Taxi Drivers: Knights Of The Road Or Dangerous Idiots?
Yep - it’s that time of year again where we tar an entire section of society with the same brush. This time it’s taxi drivers that we’ll be picking on.
Before I started riding again, I was of the opinion that taxi drivers must be good drivers - if you spend eight hours a day doing something, that’s a lot of practice & learning opportunities to hone your skills.
But then I experienced them up close & personal. With the perspective you get from riding a bike, I found them mostly to be:
- Impatient & aggressive - the quicker they can drop their fare off, the quicker they can pick another up and the more money they make.
- Supremely confident of the width of their car, but unbelievably ignorant of how much space other people need.
- Strung out on caffeine & sleep deprived - unlike HGV drivers, there don’t seem to be any rules about rest periods.
- Ignorant of the law, the Highway Code, and issues like “road tax”. Their basic handbook for all this stuff seems to be The Daily Mail.
Take this morning’s example - I’m riding through Seaton Delaval village on a nice wide road with a 30mph speed limit. A car from Phoenix Taxis pulls level with me, the driver leaning across and shouting what I think was something about getting off the road and onto the cycle path. While he’s doing this, his eyes are on me, and not on the road ahead, and he starts drifting across the road toward me.
The thing is, there’s no cycle path along this stretch of road - just a pedestrian footway. So I concluded that I’d mis-heard the driver, and he was actually complementing me on my lovely bike. Smiling and waving back seemed the only correct response.
Still - could have been worse. I could have met this sort of homicidal London cabbie:
Yes - as you can see with enough practice, anyone can drive like these “experts”!