Wednesday, 14 September 2011

CF54UWV: never own up to a SMIDSY, even if you don't think it's being videoed

We got sent this video for review of an event at 09:10 this morning, just off Park Row. And what a lovely video it is.

As you can see, the tax dodger descends St Michael's Hill then goes to the front of the road, waiting for a green light and then heading off along Perry Road with the goal of turning into Lodge Street and so descend to The Centre. While they are trying to do this, a road tax payer driving the premium Audi CF54UWV comes up Lower Park Row and starts to pull out. The tax-dodger expresses some concern here and then has to take evasive action by getting up on the pavement, before pulling in front of the Audi where he stops and expresses some more concern to the driver.

The driver says "I'm Sorry, I didn't see you". We suspect that some more discussions would have taken place if the cars behind hadn't started sounding their horns -nobody died, no need for a post-mortem- so the cyclist sets off. The Audi is no longer behind the bicycle at the bottom, implying it has turned into Lodge Place and the office parking therein.

The tax dodger then proceeds to make life hard for the car behind by giving way to other cars, rather than recognise that from their actions on the horn, they are clearly also important and in a hurry.

Here's our review
  1. The Tax Dodger is to be praised for wearing a helmet. The helmet camera, well, it provides entertainment.
  2. If they had waited behind all the cars on St Michaels Hill, they would not have been the first road user to approach Lodge Street. This would have reduce the risk of collision, as the taxpayer would have had something larger to spot. Furthermore, the MPV sounding its horn would not have been held up, as it was waiting on St Michael's Hill too -and would have been ahead of the cyclist.
  3. There is a small dotted line bike lane on Park Row. This would have caused the collision to happen earlier, and so not hold up the MPV.
  4. Getting on the pavement as a form of evasive action is illegal. If they had a registration number, they'd have been reported to the police for it.
  5. If they had been hit, their lack of third party insurance would have placed all the costs of repair to an expensive vehicle on that driver.
  6. After the incident, the actions of being nice to all cars pulling out was insensitive. They had already held up at least three important people who had paid for the right to be there; this just made things worse. 
  7. If they hadn't been on a bicycle, none of this would have happened.
We are also going to discuss the actions of the female Audi driver.
  • Although playing the "I'm not going to look" gambit does help in some pullout negotiations, in this situation we'd have sounded our horn to make clear we were coming through.
  • If you drive an old van you have better negotiating power. 
  • It's clearly a fast car, you could have looked at the bike, then done the same action aggressively enough that they wouldn't have caught up with you.
  • Never, never, never say "I'm sorry, I didn't see you". Your insurance company will hate you for it, and in a world of universal cameras, your actions will be permanently associated with CF54UWV, Bristol and your apparent place of work, Lodge Place, for as long as google's servers retain the data.
The correct thing to say in this situation is usually something like "get out the way, I pay for the roads and you don't". Sometimes we also demand they have insurance, though given our van's current insurance state, that would be a bit hypocritical. Speaking of insurance, we hope that the cyclist does not contact your insurers and provide them with some hard data on your driving techniques. That is one of the reasons why we do not insure our vehicle.

Nevertheless: We in the Bristol Traffic Project salute the driver of CF54UWV for taking a personal stand against making Bristol city a safe and friendly place to ride a bicycle! Your single-handed actions should be celebrated! We hope that all other cyclists heading along this road -and there are clearly many of a weekday morning- will recognise that you are important and give way appropriately.

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