Chat with a taxi driver

Discussion in 'Commuting' started by magnatom, 4 Mar 2008.

  1. magnatom

    magnatom Guest

    Last week I was heading down to England to visit relatives (my wife went a few days earlier with the kids). I was going down on the train. So I order a taxi to the station.

    Taxi arrives and the usual chat ensues. We are chatting about the traffic and how it is normally pretty heavy on the road we are on (it was light which was lucky because I was running late for the train!). I mention that it doesn't usually have any effect on me as I cycle (oh, oh, here we go....).

    I was surprised when the driver said he was a cyclist too (phew!). Unfortunately he qualified this statement:

    Driver: Aye, but I don't F^&^ing cycle in the middle of the lane like some of those f*&^ing cyclists down on Dumbarton road. It's just like they are giving you two fingers......


    I wish I had my helmet camera on!!

    I attempted in the most polite way I could to explain that there were reasons, safety reasons, why some cyclists decide to do that, and that cyclists that go through training would be encouraged to do that. He just grumbled and muttered. I then happened to mention that I cycle along part of Dumbarton Road and that he could be talking about me!

    Driver: mumblemumble, no I'm sure it wouldn't be you, mumble mumble...


    At the end of the journey I actually gave him a good tip. For two reasons. the main one being that he had got me to the station on time (driving safely I might add, although I didn't see any cyclists!). And maybe next time he will remember the cyclist that gave him the good tip, that cycles on Dumbarton Road, and he might not get quite so annoyed with me.

    We have a lot of work to do, educating drivers. How do we do that successfully?

    Does anyone have any similar taxi experiences?

    (I should point out that there are obviously good and bad taxi drivers! :smile:)
  2. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    On holiday in Spain last year, we had come to the end of a weeks relaxing and splashing around in the villa's pool. The taxis arrived, but instead of two large people carriers there was one and two saloons - not a problem.

    I got in one of the saloons, next to the driver and two of the girls sat in the back, and dozed off. I was chatting to the driver as he very skillfully threaded through the town traffic and onto the motorway to the airport.

    He was tutting about the lack of driver training in Spain, how he quit the police because he got so sick of attending crash scenes. It was a really nice trip, and he talked a lot about cycling in Spain too.

    At the airport we got out, the two girls having slept, and me chatted the whole way. The other saloon rocked up about 5 mins later and the guys emerged white-faced having had their driver take them on a white-knuckle ride, sometimes tailgating a foot away from the car in front! Their driver had also been going too fast and missed the turning for the airport, and taken them on a wheel screeching detour to get there!
  3. Maz

    Maz Legendary Member

    You told him to read CycleCraft.
  4. jmaccyd

    jmaccyd Well-Known Member

    Took a taxi to our hotel in Ghent when going to watch the six day (sadly the year the Spanish rider died on the track:sad:) Having endured a hair raising and downright scary short trip to the hotel we all tumbled out of our cabs looking equally shocked. I drive a London Taxi and my friends looked towards me! All I could say in response is that "I must be doing the job wrong, because I don't drive like that!"
  5. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    South London
    Or the cabbie last night, taking me home, jumped through a red light as some temporary road works. I didn't say a word for once.
  6. trj977

    trj977 Über Member

    I have to go to Paris quite a lot on business. Our offices are in the middle of Paris and I fly into Charles De Gaulle.

    The majority of the time I get a train straight to/from the Airport. However in the past I have had on several ocassions needed to use a taxi to/from the airport always frightened the bloody life out of me on the Peripherique
  7. goo_mason

    goo_mason Champion barbed-wire hurdler

    Leith, Edinburgh
    I once sat in the front of a taxi in Mexico, going from the cruise liner dock to central Cozumel.

    I had to prise my fingernails out of the sides of the seat once we got there... scary, SCARY stuff. They drive like they're on a suicide mission.
  8. A shorter ride; when I used to live in Dublin, on work night out we got a couple of Taxis from Baggot St to Shelbourne Park. The taxi driver we had was a nutter, drove as fast and as hard as he could taken as many narrow back streets as possible ignoring one ways ;). When we arrived at the stadium, who was already sitting there? the other taxi. It had aparrently went a more sensible route and got there faster.
  9. gary r

    gary r Veteran

    i flew to Tenerife for a couple of weeks cycling in the sun,My apartment was on the other side of the island from the airport,as i walked from the terminal building with my brand new Colnago in a bike bag,i was looking for a suitable estate taxi to take the bike (no chance) before i could say anything my bike bag was ontop of an old Mercedes taxi roof rack "secured" by a few bungee straps,Of we set we were soon doing about 80 mph on the motorway with me opening up the window checking my bike was still there,He kept grinning say "OK OK" bloody wasnt OK i was crapping my pants for the hour it took to get to mt resort!!! I was so relieved when we turned off the motorway!!!
  10. yorkshiregoth

    yorkshiregoth Master of all he surveys

    Egyptian taxi drivers anyone? Very scary!!
  11. pbjohnson

    pbjohnson New Member


    your story totally sums up the problem - drivers think it's only polite for cyclists to move to the side to let them past ... regardless of how difficult it makes the overtake. For a cyclist to be riding safely in the middle of the lane appears to drivers as cyclists' arrogance.

    Believe it or not, I've commuted on and off for a year and, until looking at the forums, I was a very passive cyclist (ie: hugging the kerb to let motorists past and ignoring my own safety). It hadn't occured to me that I had an alternative.

    But to an educational solution? Regretably there are just enough poor cyclists for every driver to have an anecdote about them. Doing the PR for actioncameras, every journalist I've spoken to has said, "I hope the cyclists use the cameras to catch their own pavement mounting and red light jumping". So the perception of cyclists is not great and based on the odd bad one - but that's enough I guess.

    Maybe its something to do with a 'right to be on the road' - car drivers, taxi drivers, buses etc all pay tax. Would it make a difference if cyclists paid some form of road tax? Maybe, just maybe, it would add weight to the inevitable argument that "I have as much right to be on the road as you"

  12. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    Brace yourself Paul. This thread is about to be swamped.

    Cyclists all pay for the roads, unless anyone here is will ing to admit to paying no tax. All our taxes go into one big pot, which is then divided up over all the things it has to cover.

    VED is what many drivers think is "Road tax" (a tax which was abolished in the mid-1930's btw), and it is set to be increasing with CO2 emmissions from vehicles - A cyclist is in the same bracket as an electric car ie 0 emissions = 0 VED. Simple.

    Whilst the proportion of taxed income that is directed to road maintainance is vastly disproportional to the wear and tear cycoing causes to the roads. Igf anything, cyclists should get refunds.
  13. Jacomus-rides-Gen

    Jacomus-rides-Gen New Member

    Guildford / London
    Also, only pedestrians, cyclists and horses have the right to the road, motorvehicles must demonstrate an astoundingly low level of competancey, in order to be allowed permission to use the roads.
  14. 4F

    4F Active member of Helmets Are Sh*t Lobby

    I already pay an emission based tax on my car. Why should I have to pay again for using a vehicle that creates no emission ?

    What I actually should get is a tax reduction for reducing my carbon footprint by cycling 5000 miles a year.
  15. biking_fox

    biking_fox Veteran

    Which is probably irrelevant to the taxi driver - but what you are also doing is graciously allowing him* to overtake at some stage, which were you driving your car he wouldn't be able to do at any point! SO all those drivers should be grateful for the lack of congestion we giving to them free of any charge!
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