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. Parky 02/09/2010 at 9:54 pm #

    worst. those insane skip lorries then addison lee. they seem to be consistently horrorshow, but other than that, have had surprising behavior from all comers.

  2. Tom 03/09/2010 at 3:14 pm #

    Ive only been cycling in London for the past month after a something like seven year break from getting on a bike and pretty much every time ive though that someone was driving ridiculously close to me or dangerously cutting me up etc… they have that addison lee sticker in the back window, so i second addison lee drivers as the worst in the city. Black cabs however seem to be very skilled drivers as you say so all taxi drivers are not equal

  3. Colette 07/09/2010 at 5:06 pm #

    The WORST most uncourteous drivers are women! (Sorry girls but it’s true). Even if they go as far as knocking you off your bike some of them don’t even get out of the car. If you do confront them for “not seeing you” (ie. not checking their mirrors, pullling out without thinking or looking etc) then they’re hard faced and will not accept any responsibility. I’ve only ever had accidents / near misses involving neglegent and hard faced women. Twice women driving Minis and I’ve noticed a correlation between bad women drivers and children’s car seats.

    I wish I hadn’t found the above to be true. But it is! Sorry ladies!

  4. Adam 08/09/2010 at 4:52 pm #

    Other cyclists. Its insane how slow cyclists push in front of you at a junction only to be overtaken again and then push in front of you at the next set of lights. This goes on for miles until your route varies. Drives me mad!

  5. bob 09/09/2010 at 11:45 am #

    addison lee taxis are the worst by far

    • Bassjunkieuk 09/09/2010 at 1:41 pm #

      I may have a reason for the fact that they all drive around like inconsiderate sods, they have to drive like nutters to make money!

      Sure I heard a report on LBC saying that they need to pay around £235 a WEEK to use the vehicles and pay for their own petrol so they need to clear around £350 a week (conservative fuel estimate for those estate cars sat around in traffic all day) to even start making some money to take home!

      Still doesn’t excuse them being ******……

    • Tony 12/10/2010 at 11:48 pm #

      I agree,

  6. CB 09/09/2010 at 12:44 pm #

    Buses, White Van drivers, Black Cab drivers, HGVs, can all have their moments but without doubt you had better get out of the way of Royal Mail vans – they are a law unto themselves.

  7. KA 19/09/2010 at 8:04 pm #

    White van drivers. In the past week I’ve had 3 honk at me to get my attention simply so they could catcall and yell rude things. Besides nearly making me jump off my bike from surprise at the car horn right beside me, It leaves me feeling threatened by both the vehicle and the man at the wheel.

  8. mali 20/09/2010 at 9:32 am #

    Well KA,

    It might be an idea for you to wear a helmet then this may help disguise your beauty that is having these drivers loose their control.

    Hope things improve and you can ride in peace. . . !

  9. jammyshark 23/09/2010 at 2:34 pm #

    Hackney Homes van drivers, inexplicably but consistently lethal.

  10. vlad 27/09/2010 at 11:21 am #

    There are considerate people, who like to take others needs into consideration and relise that the whole world does not revolve around them and then there are inconsiderate people, who are the opposite.

    Some of these inconsiderate people choose to walk around the city, some choose to drive their cars, vans, buses, etc, some others choose to cycle, etc, etc.

    I don’t see a strong correlation with “van drivers this” or “pedestrians that”. There are just rude, inconsiderate people out there and they happen to be cycling today, or walking tomorrow, or whatever.

  11. Headhunter 27/09/2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Certain WVM is no saint but on the subject of buses or black cabbies I find cabbies are far, far worse. Buses are slow and although they get in the way they’re generally easy to nip around and I find the drivers are generally very aware of what’s going on around them and generally careful. Conversely cabbies assume they own the road.

    Their ability to swing round on a sixpence is lethal, I’ve had a few do sudden u turns in front of me with no warning whatsoever. I’ve also had them suddenly pull over in front of me cutting me up, they usually indicate but they turn the wheel to pull over and indicate at the same time, so the indication is of no use because they are already executing the manoevre. They usually behave like this because someone has hailed them.

    One time a cabbie pretty much slammed his anchors on in front of me and pulled over to pick someone up. I had 2 choices, slam straight into the back of him or hop onto the pavement and hope no pedestrians were in my way. I chose the latter and almost mowed down the guy who was hailing the cab in the 1st place. Despite his ridiculous behaviour the cabbies had the temerity to start yelling at ME! I gave a few choice words in response. Bleedin’ idiots some of them.

