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

  1. peter 04/07/2010 at 11:26 pm #

    I’ve cycled in London, Tokyo, Sydney, LA, Seattle, some others, over the last 30 years, and it’s changed. I agree cyclists are now the worst, but not the most dangerous, after that Addison Lee and Chelsea tractors (or anyone on else on a mobile phone). Black cabs are the best.
    But you get more space and respect nowadays, because there are so many more of us (and not just courier luniatics) and because the cities promote cycling.
    There are many problems, but we must remember that life for cyclists in London has got immeasurably better over the past few years – so here’s to ken and boris.

    • TOM IN london 22/08/2010 at 1:18 pm #

      I cycle a lot in central London and I think I’ve seen just about everything. Top of my list of really dangerous other road users is: boy racer cyclists who have really boring, frustrating office jobs and vent all their aggression when they get on their bikes. Here’s one competition they can win ! They always wear flappy shorts and helmets. They always absolutely have to be first, and fastest. I love catching them up and passing them at the next traffic light. This makes them even more aggressive.

      No. 2 is young newly-qualified (and I’m afraid, Asian) Mercedes drivers. Big powerful cars driven by the sons of Indian or Bangla restaurant owners. They’re completely clueless.

      No. 3 is pedestrians, and people hanging about outside pubs, close to or actually in the cycle lane.

  2. Mike 05/07/2010 at 11:34 am #


    Private hire minicabs. They have next to no respect for anyone else on the road.

    People on the school run. I’m amazed by how much more pleasant my ride to work is during school holidays. Delivering the little darlings to school appears to make you the most important person in the whole universe.

    Hipsters. Shoreditch appears to be full of colour blind cyclists on fixies who just saunter through red lights and over pedestrian crossings.

    Bus drivers, especially the ones who drive bendy buses. They just don’t seem to understand where the back of their bus is half the time, so being over taken by one that pulls in across you or stops blocking a junction is a common ocurrance.

    Anyone who drives while on a mobile.


    Black cabs. Generally, they seem pretty good, I’ve certainly joked with a few of them, and they often have quite a good perspective on city cycling if you talk to them about it.

    Motorcyclists. 2 wheels, similar issues to cyclists, similar awareness of exposure to danger from other road users.

    • Cordelia 09/07/2010 at 2:18 pm #

      Chatting to black cab drivers, several have suggested that the reason they’re generally so good around cyclists is because they’ve all done The Knowledge, mostly on those little scooters with barely more power than a bike. They understand what it feels like to be that vulnerable on the road.

      • Claire 09/07/2010 at 2:27 pm #

        That would go part way to explain why the black cabb drivers with the most murserous intent are old and fat – presumably did their KNowledge donkey’s years ago when they probably did rule the world.

  3. Denis 05/07/2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I’ll say from a cyclisst and pedstrian point of view:
    Worst: Black cab who think they are the kings of the road, others (pedetrians, cyclists) have too move away or they’ll run over you.
    Best: Bus drivers who clearly have recieved a training on how to behave.
    (though I also had a few frights with buses overtaking me, it happened so much less than back cab… also buses drive much more slowly)

  4. Wozza 05/07/2010 at 12:23 pm #

    I’ve only taken to London’s roads by bike in the last six months and frankly I was incredibly shocked by the general level of awareness, courtesy, and tolerance of cyclists by other road users – completely contrary to the horror stories.

    However, the group I wasn’t ready for were pedestrians. So surprised by how many people will just step off a kerb without looking. This has to be the group i’ve had the most run-ins with.

    If we’re pointing fingers, the group that really get me frustrated are those to which you dedicate these pages, or at least the ones who jump red lights. I’ve seen more accidents and near misses that are totally the cyclists fault – in fact I haven’t seen one caused by a car/bus/or motorbike.

    On balance i’d say there isn’t a finger to point. Selfish / ignorant / intolerant people remain just that whether on two legs, two wheels or four wheels. That said, I had my first incident with a white van man this morning – so in the interest of fickleness I’ll put them top for now.

    • Matt 30/07/2010 at 11:49 am #

      Agreed, I have the most close run ins with Pedestrians
      Never had a problem with a Bus

    • Lami 19/08/2010 at 4:49 pm #

      As both a cyclist and a pedestrian I am courteous when it comes to fellow cyclists when out walking and am more than aware of the cyclepaths that share footpaths. But I must say there are some cyclists out there who think they are beyond the road code and have carte blanche to go through red lights and ride on the footpath. Recently I was nearly knocked over by a cyclist when I was crossing the road at a green (whatever the colour is) walk sign. The abuse I got even though he was in the wrong for going through a red light.

      Then there was the middle aged lady who shouted at me to get off the footpath. Unfortunately she got me on I bad day so I had no hesitation to have it out her. Her response, all footpaths in that area (Southwark) are cyclepaths therefore she had priority. What the…???? She was almost right, there was a cyclepath nearby but she wasn’t riding in it. I did point that out to her but she repeated her nonsense about the entire footpath being a cyclepath.

