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.