Who are the least courteous drivers in London?

city-cyclistsI’m often weighing up in my head who are the least and most courteous drivers in London. My opinion often changes. A white van driver fails to stop for me as I’m about to walk across a pelican crossing and they quickly shoot up to the top. A HGV driver gives me no space to pull out into the lane and suddenly it’s HGV’s. There is also one road user who I would have previously placed as the most courteous but in recent times have proved themselves far less aware of cyclists.

This post isn’t just a negative rant it is also a hats off and thank you to those drivers who do look out for us.

(What cyclists can be fined for)

The least courteous drivers

White Van Drivers – there is a stereotype that surrounds white van drivers and often, unfortunately, it comes true. These drivers always seem to be in a rush and so hardly ever provide for other road users.

Motorbikes – These are the guys I would previously have said are incredibly courteous. Many a time I’ve stopped next to a motorbike and we’ve had a nice chat. I remember when I was testing out the cycle hire bike one commented on how interesting it looks. I remember taking the free ferry across the Thames and we got chatting. After all they can see the benefit of being on 2 wheels as opposed to 4 the same as we can.

However, in recent times I’ve noticed motorbikes increasingly using cycle lanes and taking up the advanced stop boxes. The Mayors trial to allow motorbikes into bus lanes seems to have given them the opinion they can use all cyclist facilities.

The most courteous drivers

Black cab drivers – I’ve very rarely had any issues with black cab drivers. Generally I’ve found them to look out for us, give us space to move into the lane and hardly ever have I been close to a collision with one. In short, they are incredibly skilled and courteous drivers.

Strong opinions

This post is bound to raise some strong opinions as everyone has different experiences on the road that they remember. In truth there are a lot of very courteous drivers out there who look out for us and give us space on the roads. Unfortunately, its the few bad cases that often stand out and that can shape our opinions.

Who would you place as your most and least courteous drivers on the roads?

See also:

Image via Danny McL

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194 Responses to Who are the least courteous drivers in London?

  1. MarkA 02/07/2010 at 10:32 am #

    I almost daren’t say it out loud for sounding like I’m full of self-hate but I would have to add ‘some other cyclists’ to that list….

    Moving along quickly, Addisson Lee private taxi drivers are my least favourite of all car drivers, and yes, motorbikes in the ASLs are a pain in the proverbial.

    But I guess if we are all expected to ‘share the road’ we have to accept that there are good and bad drivers in all groups.

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:14 am #

      I was tempted to put other cyclists in there because they are often the ones most likely to cause an accident

    • Tina 02/07/2010 at 11:18 am #

      I agree with other cyclists and Addison Lee drivers. White vans are also pretty high up on my personal baddy list.

    • Steve 02/07/2010 at 12:46 pm #

      Black Cabs are by far the worst drivers in London without a doubt, I have been chased by them for refusing to move to the gutter while sitting in a traffic jam, I’ve had them swerve to pick up a fair without indicating just a few feet in front of me. I even had one get out of his cab when I complained he cut me up and grab me by the neck!

      I’d like to see them banned from bus lanes along with motorcycles.

      The best drivers are bus drivers, you’ll hear motorists complain about them, I think because the petrol-heads don’t like that there is this big object stopping them from speeding. A bus does not clog up anything, compare a bus with 87 people to say 4 cars in the same space with 1 person each.

      • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 10:56 am #

        Very true what you say about buses. They are far more road efficient than a chelsea tractor

      • Veronica Leigh 03/07/2010 at 11:13 am #

        I also agree – I never mind being behind a bus because they pretty much create all the space in front of me, as everyone gets out of their way (most of the time anyway!)

    • Katelet 04/07/2010 at 8:51 am #

      I would agree that other cyclists are sometimes the least courteous unfortunately… Some are great, but some don’t stop at traffic lights, zebra crossings or stop signs, don’t indicate when turning, weave inappropriately and dangerously between lanes… Plenty of cyclists are great, but London is the worst place I’ve cycled in for unintelligent cyclists I regretfully have to say :(

  2. andrew wood 02/07/2010 at 10:34 am #

    I’m a motorcyclist as well as a cyclist, and I would suggest that there are very much two types of motorcyclist in London – the serious, considerate biker (tends to be geared up), and the hooligan (watch for the guys riding in t-shirts, trainers and no gloves – they’re the ones that don’t understand the responsibility properly).

    The worst though are the scooter drivers (esp those with L-plates). Remember that to ride a 125cc scooter with L’s, you only need to have around 2 hrs of tuition and an assessment, the main criterion of which is not killing someone.

    And no comment on bus drivers? Kings of pulling out without giving a damn, clogging roundabouts, running red lights, cutting off cycle lanes – you name it.

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:15 am #

      Agreed, but so many are nowadays in the cycle lanes. These facilities are limited anyway, if we clog them with motorbikes cycling is doomed! Anyway, like I said in the post, most motorbikers are very nice guys.