  12. Claire 28/09/2010 at 2:44 pm #

    Play nicely now!

  13. SM North London 29/09/2010 at 7:42 pm #

    As a newbie city cyclist, I have definitely found white van sort to be most discourteous to cyclists. They normally whizz by way too close, tailgate and are more prone to shout abuse.

    Cabbies and bus drivers are generally quite aware of two wheels and even though they are far more of them about than WVMs, they don’t seem to cause that much offence.

  14. chas 30/09/2010 at 2:49 am #

    lycraclad cyclists! They have no idea! I cycle a normal speed, saving bursts of extra speed for safety, but these lycraclads! They seem to think they are on a race track. For goodness sake, just ring your bell. One of them overtook me today, like an inch off of my handlebar and then broke unexpectedly once he had swerved in front of me! I mean how difficult is it to ring a bell? How difficult is a hand signal? For that matter what is the point of lycra? Don’t they care that it is disgusting? Why do they shove their genitals in the faces of our women folk? Are they just in a world of their own? Or simple bigots who don’t care about the people who live in the inner city areas they pass through. + I-Pod zombification = an utter monster!
    Who is this person? A ghastly commuter serving mammon and exploiting the world.

  15. Claire 30/09/2010 at 1:45 pm #

    Worst experience on a bike so far – this morning, chased down The Highway for 15 minutes by a lorry driver who literally tried to run me down.

    The reason? I kept to the centre of the road going round a bend – knowing that lorries and taxis delight in pushin cyclists toward the curb.

    Twice the driver overtook me in excess of 30mph, so close that he could have brushed my elbow. When I pulled off the road to recover from the shock, the lorry had stopped at the lights and he stuck his finger up at me and blew me a kiss. This had been a near death experience.

    I have spoken to his company transport manager and emailed the chairman. I will write to the Mayor of London and his Transport Advisor. Will they speak to the driver?!

    I alos intend ot speak to City of London Police to see if they have anything on camera.

    • Angi 30/09/2010 at 1:51 pm #

      Oh that’s awful. Had a similar experience with an idiot driver on the roundabout at Shepherds Bush. Reported it and asked them to check cctv and all they could come up with was not enough information to go futher!

      Unfortunately this kind of thing is far too common. 🙁

    • charlie anderson 14/11/2011 at 3:53 pm #

      Did the poice manage to help you with finding CCTV footage of the incident?

  16. Vlad 30/09/2010 at 1:50 pm #

    Disgusting behaviour from said lorry driver! I hope that you keep fighting this until some concrete results are seen!

  17. Simon 08/10/2010 at 9:39 am #

    Minicabs in general (Addison Lee are prob the most visible) are pretty bad, and there are obviously some very bad white van drivers, especially those in hire ones.

    However the worst has to be the London sightseeing bus drivers. I live close to one of the depots of the red and cream ones and have twice been driven off the road by them as they overtake to fast and too close. Once when I caught up at lights and asked if I had seen him I was subject to a torrent of abuse about what I was doing in the bus lane by the driver and his beer drinking colleagues who were all still in uniform. They then overtook me, more safely that time and again shouted at me to get out of the bus lane.
    They just dont seem to have the training of normal bus drivers, or are just not as patient, not being used to the stop / start of regular picking up passengers.

  18. Gayle 08/10/2010 at 12:28 pm #

    For me it has to be Black Cab drivers. They seem to think they own the road – I nearly got ran off the road by one last night. He was letting people out on a red line, as I passed by he tried to pull out, when he noticed me he started hurling abuse as I was in the way. I thought the highway code requests ‘Mirror Signal Manoeuvre’, not just signal and shout if something smaller happens to be passing by!

    The other danger for me is pedestrians. They think any time traffic has a red light it’s safe to cross the road (regardless of a little red man showing). I actually got pushed off my bike by an irate pedestrian who was crossing on a red man as he thought because the traffic was on red too he had right of way. I was coming from a green filter lane for only buses and bikes which was not in his field of vision!

    • Vlad 08/10/2010 at 1:48 pm #

      I agree with you on both points.

      The unfortunate thing about pedestrians is that (as far as I was led to believe) they have right of way <>.

      If this is wrong please feel free to correct me.

  19. Vlad 08/10/2010 at 1:49 pm #

    Just leaving this comment again as my original comment is missing a word:

    I agree with you on both points.