      So cyclists aren’t all saints there are plenty of sinners out there. Just go to London Bridge during rush hour (at the turn-off to the station), you’ll see plenty of examples.

      As for cycling on London roads, hate it. Used to cycle everwhere when I lived in NZ and felt safe at all times. Then again cycling has been a way of life in NZ for a very long time, almost everyone does it. London is getting there and is moving in the right direction but has a long way to go. I mainly stick to routes that have marked out cyclepaths but I still get cut off by cars. It’s good that Boris is a keen cyclist himself as he is only too aware of the dangers. I think he is doing a good job when it comes to cycling in London.. long may it continue.

  5. chris 05/07/2010 at 12:39 pm #

    We are; when I’m a pedestrian and a driver, I’m a bit disappointed in the behaviour of many cyclists.

    But then there are good WVMs, bad black cabs, courteous HGVs and blissfully unaware motorcyclists.

    On the whole, the second-worst are what we used to call rep-mobiles: the middle range company cars, middle-aged middle managers listening loudly (with the window open) to middle of the road music. Everything’s average, including their road awareness and ability to share.

    The worst, though? Anything with a green circular badge in the rear window. So good of TFL to mark the worst offenders.

    With a special mention to Addison-Lee, the worst of the worst.

    • Karl 06/07/2010 at 3:55 pm #

      How often I’ve nearly been knocked off by bike and just know I’m going to see that little yellow circle in the rear window.

      On the whole, there are idiots and there are people that take care.

  6. Beate Oera-Roderick 05/07/2010 at 2:38 pm #

    My vote for least corteous drivers goes to anything decorated with an England flag…

    As for best, I find the black cabs quite decent.

  7. Wheels 05/07/2010 at 4:02 pm #

    !? Black cabs are the worst, worse than vans (OK – maybe not as bad as Addison Lee). There have been so many times when cabs pull out in front of me and I have to slam on the breaks to prevent myself from flying over their bonnet.

    I’m always impressed by bus drivers myself though, must be a nightmare job.

  8. el-gordo 06/07/2010 at 2:38 pm #

    As has been said in previous posts there are good and bad drivers of all vehicles.

    Unfortunately, without question, I would say that cyclists are the least courteous to all other road users. I have been cycling regularly in London for the last few months and I am genuinely shocked at the actions of the majority of cyclists.

    Sudden lane changes, undertaking at junctions, failing to signal any sort of intention to other road users and ignoring people on zebra crossings are, sadly, the norm. As for red lights, how and why do cyclists not think they apply to them!?! I have seen 3 accidents in 6 months – all involved cyclists jumping red lights. I fear it is only a matter of time before I see a serious accident.

    The worst of the worst are those people who you overtake and then they sail past you and through the red lights while you are stopped, so that you have to overtake them again further up the road. Overtaking is probably the most dangerous thing to do in London (if you are cycling properly) and their lack of courtesy transfers all that risk on to you.

    • Karl 06/07/2010 at 4:00 pm #

      So sad and true.

      I once stopped at a set of lights (I usually do) and some bloke behind me obviously thought I would sail right through as he hit his breaks then started shouting at me for stopping, apparently because he nearly crashed into me.

      I see many more police out these days stopping people that jump lights. I’m not sure what the law says around this but I have a driving license that I would like to keep.

  9. Maria 07/07/2010 at 1:36 pm #

    I’ve just started cycling to work, I’m a beginner really, I’ve not had any problems with black cabs either which I was suprised about! I even gave way to a white van today who was curiously waiting for me to go through. I had a cycle lesson to give me confidence in my road use and I found this really helpful, I was getting a lot of aggro from drivers, sometimes undeserved, sometimes because I’m not communicating with the driver properly. I really think anyone who isn’t road savvy, ie not a car driver like me, should have some lessons so you can understand what to look out for on the busy roads of London.

  10. Gary 09/07/2010 at 9:56 am #

    Cyclists, followed by

    Taxi or Bus drivers

    Mums on the school run, who have to get there at a specific time, even if they are late.

    T0ssers on mobile phones

    White van men who seem to think that indicating is not part of driving a white van (other colours available)

  11. Jules 09/07/2010 at 10:17 am #

    i’ve been thinking on this and have further developed my goodies and baddies theory.

    A baddie is generally all road users (cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers, buses, cabbies, pedestrians quite often) who are in a hurry – anyone who wants to get somewhere quickly will usually be more aggressive and therefore less tolerant of other road users. this is why messengers and couriers (sp?) and mini-cabs tend to come off badly on our lists where as bus drivers (who have massively improved over the last 3 years from my experience) and black cabs tend to be more liked.

    a goodie is generally someone who’s less bothered about time, they have the time to pay attention to what’s going on.

  12. Sam 09/07/2010 at 6:48 pm #

    I’ve actually found the bus drivers in my patch (Ealing) to be really nice. We have the bendy buses here, and I’ve had no problems with their tail ends (although I could say something about my back end being roughly the same size as theirs and therefore making the rest of me pretty visible too). Coming up one bit of the Uxbridge Road, eastbound, I actually had one keep behind me and out wide – whether to not cut me up or to act as interference against other drivers I’m not sure, but it was much appreciated.
    Haven’t had much trouble with black cabs either, but minicab drivers terrify me, as do people in MPVs. They do seem to think it’s them v EVERYONE ELSE, no matter how vulnerable the elses might be.

