Reporting Dangerous Cab Drivers

Last night, riding down a quiet neighborhood street at the end of a lovely bike ride home at dusk, I watched in horror as a cab driver right-hooked the bicyclist in front of me.  That is, the cab driver passed me and the other bicyclist and then – with no signal or other warning – turned right in front of the bicyclist, striking him with the car and knocking him to the ground.  I do not want to say too much at this time, in case there is a hearing or other legal action, but I clearly saw it happen, screamed, and rushed over.  The driver stopped, poked his head out, saw that the bicyclist stood up, and drove off – but not before I memorized his cab number.  The guy on the bike seemed basically okay, but you never know with shock and adrenaline.  I made sure he took my information, in case he discovers injuries or decides to file a complaint and needs a witness.  Another bicyclist also gave his information and a car driver offered.

This reminded me of the story Steve Vance recently shared on Grid Chicago about his hearing against a cab driver who threatened and endangered him.  Steve was meticulous in documenting the incident and following through, resulting in a $500 fine, $40 court costs, and 8 hours of training for the driver.  (I encourage you to read the whole story – fascinating.)  Reporting cab drivers for dangerous driving is easier than reporting other drivers, because there is a mechanism set up to respond to complaints.

After a collision, shock and adrenaline and even embarrassment may push someone to hurry off and put the incident behind him or her, but gathering as much information as possible is so important, just in case someone later needs or wants to use the information.

The Active Transportation Alliance has information on what to do after a crash, including a crash hotline and a crash support group.  Also, here is some past advice for reporting dangerous drivers.  If you see a collision, I encourage you to try to gather information and make sure the victim has a way to contact you as a witness.

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22 thoughts on “Reporting Dangerous Cab Drivers

  1. Steven Vance says:

    Whatever you do, please report the cab driver yourself. This is egregious and the process needs to start right away while the information is fresh in your mind. 

  2. bess w says:

    so true about how you often feel fine immediately, then realize you are actually hurt (or your bike more messed up than you thought) the next day. I once accepted $20 from a car who pinned my front wheel under her tire on a surprise right turn – only after she drove off did I realize it was not just the wheel that was bent, but the fork. Of course, I’m glad I was fine but I wish I had insisted on getting her info instead.

  3. Maxime Paquin says:

    The adrenaline is the worst enemy when it comes to a crash (I don’t even want to call that an accident). I only felt the pain 30  min after my bike crash last summer (lucky me I was still with the paramedic).

  4. I was pinned between my bike and a car back in November. At first, I thought I was fine, maybe a little bruised. I even tried to walk from the accident. But I got the driver’s information and went to the ER. Turned out I had major bruises and swelling that didn’t go away until the end of February, I had constant knee pain and still have trouble, and I needed almost three months of physical therapy to get my knee back into working order. You really never know how bad the injury is at the time! 

  5. Brad Hawkins says:

    Here in Washington State, leaving the scene of an accident is a gross misdemeanor. Report to the police and keep it calm for maximum effect. The taxi company may or may not be ultimately responsible for damages, depending on state law and corporate make-up. Best of luck.

  6. Kyle Wigboldy says:

    Dottie,
    Thank you for listing all of these crash resources.  When a crash does happen many cyclist do not know what to do.  Keep giving this helpful information.

  7. Lisa says:

    It is against the law in Illinois to leave the scene of an accident involving property damage or injury.  Illinois Motor Vehicle Code, 625 ILCS 5/11-401 and 402.  I hope someone will report this incident.

  8. G.E. says:

    Thank goodness you had your wits about you and were able to get the cab info. I’m sure the cyclist, who was likely in shock from being hit, wouldn’t have even thought to attempt to get the information. As Steven suggests, I think reporting it yourself is the way to go so that action can be taken, and so that there is a record of the incident while it’s fresh.

  9. In this case, I wouldn’t even bother with 311. Call the police department directly and give them the cab number, location, and any other info they need. This was a hit-and-run.