      • shannon 02/07/2010 at 11:31 am #

        Andreas-

        I really disagree here. There are not enough motorycles to “clog” the precious cycle lanes (or do you mean bus lanes)? Have you ever really had one in your way? There is more than enough room for both on the roads.

        • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 1:13 pm #

          Not bus lanes, I’m happy with motorbikes in bus lanes and that has never caused a problem. I mean advanced stop boxes that are meant for cyclists. Often there are motorbikes in there and you end up having to wait in a dangerous position because you can’t fit into them.

  3. botogol 02/07/2010 at 10:39 am #

    On the contrary – I find bus drivers very aware of cyclists, and no problem.
    I echo Andreas’ comments about motorcyclists. Definitely getting worse – especially in confined traffic – they whizz past far closer to my elbows than any car does.

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:15 am #

      I agree about bus drivers. Don’t think any of them are out to harm us.

  4. Rob Fletcher 02/07/2010 at 10:40 am #

    Royal Mail van drivers are terrifying: foot flat on the gas, swerving between lanes, coming to crashing stops at junctions with their noses 6 feet out into the road.

  5. Bransby 02/07/2010 at 10:44 am #

    Yep, bus drivers are frequently a problem, especially as they roar ahead to over-take you and then immediately pull in again to stop at the bus stop 50 metres ahead.

    As for a particular group, don’t think there is one, you can find idiots and excellent drivers amongst pretty much any demographic.

    I’m fortunate enough to have most of my cycle commute on bike lanes away from roads, sadly the problem there is that we share with pedestrians who, unsurprisingly, can also be a pain in the bum.

  6. tr 02/07/2010 at 10:47 am #

    private cab drivers….! arg…..no regard for anyone on the road, let alone cyclists.

    • Anna 03/07/2010 at 12:18 am #

      YES! I totally agree. They seem to be completely in their own world at all times. It’s flabbergasting!

  7. aidan 02/07/2010 at 10:49 am #

    I think the overwhelming majority of drivers are courteous and careful, but there is a minority of drivers who are careless, and another, tiny, minority that are positively aggressive and dangerous.

    I personally think that these dangerous drivers aren’t likely to be in any particular type of vehicle. They are fairly evenly distributed.

    Even so, my anecdotal evidence suggests that taxi drivers and bus drivers are generally the best. Probably because they are literally professional drivers!

    And I have noticed that there is a group of people who are consistently careless, but I’m not going to say who :)

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:16 am #

      Agreed, its very important to re-iterate that point. In all groups there are good and bad road users.

  8. Mike 02/07/2010 at 10:49 am #

    Scaffold crews. Always in a rush, always with god knows what sticking out of their flat-bed at all angles and always with an attitude.

    Obviously it bears no relation to this at all that, back when my other half designed stuff in airports, she said trying to find a scaffold crew without a criminal record to work air-side was nigh impossible.

    Most black cabs are lovely – had a great chat with one once about how he did his knowledge on a bicycle.

    The cab I was in the other day that decided to show me how he dealt with wrong-way cyclists by swerving across the road, almost throwing my kids out of their pram was not. No tip for him.

  9. Mark 02/07/2010 at 10:50 am #

    I think it’s difficult to put a onous on one particular group of drivers. I’d certainly have a higher expectation of professional drivers then Joe Public in his car trying to get to work so in all honesty it’s those people that scare me the most. Just the other week I saw a driver of a rather large lorry bully his way into a traffic queue after jumping out of it and driving down the wrong side of the road! – all whilst on his mobile!!

    Addison Lee are normally quite poorly driven but that just may come under the umbrella of all private cabs, with them being more visible due to the large size of the vehicles and prominent markings.

    As others have said tho there are good and bad road users in all groups and TBH, rather thankfully, the poor road users overall are in the minority – unfortunately when commuting and being so vulnerable on a bike you only tend to remember the 5% of road users who inconvienced you whilst forgetting the 95% that acted perfectly well :-)

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:18 am #

      Exactly right ;) I think parents on the way to the school run are also ones to look out for.. often rushed.. often distracted

  10. Nick 02/07/2010 at 10:59 am #

    I think it depends on 2 factors, are they a commuter or is this their living. A commuter will often get stressed stuck in traffic and will be a little aggresive, but when your time is money they forget how to be courteous and become aggresive (this is everyone).

    Cabbies – They tend to pull over if they see a fair and forget to use their side mirrors/check blind spots to see if they had just over taken the cyclist and then stopping dead in front of you which I have seen on more than one occasion.

    White vans – They get a bad rap but you have to take into consideration much like lorries they have a hell of a lot of blind spots. OK, sometimes they drive to fast and don’t consider other road users but that is a small minority as most I see don’t tend to be so bad.

    Buses – Possibly the worst offenders on the road, they have very little consideration for anyone ever. I have been clipped and once even knocked off my bike by a bus driver who just pulled out when I was passing… I mean seriously you have a whole lane why did you need to pull out into the main road!!