    WVM: For the first time in ages I’ve had a routine commute the past few weeks, and there’s one van driver I’d swear cycles himself, because like my nice bus driver, he seems happy to take any honks and generally treat well any cyclists he encounters. On the downside, there are a few I’ve seen most mornings who just don’t seem to see anything unless they’re right on top of it.

    I agree that, broadly, the goodies are the ones who aren’t in a hurry, or who know how long it’ll take to get somewhere and adjust their expectations of the journey to match: if it takes 30 minutes to get somewhere in good conditions, there’s no point revving and cutting people up if you only have 20 minutes to get there. Accept you’ll be late and arrive a bit calmer than you would if you pushed yourself.
    I’m a pootler on the bike and in the car, so I have no problem letting other bikes and drivers do their own thing, as long as they’re considerate of me. Sadly for me, I’ve yet to be able to apply this attitude when I’m on foot.

  13. robbie craig 10/07/2010 at 4:38 pm #

    Generally garee with comments so far. The worst are pedestrians who just step off into the road or keep crossing when the lights change, or use the cycle crossing point right next to the pedestrian crossing and then get all shouty as you bell them and squeeze around them. Turning off Charing Cross road into Long Acre is worst.

    Taxi drivers seem to be a locational hazard – mostly OK, but on the road between StP and KX – aaargghh. The period after the congestion charge is lifted is worst in general- all the very worst quality private vehicle owners descend on the centre of town and block it up.

  14. Dave 12/07/2010 at 10:29 am #

    Had two incidents last week with lycra-clad mental cyclists speeding through red lights. I was stationary at the front of the traffic at a red light and had the audacity to yawn and stretch, at which point, unsighted to me, a cyclist flew past me, smashing into my extended right arm. As he cycled through the red light he turned back to me bursting with anger and screamed abuse at ME for hitting him. I just stood there silently, heart thumping like mad, arm very sore indeed.

    The second incident was pretty much the same except it involved a stationary motorbike at red light. I was also at the front, over on the left, and a cyclist came flying through the traffic and either clipped or came very close to clipping the motorcyclist who was adjusting his position. Not sure what the outcome was but when the lights went green that motorbike took off like a bat out of hell on a definite revenge mission.

    Just to balance things up, I got run off the road by a taxi last week behind Oxford Street. Nothing bad came of it – I reacted immediately, applied the breaks, and stopped before crashing into the roadworks that I had been bodily pushed towards. I *politely* confronted the driver at the next red light and his response? “F** *** you little *****, I didn’t even touch you!”

    • TOM IN london 22/08/2010 at 1:04 pm #

      Can’t anyone in here spell “brakes”?

  15. Murray 13/07/2010 at 2:44 pm #

    I think that the number of cyclists on the pavement is seriously overstated by moany pedestrians. After all, I regularly encounter pedestrians on cycle lanes who shout “Get off the pavement!” at me.

    • paul 19/07/2010 at 7:16 pm #

      echoed by the same number of cyclists who shout abuse at pedestrians who walk on a cycle path. You dont pay Road tax so who are you to shout at pedestrians? The pedestrians you refer to a perhaps colour blind imbeciles who know no better.

      • Dan 27/07/2010 at 11:08 am #

        paul: We all pay ‘road tax’ because upkeep for roads comes out of council tax.

        Motorists choose to pay the amount of VED/car tax by the type of car they buy. Bicycles, if put to the same standard, would fit smartly into Band A (VED exempt). VED doesn’t pay for roads, it goes straight into the Treasury coffers along with other ‘luxury’ taxes.

  16. Nicole 15/07/2010 at 3:07 am #

    I’m afraid I have to agree with those who are being overtaken by cyclists speeding through red lights whilst waiting. A red light means stop, not everybody stop except cyclists who think they’re cool enough to run them!

    And I really think that some sort of acknowledgement to courteous drivers goes a long way, especially if other drivers see it. It might at least make them think.

    Since I’ve been commuting, I really have been shocked by how many motorists are happy to risk the life of a cyclist for the nano-second it would take them to brake or manoevre more safely. As has been noted, it all depends on how much of a hurry they perceive themselves to be in. Sad really, that they think those extra few seconds matter more than life. But there it is….

  17. Steve 15/07/2010 at 1:31 pm #

    After 40 years of cycling I reckon a big help is treating each category of driver differently – I expect one set of behaviours from black cabs (they aren’t usually under time pressure, but they are under pressure to take any fare they can – so expect sudden swoops to the kerb) and a different set from white-van-man (usually under time pressure because they are often self-employed, poor rear-view due to no windows at the back). Equally, buses have fixed stopping points and have to be assertive in getting away from the bus stop.

    Once you know what is typical for a type of driver you are much less often surprised or caught out.