    The unfortunate thing about pedestrians is that (as far as I was led to believe) they have right of way everywhere.

    If this is wrong please feel free to correct me.

    • Mr Jon 13/10/2010 at 2:25 pm #

      Vlad, I’m not sure where you heard that. While it is true that the Highway Code says that motorists (and presumably cyclists) must watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which they are turning and if the pedestrians have started to cross ‘they have priority, so give way'(170). However, pedestrians who wish to cross the road are required to follow the Green Cross Code(7) ie stop, look and listen and then only cross when it is safe to do so. More importantly: at traffic lights there may be special signals for pedestrians who should only start to cross the road when the green figure shows.(21)

      Of course, cyclists ‘MUST obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals.’ (69) (MUST indicates this is a legal requirement, which means that if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence.) Perhaps you mean that pedestrians seem to think they have the right of way everywhere.
      More useful info here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/index.htm

  20. Justin Rolfe 08/10/2010 at 6:10 pm #


    I’m the same… when I’m on a Boris Bike, I have a dangerous mixture of sanctimonious superiorism coupled with a complete forgetfulness that I’m on a a vehicle on a road.

    (The latter forgetfulness is because they are so damn slow, it feels more like walking than being on a vehicle)!

  21. djthorpe 08/10/2010 at 10:18 pm #

    Oddly, I find Addison Lee drivers to be much better than most. For me, the most discourteous drivers are driving Mercedes Benz cars. They seem to have a really arrogant attitude. Followed by white vans of course. I am so scared of large vehicles I stay well away from them at all times.

  22. djthorpe 08/10/2010 at 10:19 pm #

    …and I meant to say, a lot of cyclists seem really bad and potentially dangerous too.

    • Vlad 14/10/2010 at 9:34 am #

      True enough!

  23. lettie 28/10/2010 at 1:20 pm #

    worse drivers in my opinion: white van drivers followed by black cab drivers.

    this morning i nearly got run over by a white van whose driver was a total PSYCHOPATH.
    an utter murderer.

    could anyone advise me how to require the police to check the cctv, please?

  24. Chris 29/10/2010 at 9:40 am #

    I was interested to read Simons comments about the ‘Big Bus Company’ drivers. I also live close to their depot and have come close to being mown down by them on a number of occasions!

  25. Pauline 30/10/2010 at 8:05 pm #

    as a pedestrian in london i have to say without doubt the most inconsiderate road users are cyclists. there are numerous cyclists on pavements, cyclists going the wrong way down one way streets expecting pedestrians crossing to notice them.. and the worst thing – cyclists going through red lights and over zebra crossings when you try to cross. when i was crossing a zebra crossing with my son in a pushchair recently, i had to stop suddenly when i was half way across because a cyclist didn’t stop… he shouted at me to wait! i know it’s not all cyclists, but there’s not one day i don’t come across an incident. this isn’t the case for other road users.

    • Vlad 01/11/2010 at 9:04 am #

      I am a cyclist and Unfortunately I agree with this post. The behaviour of other cyclists has put my girlfriend off cycling alltogether!

  26. Justin Rolfe 01/11/2010 at 11:42 pm #

    This post has been very useful: thanks Andreas for starting it.

    Lots of people seem to be complaining about bikers like me.

    I’ve changed my style at red lights, pavements, one-way streets (when I’m in the wrong), and zebra crossings to a ‘give way to pedestrians and cars’ mode. My 1h05 commute has become 1h08 instead. No big deal.

  27. Jeff 25/11/2010 at 9:47 pm #

    I cycle into work everday and i am a stopper. I see fellow cyclists gambling with pedestrians now and again. Problem is 1 road user always thinks another road user is in the wrong. I think some kind of SAFER ROADUSER campaign is needed. Each member (all types of road user including pedestrians) signs up to being considerate to other road users no matter who they are and what they do (even if the others are not considerate). Time to ask Boris!

  28. mali 26/11/2010 at 12:35 am #

    As much as it sounds like a nice idea, I couldn’t see such a scheme getting of the ground. . . .

    • Jeff 27/11/2010 at 12:48 pm #

      Why would it not take off? City of London could get sponsorship from a big corporate.. What about barclays, they love a scheme, or one of their competitors, maybe HSBC

      The scheme would target all road users. It would encourage pedestrians to use the green x code, cyclists to appreciate other road users, cars and lorries not to speed and give other road users space. There would be a few basic guidelines but above all the main idea would be not to get frustrated if other road users flout the code, just rise above it, like a peaceful non-verbal protest.