    Other cyclists – Sorry but this has to be said, Bromtpon riders seem to be the worse, sorry it’s a generalization but most of the folding bike riders don’t pay attention and tend to just look ahead and even worse usually have there iPod headphones in so they can’t hear. But I don’t just point fingers at Bromptons, there are a lot of other cycling offenders who are so engrossed in sending a text message or changing the track on their iPod that they forget that there are road users, last week I even saw someone reading a book whilst riding!!

    To be honest though, I do just enjoy my riding and don’t let these negatives affect my riding, it’s supposed to be fun and healthy, if the polluters want to get hot and stressed that is their choice, chill out and enjoy what you do.

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:20 am #

      Agreed about taxi drivers stopping for fare – this is the one point I thought about mentioning in the article.

      I think its good not to let this annoy you, although it does get a bit much on the roads in rush hour. All other times its much easier to be relaxed.

      • Nick 02/07/2010 at 11:25 am #

        My route to work is pretty much fixed as I leave at a set time and it gets me to work bang on but is relaxed, my ride home on the other hand is a lot more relaxed so I can pick my route… Usually this involves the least busiest roads through the west end and city and I can carve through traff with little or no rush at all.

        I usually chat to people at lights regardless of what they are be it bus, taxi, cyclist or motorbike, it’s just nice to enjoy it.

  11. Bradley 02/07/2010 at 11:09 am #

    I would say some cyclists by far are the least courteous and give other cyclists a bad name. They cycle on pavements and cycle straight through red lights and over pedestrian crossings when people are trying to cross.

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:20 am #

      I have had more cyclists swear at me than any other road user. Definitely not necessary

  12. Claire 02/07/2010 at 11:09 am #

    This will get the biggest number of replies, surely?!

    Black cab drivers are the worst, rudest and most unpleasant drivers in London – I have lost count of the number of times I have literally been brushed past by a black cab. They seem to think they have a divine right to sweep along the highways, pulling in at whim, often with no indication. Every time I go past Tower Hill there is a 99% chance that I will be carved against the curb by a black cab who seems to have no idea of the laws of physics and fails to observe that if they drive a straight line around a curve, they will take my road space. I also think they should be subject to regulat emission monitoring – the stuff that comes out of their exhaust pipes is horrific.

    Scooters riders are just helmeted lunatics – I say this as someone who rides a big Kawasaki as well as my beloved Wilier, but the current legislation in London allows motorised bikes to travel in any cycle lane with a broken white line and most of the cycle lanes are marked with a broken line. When I’m on my motorbike I don’t because I think cycle lanes should be purely for cyclists. When I did my motorbike test – 3 days of instruction with theory and practical tests – I was told that only cycles are allowed in the ASL’s but even the police ignore that rule.

    I also agree with the guys here who have listed other cyclists as discourteous. Absolutely agree. Last night I saw an old man legitimately using a pelican crossing on Kensington High Street being millimetres away from being hit by a fool riding a brown Pearson at full tilt. He swerved around a bus waiting at the red lights, went over the crossing past the old man and corssed down Warwick Road without even slowing down. The speed at which he was travelling over those lights would have killed the man if he had been hit.

    I actually think buys drivesr are better than they used to be but get incensed when they think they can ignore red lights and block Traflagar Square.

  13. shannon 02/07/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Although I do agree that generalising is awful…

    I do have to agree about the Royal Mail van drivers, I have been in a number of close calls with them. They drive WAY too fast down narrow roads and try to pass when there is no room. Unlike all the other “groups” of road users, I’ve never seen a RM driver drive responsibly!

    As someone who used to be a motorbike rider (a C1-scooter), there definitley is a pecking order of motorcyclists. The idiot scooter riders in flip-flops are the bottom of the rung, and they do some seriously stupid things. But sersiously, as a cyclist I have never had a problem with motorcyclists using a bus lane or even the advanced box. I don’t understand why cyclists have such issues with sharing the roadspaces with their moto-brethern, we are both on two wheels, take up very little space: THERE IS ROOM FOR BOTH!

    • Claire 02/07/2010 at 11:29 am #

      Totally agree about the Royal Mail drivers – roaring off from lights, swerving, stamping on brakes, no signalling, polluting, you name it.

  14. Liam 02/07/2010 at 11:10 am #

    MarkA – some other cyclists is spot on.

    Discourteous: Those on motorbikes hogging the advanced stop box and those that think it clever to zoom past you at way over the speed limit in the bus lane. At least once a week I come across someone on a scooter using a cycle lane as well. Tut Tut.

    Courteous: bus drivers, black cab drivers, HGV drivers and generally most car drivers.

    • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 10:57 am #

      I’m surprised you say one a week – I’ve seen one every ride this week! (I have been doing a lot of cycling at rush hour)

  15. Ben Brown 02/07/2010 at 11:17 am #

    I also find bus drivers to generally be pretty aware of cyclists and good drivers. Those highway maintenance lorries are usually pretty bad drivers. Also people in huge Chelsea tractors usually don’t know their width and are bad at hogging the lanes and getting in the way. Worst car types for bad drivers seems to be BMW’s followed by Mercedes. Don’t trust them, I always expect the worst from these two.

    Black cabs, hmm, seems like a job that would make the kindest man frustrated and hateful of all other road users. Don’t find them courteous personally

    • Andreas 02/07/2010 at 11:21 am #

      I was very tempted to put Chelsea Tractors up there!

  16. Tim H 02/07/2010 at 11:19 am #

    I got hit by a motorbike on the way in this morning. I was overtaking on the right stationary traffic as the traffic lights turned from amber to green, when i was in front of the lead car he came from the inside at speed and fliiped me of.

    But he was very apologetic.

  17. Corin 02/07/2010 at 11:20 am #

    In my experience in it is other two-wheelers I have the biggest problems with, particularly motorcyclists who seem to think the outside of the lane is their exclusive territory.

    Black cab drivers are great until they have fares, at which point they seem to lose their usual easy-going and considerate approach.

    I find that that amongst private car drivers, Audi drivers are the very worst, followed by ‘sports 4x4s’ on the school run. None of them seem to be aware of the fact their vehicle has indicators.

    When I was riding up north recently I was amazed by how much more space motorized vehicle drivers gave cyclists and how much more considerate and courteous they are. But maybe that’s because with lower population density and a stronger sense of community the north of England is just a nicer place.

  18. Angi 02/07/2010 at 11:27 am #

    I’d have to say…hands down…that the worst drivers in London are mothers on the school run in their honking big (and unneccessary) SUV’s!
    Half the time they have their head turned the other way or are fiddling with their mobile phones…and the rest of the time…they have their window down and are shouting nasty words at cyclists…may I add…with their kids in the back or in earshot of other kids!

    I wish they’d stop being so bloody lazy, leave ther cars/verging on trucks at home and walk their kids the half mile or so to school! They really don’t even need to get up or out of the house that much earlier…

    Rant over!

    P.s. I’ve found rather a lot of white van men to be ok drivers actually…they give way quite a lot of the time if you catch them straight in the eyes.

    • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 10:58 am #

      Agreed about the eye thing (Reminds me of the 7 mistakes cyclists make – not enough eye contact)

  19. Guilherme Zühlke O'Connor 02/07/2010 at 11:32 am #

    As a cyclist I don’t really have issues with the buses other than they are big and spacious and naturally tend to clog up the narrow streets of London, which is not a problem with the drivers themselves, obviously.

    However, I remember I used to think worse of them when I regularly used buses to move around. Many a time I almost got hurt just trying to survive a journey standing or moving inside the bus or seen the elderly having to hope for a chance to use the stairs at a red light. Which makes me think the buses are much more dangerous on the outside than on the inside.

    So, for as much as I don’t have personal problems sharing the roads with bus drivers, I think it’s outrageous what bus passengers go trhough, and it may be that I just don’t have problems with them because I tend not to get too close.

    It’s also one of the reasons why I prefer to cycle than taking a bus in pretty much any occasion.

  20. Kat 02/07/2010 at 11:32 am #

    It is easy to make generalisations – as many people have pointed out there are good and bad drivers in every type of vehicle, just as there are good and bad cyclists.

    For me, top of my hate list is minicab drivers, followed by bus drivers, then lorries and “white vans” – the most discourteous incident I ever saw involved a cyclist and a courier van (CitySprint) – the guy actually ran over a girl’s bike, then was really aggressive about it.

    I personally haven’t had much grief from motorbikes. And I agree that black cab drivers are usually excellent drivers, although it can be annoying when you’r ecycling in the city and they pull over suddenly for a fare.

    More courtesy and thoughtfulness is needed all round – from 4 wheels and 2!

  21. Howard 02/07/2010 at 11:33 am #

    Cycling in London for seven years now. Personal experience of cab drivers is that they are skilled but aggressive and right now they have zero patience and are plain lethal. Lots of ranking up is making them angry.

    Had some awful experiences with Addison Lee taxis and pre-book only TFL cabs.

    Fat car drivers seem particularly bad for some reason.

    White vans actually seem OK, buses great, HGVs less predictable than they should be.

    Motorcyclists seem to be fighting cyclists for the ASL at the moment which makes getting away from lights more stressful than it should be.

    A lot of cyclists are absolute d****, too. too many numpties RLJing and sticking their excuse for a bike directly in front of my ride…when I’m on the ASL stop line. Irritating. I’m calling a lot of cyclists on their appalling road skills at the moment, most ignore me, some apologise…then do something else stupid at the next lights.

    Cycling in London is more maddening than it’s ever been right now.

    • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 11:00 am #

      It can feel like that sometimes but then it picks up again ;)

  22. Trevor 02/07/2010 at 11:40 am #

    Where does one start, Trades men – Scaffolders, delivery drivers, building maintenence , roofers those kind of sorts,all of which I’m pretty sure have tiny penis syndrome.
    Red Buses pulling out then to suddenly cut you up and then get totally boxed in.
    Drivers M&F with all-round tinted blacked out windows. (Espeesh Of the German automobile kind!)
    Addision Lee driver treating like it’s Brands Hatch circuit.
    Just add L Plate scooterboys – instant a******s.
    Black cabs randomly stopping anywhere they want, followed by a U-turn without any warning!!
    It’s like open warfare out there, I can go on and on.

    • Claire 02/07/2010 at 11:43 am #

      Exactly! If we were in the country and able to pootle around I’m sure we’d all be more relaxed, but getting to work across London on a bike generally is not a pleasant journey.

  23. Natalie 02/07/2010 at 11:48 am #

    Drivers in West London – particularly the house-sized BMWs and Mercedes – don’t seem to believe cyclists have any right to be on the road.

    And any driver once you get outside zone 1 and 2. I’m mostly within that range and when I get to zone 3 really notice the difference.

    • Angi 02/07/2010 at 12:12 pm #

      I know exactly what you mean. Cycling around Acton/Ealing everyday is a total and utter nightmare…why do people need these massive fancy cars in such a small place anyway?

      I once attempted a cycle to Ruislip…now that was scary!

      • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 11:01 am #

        Certain parts of town do tend to be worse. Shoreditch high street I’ve always found a bit nerve racking.

    • Anna 03/07/2010 at 12:34 am #

      Natalie, re the Merc-drivers, that’s totally my experience. I work off High St Kensington and “encounter” a lot of that breed. It only makes me smile now cause I know what’s coming.

      I have 3 simple rules:

      3) respect the road/motorists/pedestrian and you will get respect
      2) don’t expect other people to behave in traffic the way you want them to
      1) absolutely NO funny business near lorries

  24. Murray 02/07/2010 at 11:56 am #

    I’ve actually been physically attacked by a motorcyclist for being “in the way” when he wanted to pass me on a cycle lane. I blame them being allowed in the bus lane for an increase in inconsiderate behaviour from motorcyclists. Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, it seems.

    As for taxi drivers… I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had a taxi overtake me and then immediately pull in and stop right in front of me, causing me to brake sharply. A fare is way more important than my safety on the road apparently.

  25. Ian 02/07/2010 at 12:08 pm #

    Without a doubt, whenever I am left fuming at being cut up, brought to a halt as a car accelerates to get through a tight spot or overtaken at speed before a quick right hand turn forcing me to brake, the sign I see in the rear window is a green TFL sticker. No hesitation – minicab drivers are by far and away the worst drivers in London

    A much lower 2nd = other cyclists. Would love to see RLJ regularly fined

    Distant third – any vehicle that accelerates significantly after you have overtaken them; grow up!

    Good – most black cabs (if you maintain eye contact, look over your shoulder, thumbs up for a favour etc)

  26. Phil Russell 02/07/2010 at 12:08 pm #

    After fifty years of cycling, I’d say the worst offenders are private cars, buses, white/red/blue/green/black vans, coaches,trucks, private cars, mini-cabs, chelsea-tanks, Hummers, occasionally black cabs, private cars, scooters & mopeds, private cars…..and often other cyclists…..it’s a far king jungle out there!!
    Phil R.

  27. David 02/07/2010 at 12:08 pm #

    For overtaking too close you can’t beat the good old black cab driver, probably because I don’t ride in the gutter. Closely followed by marked police vehicles :-(

    90% of drivers are actually ok and I’ll always try and give a wave of thanks to ones that hold back and don’t overtake stupidly.

  28. Dave 02/07/2010 at 12:15 pm #

    The rudest road users in my experience are black cabbies and other cyclists. I have commuted in London for 20 years and have experienced my fair share of abuse, from pedestrians to lorry drivers, but cabbies and cyclists are miles above anyone else. Both seem to have an ‘own the road’ mentality and instinctively use attack as a form of defence.

    Abuse is normally the result of a near-miss scenario, with the major difference being an encounter with a cyclist can result in a bruised ego as much as a bruised elbow, but an encounter with a cabbie can result in a wheelchair or a coma. Therein lies the devastating difference that cabbies almost universally fail to acknowledge.

    I do have sympathy with many gripes about us cyclists, as I do feel that there are a lot of cyclists out there that lack basic road sense and are a hazard to themselves and others (just observe any major London roundabout/junction for 5-10 minutes and you’re guaranteed to witness something utterly stupid or lunatic) but there is no excuse for being abusive or violent to a fellow human being. Ever.

  29. Scott Dougall 02/07/2010 at 12:17 pm #

    I would not say that any one genera of driver is bad as such – rather I would say that in more general terms its the: short in stature, impotent, self-entitled, ignorant gits of both sexes that are the problem and in my experience they are present on and in all forms of transport.

    if confronted by one of these arseholes then rather than stoop to their level and break bits of their vehicle or them I would recommend simply recording their number and visiting this site:

    https://secure.met.police.uk/roadsafelondon/

    I find this much more cathartic than violence.

