Image credit: Torontoist
The photo above comes from an account of a rather extreme case of bike rage documented over at Torontoist. (UPDATE: The same incident also caused Lloyd to reflect on the appropriate response to motorists littering.) TreeHugger is no stranger to the animosity between bikes and motorists either. From the Tucson driver who laughed at killing a "gay frenchman" cyclist, through to the Asheville man shot in the head for riding a bike in a busy road with his son, it can get pretty fierce. To be fair though, many bikers can give as good as they get—and cyclists have even been known to arm themselves. But James Randerson over at The Guardian's bike blog has an alternative strategy—why not write in and complain?In a post entitled Bike Rage: A Dish Best Served Cold,
Randerson recounts his experiences writing to a taxi company to complain about a motorist who pulled into a bike-only waiting area at some stop-lights, and proceeded to insult the cyclists who politely told him to move.
Obviously writing in to complain is hardly an option with an anonymous private motorist—unless you want to track down their address via their licence plate. But if the driver is a professional, the chances are they will have their contact details right there for you to take down. They may even have one of those "how's my driving" numbers to make it easier.
the question is—does it make a difference? In Randerson's case the answer seems to be "maybe". While the initial complaint was met with stony silence, once he contacted the press department of the company, things moved faster. The result was, apparently, a reminder to all drivers that they need to respect cyclists on the road, and an apology from the driver involved—whose comments had, apparently, been made in jest.
Sure, it's not going to fix the cyclist versus motorist divisions over night, but it's worth remembering that a strategic complaint here or there could help keep drivers accountable for their actions. I'd love to know if anyone else has had any luck with similar complaints.