Monday 5 July 2010

Eagle Coaches at Bristol Zoo

Attn: driver safety section. Eagle Coaches, Bristol


We we have been forwarded a video and an email to pass on to you, Eagle Coaches. Although Bristol Traffic is primarily a web site which which tries to copy the Daily Mail and be chirpy and upbeat about everything which happens to cyclists daft enough to cycle around the city, we don't believe that it is currently legal to attempt to run them or their children off the road. We are also concerned that such incidents will encourage more council/police action against motorists, such as banning cars and coaches from Guthrie Road completely. This is a shame as the road in front of the school will be a useful rat-run once Bridge Valley Road is open again.

This email and video will go online at

The point the letter author makes is an interesting one: we may appear before your own site in web searches. In a world with ubiquitous cameras and google indexing popular sites, you have to remind your drivers that it is not only the police they have to worry about, but the cyclists sticking their videos up online, so damaging your brand image. The cyclists could even contact your insurers via the askmid site and making the underwriters fully aware of the risks which they are undertaking, so increasing your insurance premium.


The Bristol Traffic Team


Can you request that your coach drivers give cyclists, especially those with small children, more than one or two centimetres clearance when passing.

While I was dropping my son off near Bristol Zoo, we both nearly got squashed between some parked cars and the Y-reg coach of yours driven by someone in a moustache on Guthrie Road at 10:10 on Monday July 5, 2010. As he approached me from the zoo direction and I approached from Pembroke Road, he seemed in a bit of a hurry and reluctant to stop: I had to stop far enough out in the road opposite a space that it was clearly impossible for him to get past me on this one lane road -but even then he was unwilling to pull over to actually make it safe for me to get past. After thanking him for stopping -and receiving a frown in return- I set off reluctantly down the narrow gap. At which point the driver set off again -with about two centimetres of clearance between my handlebars and his vehicle. I had to thump the bus repeatedly before he pulled slightly to one side.

I must apologise in for any damage I may have done to your vehicle by banging against it, however I find that I feel no guilt. If your coach is going to drive so close to me that I have to hit it repeatedly with my fist for it to not hit me, then it was clearly too close. If you feel the need to claim damages off me I shall report your driver to the police for dangerous driving.

I have a legitimate right to use a road -one which was recently traffic calmed to make it safer for school children to walk on-, yet your driver seemed both reluctant to slow down for the traffic calming (I'd check the state of the underside) and reluctant to acknowledge the existence of anyone on a bicycle or their right to use the road. Sadly for your driver, we not only have a right to be there, we are moving to using cameras to film our daily commutes, and forward any near-death incidents to the police.

On that topic I must apologise for not having a film of the incident, I do not have a head camera. I have a phone camera and am sending this letter and my post-incident recording to the Bristol Traffic web site, for them to process. As a result of their high popularity, searches for "Eagle Coaches" and "Eagle Coaches Bristol" for the next few months will probably bring up the page covering this near collision ahead of your own corporate web site.


A cyclist.

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