  30. Patrick 02/07/2010 at 12:21 pm #

    From my experience, the worst are;

    Addison Lee vans or taxi’s – clueless and unpredictable
    Post Office Vans and Lorries – too fast and opportunistic
    Small white vans – again too fast and aggressive
    Rude boys in hatchbacks – overtake then pull in straight away, or just pull out on you
    Minicabs – see Addison Lee
    Anyone in an Audi – tends to be a c***.

    The best are 9 out of 10 black cab drivers, the majority seem to be on the ball and looking out for their two wheeled brethren, but like us cyclists there’s a small minority who appear clueless and are therefore dangerous.

  31. pete 02/07/2010 at 12:57 pm #

    For me the worst drivers are anyone who is driving a vehicle that they don’t own. Hence van drivers ,tradesmen etc attracting such a large number of votes.

  32. Jules 02/07/2010 at 1:32 pm #

    my own personal list of goodies and baddies:

    Goodies:
    1. the drivers who nod back when i check they’ve seen me. This makes me feel safe!
    2. The motorcyclists who move out of the way for me
    3. the cyclists who don’t get uber-competative
    Baddies
    1. the drivers who don’t see you / steadfastly ignore you. this makes me feel scared!
    2. the motorcyclists who go in the cycle lanes and advanced stop boxes – they go too fast, too close and their exhausts go in my face
    3. the cyclists who do the dangerous things that make me worry they will die or piss off all the other drivers so i get treated less well.

    • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 11:04 am #

      Like the use of “Goodies” and “Baddies” – once again definitely a lot to be said for good eye contact for getting a bit more courtesy and space on the roads in London.

  33. thereverent 02/07/2010 at 2:34 pm #

    The top four:

    Addison Lee cabs
    Very aggreesive, seem to have an intense dislike of cyclists. Made worse by this:
    “All Addison Lee drivers are employed subject to meeting the minimum pass requirement (80%) of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) examination.”
    http://www.addisonlee.com/about/driver-training/

    White vans
    Aggressive and very little regard for anything else on the road.
    Example from a few days ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LDX0uplkYM

    Royal Mail vans
    Always seem to be driven by wanabe rally drivers. Just look at the number of dents and scratched on them.

    Scooter riders.
    Not the all year motorcylists, but the summer only scooter with L plates type. They have no road awareness and are so unpredicable. But at least they disappear as autum comes.

    Taxi drivers need to cheack their blind spots more often and not pull over just after they have overtaken you.

    I seem to have less problems with other cyclists then some commenting here. The summer cyclists often just lack a bit of awareness of whats around them. There are some aweful ones, but I wonder if thats because of the way they have been treated as cyclists on the road in London.

  34. Jooz 02/07/2010 at 2:36 pm #

    100% the most courteous drivers i come accross are those having a driving lesson. Reminds me just how much comfortable space you are supposed to have on the road when a car overtakes! They never take my elbows off thats for sure

  35. gibby 02/07/2010 at 2:41 pm #

    Having run down I think I have fairly similar experiences to many- i.e. patchy with all road users

    I tend to think that TfL bus drivers are actually reasonably good and are definitely improving. 4/5 years ago they drove me nuts but now I find that as a general rule they hang back rather than passing in the run up to bus stops and look and wait far more before just pulling out.

    that said today’s experience was of a bus driver pulling a left hook on me and another cyclist behind me to get into a bus stop as we came up Kensington High Street. I slammed on my brakes, sweved and had a little swear and then went up to his window to suggest that he might want to take more care- the other cyclist got there first to make the same point and while he was perfectly polite was roundly told to “f*** off” with much gesticulation. So we both took his number plate and reported him…

    I still like to think that he was the definite exception to a much improving rule.

    Black cabs is another one where a personal bad experience (a broken elbow following a hit and run) I think is generally against the thread of the majority of my interactions with them. That said I do still feel the lure of money can be too much and they can be prone to the erratic lurch to the curb/ u-turn to nab a fare.

    The licenced minicabs with the blue TfL roundel are definitely the worst four-wheeled offender for me. Personally I think TfL are nuts to use their roundel on the cabs to indicate licencing as the general driving (in)abilities on display must denegrate the brand somewhat.

    On to two wheels and I’m definitely getting a bit frustrated at the motorbikes using cycling infrastructure more post being allowed in the bus lanes. Two motorbikes can effectively block an entire ASL but given how often there is a car or something else in the box anyway I can’t get too het up about this and still feel they do act with a recognition that we are part of the two wheel brigade together so I get on fairly well with them.