      Professional drivers would be encouraged to join the scheme. For example, cabbies, addison lee, lorry firms, etc, etc.

      There are too many stick approaches. This is a carrot approach. The aim being a more harmonious society.

  29. Rozanne Casgrove 10/04/2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Outstanding post, you have pointed out some great points , I besides think this s a very wonderful website.

  30. alp 13/05/2011 at 10:23 am #

    I think its a ridiculous proposition.

    It’s inconsiderate people that are the problem not the mode of transport they are using at the time. I cycle, drive a car & motorbike and walk I don’t choose just one mode of transport and although I love cycling & cycle daily I would not define myself as a cyclist primarily.

    Someone who is a bad, unaware selfish white van driver is likely to behave the same whilst walking, cycling or driving. I cycle every day and have done for 20 years. I have experienced ‘problems’ with all road users from time to time. You might broadly say that professional drivers of all kinds are more of a problem but even that is not true. On one journey I’ll have a bus give way to me only to be cut up by another one 5 minutes later.

    It’s lack of respect and regard for others which is unfortunately rife on the roads and not limited to a single set of road users.

  31. Justin Rolfe 13/05/2011 at 11:34 am #


    This is just a bit of fun not ridiculous: but I agree with you — everyone has moments when they are bad. Just last week I jumped a light and went (almost) straight into a pedestrian (or at least they had to change their behaviour because of me), but I could consider myself normally to be a very considerate rider.

    That said, this thread has identified buses and black cabs *in general* as being pretty good on the road to bikes, and addison taxis to feature highly in ‘negative incidents’. That fits my general experience at least.

  32. mali 14/05/2011 at 10:43 am #

    In response to Alp,

    A good prospective. . . . very well written and good points raised.

    • alp 18/05/2011 at 10:42 am #

      cheers mali

  33. Ken Harman 21/08/2011 at 1:11 pm #

    Black cab drivers for sure are the least courteous and very often very rude and arrogant!
    Bus drivers however i find very patient and civilised.

  34. Chris 28/02/2012 at 11:11 pm #

    A useful thing to note with Black Cabs is whether they have their light on or off. This gives you a clue as to their potential driving style. Much as you might expect the same level of courtesy, patience, tolerance and respect whether the cab has passengers or not, the fact is that when there is a passenger on board Black Cab drivers feel suddenly they own the road. Expect bullying behaviour, tailgating, buzzing past with mm to spare, abuse, swerving and swinging around the road, unexpected U-turns and any number of fun and games. Exemplary drivers they are not.

    Buses are usually fine. White Vans stereotypically awful.

  35. soooz 19/04/2012 at 3:49 pm #

    prius drivers. i have no idea why, perhaps it’s that stupid spoiler across the rear obscures their vision, or maybe people who are daft enough to buy one are daft, full stop, but they are the only cars that consistently cut me up. or perhaps it’s my own fault for cycling in kensington.

  36. David 18/06/2014 at 11:22 am #

    Worst drivers for me, by far, are London black taxi drivers; but then I live just a few minutes from the bustling tourist/business hub, Waterloo, which means every single journey I make I’m surrounded by them and their need to stop for a fare no matter what the surrounding consequences.

    Angry. Rude. Racist. Altogether unpleasant. And very dangerous. I have been curbed so many times now I’ve lost count, to the point that if I’m cycling towards a pedestrian who suddenly raises their hand to flag a taxi, I’m already getting ready to leap off my bike in case one swerves in front of me and slams on the brakes.

    My most recent taxi moment was being taken out from behind at a red light on Westminster Bridge Road. The lights I was approaching went red. I stopped. A few seconds later a taxi went through the back of me. Very scary. Very painful. He lent out of his window and was abusing me before I even said anything. His argument for hitting me is that he thought I wasn’t going to stop. I pointed out it was a red light! His response was that cyclists don’t stop at red lights. That was his justification for knocking me to the ground. He was horrible. Aggressive. Just a really horrible individual. I was so shaken I didn’t get his number before he drove off. 🙁

    Worst general road abusers over all, for me, though, are other cyclists.

    • David 18/06/2014 at 11:27 am #

      Just to add: my experience of bus drivers, considering where I live is also a major thoroughfare for so many bus routes, is care, consideration and respect.

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