Last weekend I went to London to see bma, Emily, Glenn and Loupie

While walking into London from Kings Cross on Saturday with bma, we observed a collision between an Addison Lee Cab, and a Boris bike; Luckily the ¿French? cyclist was unharmed, however the driver of the Addison Lee cab was less concerned than he should have been.

Since Addison Lee don’t provide a Phone number (other than 0844 800 6677) on their site, I poked Twitter, and their contact form.

What follows (and will be updated) is my dialog with Addison Lee:

Hi

Sorry to hear you have had problems getting a response. Please could you contact me and / or resend me your original complaint regarding our vehicle LL12EXJ and I will chase it up.

Regards

Al

Alistair Laycock
Marketing and PR Manager

and 

Good Morning

With regards to your email below we need to get some more information from you, it will probably be easier to speak over the phone but if not then we need to know the following information to proceed with this accident.

Accident date
Accident time
Accident location
Full Circumstances (how this accident has happened, who was negligent and why etc)
Any details of the cyclist?

We await your reply.

Thanks

Kerri Mason
Claims Handler

To which I responded to Alistair (CC Kerri) with

Dear Alistair,

GA Road LayoutWalking south along Brunswick Square (B502) on October 27 at 13:50 towards the roundabout at the south end.

Checking behind my shoulder to cross the east exit; I saw a cyclist (Boris bike user)and your Private Hire vehicle travailing south, however having plenty of space we continued cross the junction. Stepping off the south side of the island on the east exit; I heard a loud bang.

Looking round I saw your Private Hire vehicle continuing along the road (first exit), and the cyclist laying in the road.

I shouted at my friend to go to the cyclist, as he is the more qualified first aider.

LL12EXJDespite having slowed down, the driver of the vehicle (LL12EXJ) did not look like he was going to stop.

I took the following photo of his vehicle while running towards him, at this point he pulled up.

Please note the location of the vehicle in relation to the junction. Also there was clear damage to the passenger side where the car and the bike had collided.

As he got out of the drivers door, he was wrapping the headphones of his phone back around his handset.

He was unwilling to walk back to where the cyclist was now sitting up in the road.

  • The driver of the Private Hire Vehicle had attempted to overtake the cyclist on the roundabout (Rule 166 & 167 of the Highway Code).
  • The driver of the Private Hire Vehicle had attempted to overtake the cyclist without giving him sufficient space (Rule 163 of the Highway code).
  • I fear that had there not been witnesses then your driver would not have stopped (hit and run).

The driver of the private hire vehicle took the first exit cutting the cyclist up (cyclist desired second exit); and the cyclist collided with the side of the private hire vehicle.

  • The Driver of your Private Hire Vehicle maintained that he was not at fault.
  • The Driver of your Private Hire Vehicle maintained that it was the fault of the cyclist for not indicating that he was going strait over.
  • The Driver of the Private Hire Vehicle contradicted himself twice about having his indicators on relating to taking left first exit on a roundabout. First he said he didn’t require to use them, then he stated he had them on.

Please note that at the time of the collision the cyclist was being overtaken on a roundabout, by a vehicle, the driver of which was not complying with Rules 163, 166, and 167 of the Highway Code.

If you require any further information please contact me via email.

Yours sincerely,

Philip McGaw

I got  a response back from Liam Dickerson (cc Marketing, and Sarah Elliott)

Dear Phillip,

Thanks for bringing a recent cycling incident to our attention via your Facebook/Twitter postings.

No complaint was ever lodged by the cyclist, as the incident was resolved at the scene. Both cyclist and bicycle were unscathed, and our driver actually took the cyclist onto their final destination.

We take incidents of this nature seriously, and your complaint has been noted on the driver’s record. Repeat offenders are referred for additional training with the Police and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).

The company is aware that as more and more people cycle in London, there is a higher chance of incidents with cyclists and a greater need for cyclist-specific training. Over the last few months Addison Lee has undertaken a series of initiatives to improve the levels of cycling-awareness in our fleet. In partnership with Cycle Training UK, we have initiated practical on-bicycle training for some of our drivers and created an instructional video for our new training website. We have also invested in training our own staff (who are cyclists) to become certified cycling instructors so they can inform our training from a cyclist’s perspective.

Addison Lee is the only cab company to have created a comprehensive taxi-specific cycle awareness training programme and we will be rolling this out to our drivers in full in 2013.

I hope you are satisfied with how your complaint has been handled.

If that’s not the case, or if you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in contact.

Kind regards,

Liam Dickerson
Marketing Executive

Now apart from spelling my name wrong, there are a number of things in this email that don’t make sense… however I will comment on them latter

So another letter back to Addison Lee sent to Liam (ok so I addressed it to Alistair again, I use PDFs to make sure that what they receive is what I wrote).

Dear Alistair,

Thank you for your letter dated November 1st. Regarding the incident between your vehicle LL12EXJ and a cyclist.

The incident may well have been resolved at the scene, however at no point did your member of staff make any attempt to identify himself; nor did he give any details of how to report this incident to a control center (should he not have made you aware he was involved in a road traffic collision?).

The Driver did not take the cyclist onto his final destination, the cyclist took boris bike to the nearest boris bike docking station, and the driver drove off.

The Driver repeatedly tried to pass the blame of the incident back to the cyclist, first claiming that the cyclist was weaving all over the place, and stating that he as a driver did not need to indicate that he wanted left first exit.

He then claimed that he was indicating after it was pointed out that he needs to indicate when leaving a roundabout.

Please remember that your driver was overtaking this cyclist:

  • On a junction
  • Without giving him space required by the highway code.

So by his own actions, and admissions was in breach of the highway code.

His unwillingness to stop would have made this a hit and run incident.

I hope that you will review his testimony, and that he will under go the required training. Including revisiting of the highway code, use of mobile telecommunication devices while driving / listening to music using headphones, and correct procedure for incident reporting.

I am also surprised that you as a company allow your staff to have multiple collisions before re-training them.

Yours sincerely,

Philip McGaw

This got the following response from Liam

Dear Philip,

Thank you for your attached letter. The problem we have is that the cyclist has never come forward to report this incident.

While I do not dispute your version of events, it is a case of your word against that of our driver.

What is clear, is that our driver was at fault for the incident, and did not report it until prompted. This is not the level of conduct expected of an Addison Lee driver. The driver will now be subject to an internal disciplinary investigation, which could result in dismissal. At the very least, the driver will be retrained and reminded of the high standards we expect from our fleet.

The driver has admitted fault for the incident, and the matter will be dealt with accordingly if the cyclist does ever come forward.

Please rest assured we take this very seriously.

Kind regards,

Liam Dickerson
Marketing Executive

Can any one see the problems with this? Ok, I know I am not the cyclist; however if I had not managed to get the driver of the Cab to stop, it would have been a hit and run (Road Traffic Act 1988, §170). bma had memorised the licence plate by this time.

“it is a case of your word against that of our driver.”

And had this been a Criminal Case, I think I would have at this point proved beyond reasonable doubt the driver of the cab was at fault. had this been civil then the balance of probability would have been in my favour a long time ago.

Requiring the cyclist to complain, some one who was shaken, and in shock to think rationally at the time of the incident, to demand from an unwilling driver the details required, a driver who should have first and for most Stopped, Assessed the cyclist, Phoned Addison Lee dispatch and told them that he had been in an incident (note that Liam has stated that the driver did not report the incident).

As for the high standards, I would have hoped that they were higher than my expectations, however they look worryingly low from where I am writing.