  36. Tim 02/07/2010 at 3:11 pm #

    If I may add an historical perspective I have been cycling in London for over 35 years starting in the seventies. In those days we were few and far between and generally viewed as mad eccentrics target for anyone or everyone’s abuse and discourtesy. Now London is populated with many many more cyclists on the major arterial routes we can be a collective potent force able to dictate pace of traffic etc.

    I thinks generally attitudes towards us as a group are much improved thanks to campaigns by TFL LCC and great blogs like this one. I never know if greater courtesy towards me is due to my grey beard and locks are the general mood by all road users to be more aware of each others needs.

    I look forward to even greater improvements and accept that each of us has a joint responsibility to ensure and promote those improvements.

    • Anna 03/07/2010 at 12:41 am #

      Wow Tim that must be quite amazing for you to have seen the city slowly metamorphose into a proper cycle city. I’ve only cycled in London for 6 years and have noticed that especially in the past 2 years the amount of peeps on bikes has exploded. Sometimes I feel that motorists are a bit mad at us because we are so many now and may slow them down.

      • Bassjunkieuk 03/07/2010 at 7:33 am #

        “may slow them down” I think that is a common misconception amongst drivers! I had a work colleague complain about cyclists (I think he was referring to m/c as the incident he described happened on an m-way) filtering in and out of traffic and “slowing” him down because they pulled in between him and the car ahead as they couldn’t filter any further at that point. It was pointless trying to explain that he wasn’t been slowed down at this guy is a stubborn little ***** who admitted to jumping the queue to avoid having to wait for the traffic lights at one of our local traffic hotspots – a pet peeve of mine (and most other drivers I imagine, like the ejits that pull onto motorway exits at the VERY last moment…..)

        After motorbikes I’d say cyclists are probably, on average, the fastest, users of the roads during rush hour in town. It’s very rare that I’ll keep seeing the same car over and over again once I’ve past them as them and I’ll generally only “slow” them down if I’m filtering and can’t safely make any further progress so I fall in between them and the car ahead and wait for a safe opportunity.

  37. Paul 02/07/2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Ok, I don’t live in London. But I do walk, cycle and drive a car (when absolutely unavoidable), and I’m afraid to say that in my experience other cyclists can be a problem. When my youngest son was three he was run down by two middle-aged cyclists, on a zebra crossing, all other vehicles had stopped but they came through with no hesitation whatsoever.

    • Andreas 03/07/2010 at 11:07 am #

      That is very bad – I must admit this is one to look out for – Zebra crossing are an obvious place for a cyclist to slow down but often green traffic lights where the view is obstructed can mean a pedestrian is crossing but you can’t see them. Nearly fell for this one yesterday so now I slow down much more if I don’t have clear view – even if the light is green.

  38. tim 02/07/2010 at 4:22 pm #

    bad drivers = bad drivers, good drivers = good drivers. given up this kind of scary generalisation. but least courteous drivers in london are tube drivers :-P

  39. Alistair 02/07/2010 at 4:30 pm #

    In London itself I’d share the views about other cyclists at times, buses and black cabs I’ve had no issues with. My biggest bugbear is peds that step out, I have a feeling that lots of them don’t appreciate the speed that a bike is doing but many seem to just waft out anyway.

    On the other hand on the ride home from the station I have several miles of rural A-road, and that’s far worse. Using the planner on http//:cyclestreets.net it marks it as hostile given the traffic density and speed, which is probably fair. In the mornings when it’s vans and the odd commuter it’s fine but at night or during the school run it’s terrifying. ”Safe distance” seems to be ”I didn’t hit you (or perhaps only hit you a little bit)”.

  40. Tim 02/07/2010 at 4:32 pm #

    Not drivers but having thought about it a bit more the point of the day when I am most likely to have a collision is my route through the city, Cornhill and Leadenhall the most dangerous group there are the pedestrians that seem unable to see bikes and will often walk straight out into the road in front of me, often talking on mobiles or listening to their ipods. They then give me a foul look as if it were my fault for getting in their way.

  41. Ray 02/07/2010 at 5:22 pm #

    I have a few favourites. The first is the way drivers seem to treat cyclists turning right like they do traffic lights. As soon as you signal to turn right they accelerate to overtake you before you can move out, the 2 worst ones are where I have pulled out on a left bend to turn right on the bend and a blue van man, and a school mum on seperate occasions have actually gone onto the wrong side of the bend to overtake.

    I agree entirely about buses, they seem to enjoy overtaking you and then stop within the next 50 meters so you have to overtake them. They also seem to be the one of the worst on encroaching into cycle lanes especially when they have just overtaken you.

    I cycle a lot on country roads and in general most drivers are OK and wait for a safe place to overtake. However I was almost knocked off the other day when a car pulling a wide trailer overtook me. The car itself didn’t really give me enough room and then the trailer scraped my right leg, luckily it didn’t knock me off.

  42. Peridot 02/07/2010 at 5:32 pm #

    MOTORCYCLISTS! Okay, I’m biased because I travel down Upper and Lower Thames Street but they’re constantly cutting me up in the cycle lane – I’ve even been told to move out of the way so they can go faster past me. And it’s a cycle lane, not a bus lane, with solid lanes.