    To motorists who never cycle I would say cyclists are another category; we don’t usually have the ability to break the speed limit like motorists frequently do, but we are highly manoeuvrable and can stop on a sixpence, which can surprise a non-cyclist. Getting up to speed on a bike takes some effort, so we try to keep the speed up (and yes, that makes it more tempting to whizz through a red light if it looks ‘safe’. Similarly, cycling over a deep-set drain lid can wreck a wheel, so expect us to jink around them.

    I think London is one of the best places I have cycled (including Oxford, the Netherlands, Aberdeen and Oman), largely due to the patience and courtesy of the average London motorist.

  18. matt 16/07/2010 at 11:06 am #

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned Royal Mail vans. They scare the b’jesus out of me. I’ve had more shouting matches with psycho postie drivers than anyone else, including one recently who accused me of racism because I was yelling at him for almost killing me. Silly sod.

    I’ve got stick up for WVM though. Sure there’s the odd delinquent, but I have found more often than not that if you’re courtious to them, you’ll get the same treatment back.

    Addison Lee drivers are awful.

  19. Eddie 19/07/2010 at 7:06 pm #

    Taxicab drivers must have changed since I was a bicycle courier. I found them without peer as being the most inconsiderate drivers when it came to cyclists.
    Of course they are distracted by the need to find fares, so pulling up and over without regard and U-Turns are to be expected.
    What I didn’t like, was the likely lack of an apology; as if they felt that they had more right to use the road than a cyclist.
    I think I came close to blows with more Taxicabs than any other vehicle.
    Second was bus drivers. This time pulling out without looking and clearly upset that bicycle were allowed in bus lanes.
    Don’t remember having a problem with a white van. Only once when one was parked and opened his door without looking….and that was a small white van.
    Considering I was doing around 140 kms per day around London, it paints a fair picture.
    Then again I was more concerned about dangerous driving than anything else. Relevant when you are cycling at 30 miles and hour on a bicycle in London

    Seems that things have changed since then.

    • Fin 02/08/2010 at 7:49 pm #

      I think things are very different cycling around central London (zone1)..thankfully I don’t have much cause (or have found reason to avoid) going into the very centre of London and the few times I have it was definitely a case of every man/woman for themselves…taxis, buses..the resentment at having to share the road is absolutely clear and they behave accordingly. Black cabs are stopping and starting so much more so their bad behaviour is much more obvious!

  20. paul 19/07/2010 at 7:12 pm #

    As a motorist motorcyclist and cyclist, I find cyclists amongst the worst road users. A significant number bimble around with either a high and mighty badge and are quick to shout abuse at pedestrians who dare to use the road in the not the same exacting standards as a non road taxpaying cyclist. I find that a few still insist on listening to head phoned music and fail to use lights on their bicycles which beggars belief.
    Generally most see that they are flesh and bone and act accordingly on the roads but sadly those who think that the rest of the road users should give them right of way and allow them to cycle down the centre of main roads, obstruct junctions, nip in and out of moving traffic without the ability to accelerate, cycle in blind spots of lorries etc really they are nothing but a nuisance.
    Take a test, pay a nominal road user fee, have a fine system for those selfish ignoramuses who don’t see the need for lights, courtesy, and common sense. Then the bleetings of bicyclers will have a bit more relevance.

  21. Bassjunkieuk 19/07/2010 at 8:39 pm #

    I normally stop reading any comments as soon as “road tax” is mentioned but I thought I’d entertain you for a while…….
    First off lets clear up that little “issue” – there is no such thing as ROAD TAX. It’s Vehicle Excise Duty which is charged based on the amount of pollution that the vehicle puts out. Bikes don’t emit CO2 so therefore fall into the £0 banding 🙂 This may surprise you as there are actually some cars that don’t pay VED either, those being those “lovely” little electric cars like the G-Whiz et al.

    As for cyclist riding around with headphones on I think that’s a bit of a moot point. I’ve seen many cars driving around with stereo’s that I could here on the other side of town, surely they are less aware of what’s going on around them – all locked up inside their noisy rattling tin box then someone with an iPod on and some headphones in who is riding with no barrier between them and the traffic. In fact some of the worst cycling I’ve seen has been by riders sans-headphones.

    As for the argument about rides who think they own the road I personally see nothing wrong with most of the behaviour you have described. I’ll often ride my bike in the same way a motorbike or scooter would in traffic. If that means riding down the centre of the road I will especially as I’m usually much more visible on that side and have a load more room. I won’t bully my way through and will drop back into a safe gap if I see something coming the other way that means I’m obviously in the way. I’ll also happily filter through traffic as most of the time in London I’m one of the fastest moving people in the queue and if I do find myself out of place I often find that a quick shoulder check and making eye-contact with the drive behind me is enough to get the driver to acknowledge my presence and let me back across. As for the “without the ability to accelerate” I’d assume you haven’t seen some of the riders in London, whilst I can’t speak for every cyclist I know I have a good turn of speed when needed 🙂

    As for the cyclist who fail to use lights they do worry me too, but then so do the drivers who insist on driving whilst on their mobile phone or feel that racing round me on my bike so they can swing back in to get past that traffic island ahead to save a few seconds feel that it is acceptable behaviour to endanger my life for the sake of arriving at the back of the next traffic jam a tiny bit quicker.

