists don't always consider the impact of their actions. I'm not in London, so the rules are different, but I would be reluctant to repass a driver who had overtaken me unless it was clear that there was a significant queue ahead where I would make significant gains. It seems this bus driver hasn't got the mental fortitude for the job - but it says alot about road behaviour in London that you need mental fortitude.

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BalladOfStruth replied to IanMSpencer | 7 months ago
3 likes

IanMSpencer wrote:

I think the fundamental point is to grasp why drivers act in the way they do. We know that the reality is that cyclists generally rarely delay motorists significantly, yet motorists express frustration at the mammoth delays they believe cyclists cause them. So there is an instictive reaction to a cyclist in front that is not based on the circumstances but on the falacious belief that at some point in the future not getting past the cyclist will add an hour to their journey.

 

Agreed, which is my whole point - the driver's grievance isn't "I'm being held up" (because they're not), the grievance is "grr, cyclist!", which is why I said:

BalladOfStruth wrote:

So, he literally has no reason to be upset other than a pathological hatred for cyclists.This has nothing to do with time, and if he was behind a Ford Focus travelling at 20mph in a 20mph limit, he wouldn't have had any issue at all.

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lonpfrb replied to BalladOfStruth | 7 months ago
0 likes
BalladOfStruth wrote:

Not explicitly, no (and not to get into the semantics of language here) but it does sort of infer that.

Transitive verbs
He implied ...
I inferred that...
but it does sort of imply that..
FTFY.

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marmotte27 replied to cyclisto | 7 months ago
1 like

"And loses whole minutes.
Any tiny of piece of logic has flown to space."

As always...

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marmotte27 | 7 months ago
6 likes

A tiny minority but an enormous capacity to make life miserable.

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ubercurmudgeon replied to marmotte27 | 7 months ago
10 likes

That is why some people like driving, and even get jobs that involve driving: because they're natural-born arseholes, and motor vehicles are to arseholes what megaphones are to the garrulous.

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Cugel replied to ubercurmudgeon | 7 months ago
3 likes

ubercurmudgeon wrote:

That is why some people like driving, and even get jobs that involve driving: because they're natural-born arseholes, and motor vehicles are to arseholes what megaphones are to the garrulous.

 1

These days, a megaphone is insufficient; and being merely garrulous has been supplanted by bellowing hysterically-with-flying-spittle-flecks in Adolf-at-a-rally style, with a huge amplification system attached to vast loudspeakers, aka Faecespuke & Twatter.

Its certainy troo that any psycho-analysister will do well to employ the car as an almost infallible tool for revealing the hidden churns of any human's sub-conscious. Put a human in a car and it immeditaly reveals and amplifies all sorts of inner traits, via suddenly bellowed beliefs and fantastical actions. Mind, it can also reveal a considerate and kindly personality. 

But them bellowing fantatics do tend to stand out, eh? One must watch them closely as they roar about, which causes the many kinder drivists to fade into the background of one's attention.

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mikewood | 7 months ago
16 likes

Sort of justifies JV's proposal to ban overtaking in 20mph zones.

In most cases in inner cities it's pointless as this case and as some drivers can't be trusted to overtake safely, no driver should be allowed to overtake at all to remove the issue completely.

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hawkinspeter replied to mikewood | 7 months ago
5 likes

mikewood wrote:

Sort of justifies JV's proposal to ban overtaking in 20mph zones.

In most cases in inner cities it's pointless as this case and as some drivers can't be trusted to overtake safely, no driver should be allowed to overtake at all to remove the issue completely.

Whilst I'm on board for banning overtaking in 20mph zones, I don't agree with your reasoning. The drivers that can't be trusted to overtake safely need to be taken off the road or at the very least taught how to drive safely.

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Backladder replied to hawkinspeter | 7 months ago
3 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

mikewood wrote:

Sort of justifies JV's proposal to ban overtaking in 20mph zones.

In most cases in inner cities it's pointless as this case and as some drivers can't be trusted to overtake safely, no driver should be allowed to overtake at all to remove the issue completely.

Whilst I'm on board for banning overtaking in 20mph zones, I don't agree with your reasoning. The drivers that can't be trusted to overtake safely need to be taken off the road or at the very least taught how to drive safely.

If we can't trust them to overtake safely then why would we trust them to do any other aspect of driving safely?

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mikewood replied to hawkinspeter | 7 months ago
1 like

Totally agree!

Actioning it is an issue as we know but making it binary by banning it, rather than it being subjective as to who judges it to be unsafe would be a big step forward.

Of course it'll never happen in my lifetime though....

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 7 months ago
20 likes

I was cycling the suburbs of Paris yesterday and got lost on several occasions and was doing that thing lost cyclists / pedestrians do; stop, u-turn, look at their phone, use the pavement . And no one hooted at me or revved their engine or glared at me. the cycle infrastructure was very good too. At the end of the week I'm back in London for some work and will get out my hi viz, helmet, gloves and go 'into battle'. In Paris we are almost exclusively on dedicated infrastructure for the commute to College and wear 'normal' clothes as does everyone else.  

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hawkinspeter replied to BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 7 months ago
9 likes

BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP wrote:

I was cycling the suburbs of Paris yesterday and got lost on several occasions and was doing that thing lost cyclists / pedestrians do; stop, u-turn, look at their phone, use the pavement . And no one hooted at me or revved their engine or glared at me. the cycle infrastructure was very good too. At the end of the week I'm back in London for some work and will get out my hi viz, helmet, gloves and go 'into battle'. In Paris we are almost exclusively on dedicated infrastructure for the commute to College and wear 'normal' clothes as does everyone else.  

Paris shows how quickly progress can be made if you've got the political will to do so, even in a very busy city. Shame that over here, we've got politicians just chasing after idiot voters and stoking culture wars rather than focussing on progress and improvement.

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chrisonabike replied to hawkinspeter | 7 months ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

Paris shows how quickly progress can be made if you've got the political will to do so, even in a very busy city. Shame that over here, we've got politicians just chasing after idiot voters and stoking culture wars rather than focussing on progress and improvement.

Yes... however (completely out of my depth as I don't know either) isn't London a different animal per the city "top trumps" below?

Population (Paris / London): 2.1 / 9 million
Size (Paris / London): 105 / 1,572 square km
(The Île-de-France region is more populous, but not more so than the London Metropolitan area - 12.3 million / 12,012 square km vs. 14.8 million / 8,382 )

... and also the degree of independence of the boroughs?  (Again I don't know the French situation at all though).

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NOtotheEU | 7 months ago
20 likes

Is Martin a bus driver now?

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