    I also find black cabs aggressive – they go out of their way to overtake, only to then pull off or turn off.

    And it was a sad day when they stopped equipping cars with indicators – that IS what happened, right?

    • Donk 03/07/2010 at 8:36 pm #

      Totally agree with your first and last comments. I’m really getting sick of motorbikes following me on mandatory (solid white line) cycle lanes. Nowadays I generally stop, block the lane and lecture them. Often very satisfying to see them sat there looking guilty.

      And what is it with indicating? Taxis particularly, usually when waiting at a red-light T-junction when they have to logically turn either left or right. If they’re not indicating, how do I know what side of them to go up?

  43. James Schwartz 02/07/2010 at 5:47 pm #

    Most courteous:

    Here in Toronto, I find taxi drivers are generally careful around cyclists – though there are of course some exceptions.

    Least courteous:

    Definitely BMW drivers. They always seem to be driving their cars like they are on a race track, and don’t always give cyclists a lot of space when they pass.

  44. david 02/07/2010 at 9:20 pm #

    I’m surprised nobody has yet mentioned estate agents. Anytime I see a car in the various estate agent livery I tend to hold back and give it a wide wide berth.

    Other than Estate Agents, I’ve seen good and bad types of all drivers/cyclists. I have noticed that on Monday and Friday evenings the general level of concentration seems to be lower

  45. Titan yer tummy 02/07/2010 at 10:49 pm #

    I have never had any trouble with train drivers – they are my favourites.

  46. bobbie gardner 03/07/2010 at 9:28 am #

    Black can drivers are always cutting me up and drive real close when overtaking and entering bus lanes. Bane of my cycling life, I steer clear from white vans, period.

  47. Higgs 03/07/2010 at 10:56 am #

    Similar experiences to most of the previous posts

    Particularly hate Shepherds Bush (roundabout is a right pain), where drivers don’t seem to know/care what lane their in (Chelsea tractors are the worst for this IMHO )

    Have changed my route to avoid the worst of it but still have the odd wayward driver to deal with.

    Scott Dougall’s suggestion above is a good one.

    • Angi 04/07/2010 at 12:27 am #

      Oh I hate the roundabout at Shepherds Bush…A couple of weekends ago, a crazy and erratic driver (who clearly had no idea what lane to be in) took offence at me actually being in the correct lane and after some dangerous manoeuvres and much swearing, decided to aim his vial SPIT at me…
      I still cannot believe he spat at me!

      Sorry…just had to add this when I saw that roundabout mentioned. :S

  48. sweek 03/07/2010 at 6:56 pm #

    White van drivers: cut you off, love to shout at people.
    Minicab drivers: especially Addisson Lee ones, as mentioned
    Some bus drivers: Can be absolutely awful. I’ve not had many bad experiences with me cycling, but I’ve been on plenty of buses where we almost hit a cyclist, buses going through red and completely reckless driving in general.

  49. Johns 04/07/2010 at 11:12 am #

    Interesting how people riding round the same city can have such a variety of different experiences.

    Personally I have found that professional drivers of all kinds are usually the best. I think white vans are so scary because the drivers have insufficient training for a vehicle of that size. It’s un-PC and obviously a generalisation but I also think the people driving them are likely to be younger, more aggressive and, er, thick.

    I don’t like motorbikes in bus lanes, and voted against it on the TFL website (the policy is up for review in September if memory serves). I must say I haven’t had many problems with m/bikes however.

    What appears to be inconsiderate driving is often just bad judgement about how much room the driver if giving. The trend towards wider cars designs over the last ten years hasn’t helped – a double whammy when being overtaken next to parked cars.

    Overall I would have to say that cyclists push the envelope the most in terms of disregarding the rules of the road, but in general they are also the most friendly.

    • Andreas 04/07/2010 at 11:21 am #

      They’ve renewed the motorbikes in bus lane trial for another 9-12 months (aka its pretty certain it will be permanent)

  50. Robert 04/07/2010 at 3:15 pm #

    I’m being driven mad by the rudeness of other cyclists, cutting me up, turning across my path, queue-jumping at lights (and then blocking my path because they haven’t had the wit to change into an easy gear: or haven’t had the wit to buy a bike with gears).

    But this is mostly just annoying: much more dangerous black cabs, Addison Lee and buses. In the case of cabs and buses, most drivers are fine, but some are extremely aggressive, and the bus lanes don’t offer any refuge. Addison Lee drivers are astonishingly vicious – do they brainwash them, Manchurian Candidate style, to hate cyclists?

    In the end, though, blaming drivers or cyclists is dodging the real issue – appalling road design, especially design of cycle facilities. I rode up to the City from Vauxhall on the new “cycle superhighway” the other day: every time the road gets difficult or dangerous, the blue stripe vanishes.

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