    • Gary 21/07/2010 at 10:39 am #

      Good point about VED.

      Also, the upkeep of your local roads comes from YOUR council tax, so you are entitled, as much as anyone to cycle on the roads.

      Headphones, the only time I was knocked off my bike (car turning left) was when I had headphones on, so don’t wear them.

      Lights. Come on people, for the sake of a couple of quid you can ensure drivers see you.

      • Bassjunkieuk 21/07/2010 at 12:31 pm #

        +1 for the cheap lights, with the recent boom of LED lighting it means you can get some rather visible lights for pocket money relatively speaking. I picked up a set of white and red triple LED that can either mount on my handlebars/stem via the elastic mount (used as a back up if I get caught out at dusk now…..) or when I use them during winter I put them on my helmet for extra visibility and something I can point at drivers 🙂

  22. Dani Riot 22/07/2010 at 3:17 pm #

    i just hate the idiots who come zooming down the bus lane when they have no reason to be there.

  23. Doug 26/07/2010 at 7:09 pm #

    I was a wee bit surprised about all the praise for bus drivers. They seem to brighten their day by deliberately squeezing over another 6 inches if they think you might whip up the inside as they become stuck on the approach to a red light. If I sense one behind me, I always adopt the “don’t look back” survival technique – they seem to think we feel safe as they follow with one meter gap at 20 mph.
    I do agree that black cabs are the safest – I guess it is wholly their livelihood, so knocking one of us would put them off the road for a while, just with the paperwork. That said, the older and larger the driver, the greater the chance he (invariably) will deliberately find some reason to honk and be tiresome.
    Motorcycles always bug me when they join us in the killer trap ahead of the rest of the traffic – but in doing that, they’re certainly no worse than the buses which love to pop in there too. That said, I’d never had a problem with one until the harley boy started shouting at me last week – for stopping at the white line on a red….?
    We, sadly, are so much worse than anyone else. It’s a dog eat dog world, but some of the big dogs really won’t give a damn about any of us if they keep seeing stupid red light runners and pavement hoppers.
    …Boris, when will you crack down on the ASL abusers?

  24. Dan 27/07/2010 at 11:28 am #

    – Pedestrians (by far – you can tell who’s a walking driver and who isn’t)
    – White vans
    – Anything with the TfL private hire sticker
    – A particular stable of minicabs in Streatham
    – Large German-made marques (the drivers of which don’t seem to realise how wide they are)
    – Scooters

    – Buses (thankfully I don’t commute with bendies any longer)
    – Estates
    – Chelsea tractors
    – Other cyclists (let’s be fair, some are great while others are piss-poor)

    – Black cabs
    – Police/emergency vehicles
    – Proper motorbikes

    I’ve been taken off my bike six times in nine years of cycling in London (touching wood for the future as I mention it!):
    – two left hooks (one by an uninsured driver)
    – T-bone by a white van with, thankfully, a low bonnet I could skid across
    – driver’s door opened into my shin
    – sideswiped by bus
    – pedestrian running out into the road (he got a concussion, I got a new helmet and glasses)

    Always, always, ALWAYS ready to stop, use the life-saver look (over my shoulder when overtaking), riding defensively and assertively.

  25. Mr Jon 28/07/2010 at 2:12 pm #

    Helpfully, some cars seem to be required to stick a round yellow dot in their back windows. It seems to indicate ‘nut-job’ and London cyclists would best treat these drivers with utmost caution. When you see a silver Mercedes, especially one with the large yellow dot… start saying your prayers: these seem to be driven by murderous nut-jobs.

  26. Selrouge 29/07/2010 at 10:25 am #

    Who are the least courteous drivers?

    Without a doubt Post Office Red Van drivers – except when I am wearing my old reflective postman’s jacket in which case they think – “One of us”, and give me lots of space.

    Closely followed by British Gas van drivers.

  27. Erin 29/07/2010 at 3:36 pm #

    I have a relatively short commute to work so I guess my run-ins aren’t as many as those that might be on their bikes for longer each day.

    It has been my experience that other cyclists, motorcyclists, and the white vans are the worst – and in that order.

    I have been cut off, shouted at, sworn at, edged to the kerb, and even knocked off my bike by other cyclists. The latter happening on two different occasions when my tires was clipped by another cyclist, knocking me over, and the cyclist then shouted at me as if I was to blame. I was the one waiting at the light with my lovely hi-vis jacket on and lights flashing whilst they were the ones barreling through the light like speed demon. On both occasions I had drivers stop and offer assistance while the cyclists just sped off as if they hadn’t just committed what essentially was a hit and run.

    I see more near accidents on the road due to cyclists zipping around than I do because of cars or trucks or buses. I think some cyclists often forget that the share the road concept isn’t meant simply for vehicles to share with cyclists but for all of us to share with each other.