    • Steven Vance says:

      I totally missed that part on the first read. 

      Yes, call 911 first, then call 311 to file a formal taxicab complaint. Who knows if the two organizations are connected. Ideally the police would make the taxicab complaint. The driver is held to different standards with their chauffeur’s license that the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) regulates. 

  10. Scott Sanderson says:

    I had one of my closest calls ever yesterday, also with a taxi.  I was waiting at the light going north on Milwaukee at Grand.  Some guy thought he could speed through the intersection after the red turning left.  A driver saw him coming, got on the horn, and he slammed the brakes, looking like he was losing control, sliding straight at me.  I thought I was done, but the car stopped a few feet away from me.

    I was feeling so depressed yesterday because it seems like, if you want to be someone who is healthy and doesn’t use a car all the time, eventually some texting driver or idiot cabbie is going to run you over.

    • Michael White says:

      This driver must be reported.  A couple of weeks ago I was turning left on a two way road, signaled left, moved toward the double center line and was getting ready to turn, when the guy behind me accelerated into the left lane and passed me.  Without my mirror, I could easily have been in the left lane and struck from behind by an accelerating idiot.  No, I did not get his number.

      At first I was angry, but then I felt depressed for just the reasons Scott did.

  11. ladyfleur says:

    I agree.  Report it to the police while the experience is fresh.  I would also call the taxi company and complain to them, but only after calling the police.

    I was right-hooked once many years ago.  I got up and thought I was fine until I realized I didn’t have grip strength in my left hand.  The doctor at Urgent Care didn’t see anything in the X-ray, but I got a call a few days later saying the radiologist thought it looked broken.  It was and it took exactly six weeks to heal. Fortunately, I have a desk job.

    So, as you say, the cyclist may not be OK even if he seems OK after the incident.

  12. GravelDoc says:

    I agree.  Regardless of whether or not the cyclist was injured, (as you have described the incident) the cab driver committed the crime of hit and run.  The driver should be reported to the police and the cab company.

  13. Ridonrides says:

     i hope the victim presses charges!  this happens way too often.

  14. Chrissy says:

    oh my gosh. that sounds frightening. momentum magazine just did a great write-up about what one should do in an accident. a police report is definitely in order. I hope justice is served to this asshole!

  15. Lora Swarts says:

    Stories like this make me an even more cautious bike rider.  I think cab drivers and anyone with a license needs a driving course on how to share the road and respect bikers. Too many times have people opened doors in the bike lane or cut me off and made a right turn, right in front of me causing me to swerve out of the way.  Ignorance is why people get hurt!  I am so happy you were there to take the cab’s info! Definitely report it. 

    -Lo

  16. Lora Swarts says:

    Stories like this make me an even more cautious bike rider.  I think cab drivers and anyone with a license needs a driving course on how to share the road and respect bikers. Too many times have people opened doors in the bike lane or cut me off and made a right turn, right in front of me causing me to swerve out of the way.  Ignorance is why people get hurt!  I am so happy you were there to take the cab’s info! Definitely report it. 

    -Lo

  17. Trisha says:

    How scary. I’ve seen a couple of (thankfully minor) car/bike accidents, but nothing involving a cab. good to know there’s a way to report them!

  18. Steven Crowell says:

    As a cab driver, I endorse and encourage riders to file complaints when it is appropriate. Good drivers have no power to weed out bad ones, just customers do. What needs correction more than anything else is the partition hazards. In Boston, NYC and a few other places the cabs MUST have a partition installed. All the partition does is morph the formerly knife wielding assailant into a gun wielding assailant. Murders continue despite partitions, actually some times there are more murders with partitions. What happens most often is the partition impact injury. In a sudden stop or a collision people are hurled into the partition with great force, face first. Some die.

  19. Have you reported this crime?

  20. Maxime Paquin says:

    The adrenaline is the worst enemy when it comes to a crash (I don’t even want to call that an accident). I only felt the pain 30  min after my bike crash last summer (lucky me I was still with the paramedic).

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