    I think cyclists are also more of a problem because every time one behaves poorly or pisses off a driver or isn’t mindful of another cyclist it makes us all look bad.

    Motorcyclists are just loud, aggressive, and take over space intended for cyclists with little regard for anyone but themselves. But they have little regard for cars, trucks, or buses either so it doesn’t feel to me like it is an anti-cyclist thing but just an arrogant, impatient, self-absorbed motorcyclist thing.

    White van guys – I’ve had only a few incidents with van drivers and all of them involved veering into another lane or turning without properly indicating.

    As for mini-cab drivers – the only bad experiences I have had is when I am in one and they go off on a rant about bikes and cyclists.

  28. Andy 30/07/2010 at 2:43 pm #

    I’ll second the black cab drivers as being the best. I live in Edinburgh and feel much more relaxed with a black cab driving behind me rather than a regular car.

  29. Roy 30/07/2010 at 3:17 pm #


    My vote by far is coach drivers on the daily commute they think they own the bloody bus lanes, not only do thay cut us up they do the same with everyone else, i’ve had more rants at them than anyone else on the road. Next up mini cabs Addison Lee, TFL stickers, the whoe bleedin lot couldnt give a toss who else is on the road as long as they are where they wanna be.

    Other cyclists come next, although i’ve not seen any accidents involving or caused by a cyclist there have been countless countless incidents where there is total disregard for anyone else using the road, most couriers must have colour blindness as a requirement in their job description, and the bike shed johnny’s who think lets take the bike to work for a change today i’ve no idea what i’m doing out there but who cares anyway, and these are the worst offenders for sailing straight through the lights, which pisses everyone else off on the road and then we all get tarnished with same brush.


    Must agree with other posters black cabs are my number 1. and they have got a bit better in the last couple of years, if i’m in my usual spot out of the gutter almost all hang back just abit until i’ve sussed them which I usually have by then anyway.

    Well thats my rant for now

    Cant wait till hometime so I can get out there and piss of a few more Coach drivers because i’m in front of them in the bus lane.


  30. Murray 30/07/2010 at 6:46 pm #

    I just wish Black Cab drivers could learn not to overtake and then immediately stop just because they think that picking up a fare is more important than my life…

  31. coffeekat 02/08/2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I do not wish to cause offence to those people who like their sports cars, but I do have a serious problem with people who drive too fast with cars that accelerates too fast in those parts of London that is clearly unsuitable for such type of vehicles.

    I am a beginner cyclist so have been cycling very carefully in quieter streets marked for cyclist. I have bad experience, both as a pedestrian and cyclist, of almost being run over by fast cars that can’t break fast enough. They also have the worst attitude – acting as if they own the road and no-one should stand in their way of their road experience.

  32. Fin 02/08/2010 at 7:35 pm #

    I have just discovered this website and what a find! I found all these comments really funny since I make a daily list in my head of who the worst offenders are!! Today was particularly hair-raising for some reason..but my top offenders are..

    Addison Lee – Hello welcome to the world, other people exist!
    Private hire minicabs – I see the little TFL approved sign and avoid like the plague. They NEVER indicate.
    SUV’s/Chelsea Tractors – totally oblivious.
    Pedestrians – I actually got shouted out by 2 women and the child in their “care” (nice example there) while I went through a junction – I had the green light and they were jaywalking. Ha! And then there’s all those countless darlings that just step off the footpath..
    Black cabs – not so bad really..not the worst

    But what is with people turning left?!! They don’t look or indicate..your first clue is when they are about to hit. I have had more run ins with this than anything else. Especially on the new Merton Supercycle Highway (aka stupidcycle highway)

    The Goodies (the goodies…)
    Buses, funnily enough..they seem so much more patient than everyone else

    Unfortunately though, more often than not, when cars etc actually see me and are considerate, it’s the exception and not the norm. Then again, a pedestrain thanked me and gave me a big thumbs up the other day because I said “excuse me” and slowed down to negotiate passing him by..
    So I think we’re all to blame and need to take many collective calming breaths!!

  33. Sarina 05/08/2010 at 1:03 pm #

    I agree with Erin, some of the cyclists I encounter on the way to work are locked in a world of their own – and if they hurt someone, or smash into a car, then it’s all us decent cyclists who look rubbish and we get MORE abuse of motorists.

    My personal hatred are pedestarians who step out randomly into the road or cross a road suddenly without looking. I grew up with a mixture of fear and respect for the road; there’s no way that I would cross without checking both ways. I nearly went into a woman texting on a blackberry whilst slowly ambling across City Rd. Lucky I was going at a decent speed and can stop quickly – if I was a motorycyclist I woud’ve killed her.

  34. Sam 09/08/2010 at 2:00 pm #

    TfL licensed minicab drivers are without exception the worst drivers on the streets of our fair city. They appear to treat cycle areas at the front of queues at traffic lights as their own personal areas and feel that an indicator is an optional extra that a car really doesn’t need.
    The best are the black cabbies (proper cabbies, not like those half trained, half witted, barely legal aforementioned individuals) and motorcyclists – as I always get the vibe from them that 2 wheels should stick together

  35. Murray 10/08/2010 at 11:25 am #

    Those of us on two wheels should stick together? I hope you don’t mean that motorcyclists should be able to use cycle lanes and the ASL as well? Because most of them certainly seem to think they can. I’ve actually had my wheel kicked (and it was buckled so I had to buy a new one) because a motorcyclist objected to me being “in the way” in front of him on an ASL. Another motorcyclists who thought he had more of a right to be in the ASL than me kicked my bike as I moved off, fortunately only making me wobble a bit rather than have an accident. And are the police interested in pursuing these violent and inconsiderate motorcyclists? No, they’d rather go after soft targets like mothers taking their toddlers to playgroup who cycle at walking pace down a footpath.

  36. Charles 12/08/2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I like to know if the people giving positive comment to London black cabs ever cycle in Central London, 2 or 3 of my worst near misses where with black cabs. The u-turns mostly wothlout indicating, the cutting up the list goes on

    I think black cabs. the TFL logo cabs and bus drivers are the most dangerous for cyclists.

    White van comes just behind and general drivers next and a newer more recent hazard are scooters and mopeds who never bother to look but often want to go into the same areas as cyclists.

    With virtuallly no police presence on the rode drivers can drive badly phone text with little chance of being pulled up.

    Maybe banning traffic of adopting alternative day drving like in Rome may make people appreciate the roads more.

  37. russell 16/08/2010 at 11:07 am #

    The best in my opinion are black cabbies, the worst: Buses, motor bikes and as has been said white van drivers

  38. Phaedrus 16/08/2010 at 5:28 pm #

    UPS van drivers are trained to kill cyclists

  39. Max 19/08/2010 at 10:40 am #

    Least courteous drivers are the least courteous people in London – the Cockneys.

  40. kemptonslim 19/08/2010 at 10:41 am #

    Black Cab drivers courteous? Are you mad? If some driver is pulling some stupid and dangerous s— around me, the odds are very good it’s a Black Cab driver. They lost my business forever when one of them shouted at me for daring to use a zebra crossing in front of him. Nasty, horrible human beings.

  41. Neil 19/08/2010 at 10:45 am #

    Worst Drivers:
    Royal Mail (any vehicle – I promptly move over when I see one of these)
    Nissan Micras, (and this is bound to draw ire), especially if driven by a woman. For what it’s worth, my wife agrees with me.
    Cyclists with headphones on.

    I’ve had a one crazy black cab try to kill me, but otherwise, good as gold.
    Newer, more expensive cars (guess they don’t fancy scraping roadkill off their nice paint).

  42. sinisterpictures 19/08/2010 at 10:48 am #

    As a motorcyclist I have the utmost respect for cyclists. There are always going to be idiots from all groups, I see other motorcyclists who in my mind will be in a&e sooner rather than later. As someone has already mentioned, the worst drivers on the road are the cretins that are known as TfL licensed minicab drivers. Some one needs to let these half brained morons know that the little sticker they display does not exempt them from the rules of the road. Why these imbeciles aren’t required to do some sort of driving test is beyond me.

  43. fritz 19/08/2010 at 10:58 am #

    Definitively pedestrians in the City – try and cycle round Moorgate between 8.30 and 9. They will cross the road with the red light AND try and push you off your bike as you cycle past them, while shouting insults at you. Pedestrians in other areas come next.

    Next are garbage trucks, evil bastards the lot of them. Followed by Chelsea Tractors, and white van men. Scooter drivers get bullied by real motorcyclists, so they try to get their own back by bullying cyclists.

    Royal Mail drivers they are not rude per se, they simply whiz around not giving a monkey whether they run anyone over or not.

    Black cabs used to be bad but have improved (except for a few hardcore element). I think they’ve realized there’s too many of us now, and had enough of getting their wing mirrors smashed by angry cyclists.

    I found cyclists are beginning to get ruder to each other. This is not helped by the fad for fix wheels and their unnatural way of slowing down, especially if they are just learning.

  44. Ellie 19/08/2010 at 11:00 am #

    Cyclists are by a long, long way the least courteous ‘drivers’ on the road.

    Weaving in and out of traffic – then getting annoyed when the traffic dares to move and they get trapped.

    Sailing straight through red lights and then getting angry when people dare to walk across the road (the same people who have waited patiently for the crossing to go green).

    Deciding to cycle on the pavement / road despite there being a cycle-lane (Chelsea Bridge is especially bad for this)

    Blasting through parks and scowling at people walking (hello Hyde Park cyclists)

    Over-taking each other without bothering to look behind you to check for traffic

    Cycling incredibly slowly, 2 metres from the curb thus slowing down buses / cars… of course, you do the obligatory ‘glance back and scowl’ as traffic queues up behind you – it is of course, our fault you’re holding us up

    List is endless… at least taxi drivers / white van men etc. are bothered about the idea of knocking down pedestrians. Cyclists, by and large, don’t appear to care about either causing car accidents or injuring people walking.

    I’ve seen 3 traffic accidents since moving to London – all of which were the fault of a cyclist.

    • fritz 19/08/2010 at 11:04 am #

      Here we go, here come the anti-cyclist brigade.

      • Mike 19/08/2010 at 11:22 am #

        To be fair, quite a few of the cyclists here have pointed out that other cyclists can be a bit of a menace.

        However, Ellie’s post is a wee bit Trollish, presumably she’s never actually been out on a bike in London.

        Pedestrians are an omission from this article, but some of them are an absolute menace, especially people gabbing on mobiles who seem content to lemming themselves out into the street.

        I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to bang the brakes on to avoid colliding with them.

  45. Ellie 19/08/2010 at 11:11 am #

    I’m not anti-cyclist. I cycle to work across London everyday… that doesn’t mean I can’t / shouldn’t admit that, by and large, cyclists are the least courteous drivers.

    Basically, if someone’s a good cyclist, great – the masses of comments above don’t apply. If they’re not – then they one of the less courteous ones and deserve all the flack they get.

    • fritz 22/08/2010 at 1:08 pm #

      If you are a cyclist I’m Boris Cameron

  46. Chrissy 19/08/2010 at 11:21 am #

    Tricky one… I have to agree that cyclists are often the most annoying to share the road with. I am one of those irritating cyclists who stop at red light, pedestrian crossings…. there is nothing more frustrating than passing several slower cyclists in traffic only for them to saunter past you through a red making me risk my life again to pass them. Come on people – either learn to ride faster or leave earlier its really not rocket science.

    I have a love hate relationship with black cabs. Generally I find them to be among the most courteous, but my two most recent unpleasant experiences have involved them (on both occasions bumping my rear wheel for daring to be in front of them in traffic on one occasion and at a junction on another).

    The usual suspects of add lee, WVM etc. would probably feature on my list of baddies but in general it is more about the person behind the wheel than the type of vehicle. Some just do not want to share the road with a bike, others are just totally oblivious of other road users – they come in all shapes, sizes and vehicle types.

    Bus drivers I have to say have improved in the past few years, helped I think by the removal of the bendy buses from some routes.

    Also out for commendation are the other lovely cyclists who stop at lights and are generally courteous road sharers – while there are a number who annoy me there are always more there to right the balance.

  47. Michael 19/08/2010 at 11:21 am #

    Sadly the least courteous drivers are the cyclists themselves.

    Ignoring red lights. Driving down the inside when vehicles are trying to turn left. Need I say more.

    The sooner that cyclists have to have licenses and thereby be open to fines etc the better.

    • Mark 19/08/2010 at 11:57 am #

      “The sooner that cyclists have to have licenses and thereby be open to fines etc the better.”

      what like car drivers? They all have licenses, not that not having one is any barrier to stop them driving! As most drivers will happily admit to breaking the law by speeding and a fair few think it’s OK to drive whilst on a phone I don’t think licensing is the be all and end all of good driving.

      Cyclist themselves can already be fined for any traffic violations such as jumping red lights, riding on pavements and the wrong way down one way streets but then that can only happen when there is a policeman/women around to catch them.

      As for your other comments ignoring red lights is just plain stupid and illegal whearas cycling up the left of a vehicle is usually something to be avoided when at junctions and should NOT be attempted when the vehicle is trying to turn left, but that can be a case of lack of road’/common sense.

  48. Beth 27/08/2010 at 11:59 am #

    Black cabs – especially when it’s raining – had one try to drive me off the road last night cos I’d had the temerity to overtake a stopping bus without letting him go first! Wish I’d had a head cam.
    Skip lorries – murderous cretins
    Royal Mail vans
    Addison Lee
    OAPs in private cars
    Supermarket home delivery trucks
    Very occasionally buses have amazed me with a kind and courteous maneouvre – this has happened lately, dunno what’s going on – better training perhaps!
    Other cyclists – ditto most of the above comments. Esp the mild-manned accountant who dons his baggy shorts and helmet and becomes a raving idiot for his commute!
    I was at a police meeting recently where many peopel were arguing for more traffic policing generally, it feels like anarchy out there, from all sides.

  49. mali 30/08/2010 at 1:09 pm #

    I have to say hands down it’s black cabs – even though I wouldn’t play dare devil with a HGV, so they probably come up on top as road kings.

    Saying all that – loving the new bike scheme even though I can imagine a number of riders will be visiting hospital this year after being knocked of. . .

    More bike lanes then I think it’s a step in the right direction. .

  50. Murray 01/09/2010 at 8:32 am #

    Cycle lanes are only any good if they are segregated. And even then it doesn’t take much for them to be used by other people. There is a short stretch of segregated cycle lane on my route to work. This morning I found a postman with his trolley strolling along in front of me and then, further on, a scaffolding company lorry parked on it. As well as being a segregated cycle lane there were also double yellow lines. Obviously, cycle lanes that do not have a barrier between themselves and the road are parked on or driven on by motor vehicles even more so…

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