Reporting Rude Motorists Through Social Network Sites

This idea just popped into my head as I rolled up my driveway.  A vehicle belonging to a business had just passed me, and while this driver was not rude (and people driving company vehicles generally know better than to pull nonsense like that), I thought about the times I had been able to contact a higher-up at a business to report bad behavior on the part of one of their employees.  The limitation with that is that communication is generally limited to just the immediate contact at that company.

Today many businesses are on Facebook and Twitter.  So, if a driver for a business is rude to you, go to either of those sites and see if the company has a presence there, and become a fan, friend or follower.  Then write a polite, level-headed account of what happened on your status line in Facebook, or a Tweet on Twitter, making sure the company folks see it.  (In Facebook you can post it to the company’s “wall.”) Don’t call for the driver’s head on a platter; just report the facts as you see them.   Add links to the appropriate statutes if you have space.

If the company isn’t on either of these sites, you can still call them on the phone and ask to speak to a manager.  If the behavior was especially egregious, call local law enforcement, too.

12 replies
  1. Keri
    Keri says:

    What was the name of that shuttle service in Key West?

    And then there was the City of Key West truck, the garbage truck and a couple taxis…

  2. Steve A
    Steve A says:

    Well, YOUR thought caused ME to have a thought. And I’m going to act on it if the extraordinarily friendly and courteous concrete truck drivers’ employer is one one of those sites. I’ll bet it’d beat the chocolates I was planning to drop off. There are TWO sides to this and I encounter more classy professional drivers than jerks. EXCELLENT seed thought!

  3. eddie
    eddie says:

    @ Keri:I must come to my little islands defense. I don’t think that your experience riding in key west is typical. we chose to ride in the busiest and most confusing intersection in key west, and then right next to a newly paved heavily used bike path. it was great to practice riding skills, but it did lead to some territorial “geese” honking. And the taxis all have bike racks on them, even if they want to run you over.

    Key west is a tourist town, so we are sensitive of our name cast in a negative light. much like a company like Mighk suggested.

    for a different take on key west streets,
    check this out:
    http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/09/03/key-west-floridas-livable-streets-oasis/

  4. Keri
    Keri says:

    If I were to introduce someone to cycling in Orlando right now, it would probably appear way worse than it normally is (even on residential streets). There is something about the holidays that makes drivers more aggressive and ugly than usual.

  5. Mighk
    Mighk says:

    At the risk of taking this off-topic, Eddie: the sidepath is of course indicative of the problem. Motorists believe bicycling is dangerous and that bicyclists get in their way. They believe “bike paths” and bike lanes make bicycling safer. Therefor, if a cyclist chooses to stay off the “bike path” or bike lane, he or she must be “choosing to be unsafe,” and “impeding motorists” in the process just sends them into conniptions.

    The same thing happened to me on my own street earlier this year as I was was bringing a couple of foster kids home from school with my Xtracycle and a trailer. A guy in a pick-up screamed at me to “Get those out of the damn road.” No doubt because there was a “perfectly good sidewalk” next to it.

    When I was in Key West in 1994, I received no harassment whatsoever while biking on N. Roosevelt. Back then the sidepath was not continuous, there were relatively few cyclists on it, and traffic on the roadway was much lighter.

    If Patrick gets a video camera he should start shooting from that path to show all the conflicts and hazards it creates and post the videos to local forums.

  6. eddie
    eddie says:

    Yes, there are plenty of problems with that sidepath. the utilities, the driveways and the puddles that let cars drench cyclists on said bike paths.
    And also the increased feeling of ownership of the road by cars.
    The weekend was very productive and opened a lot of eyes. John was very impressed and he says he can now understand why a cyclist would choose to ride in the road right next to a mostly pleasant bike path.
    But we all inherit the infrastructure we ride in, and we must try and find a way to move forward in the existing roadway and culture we live in.
    I am glad we got to “drop some science” into the mix.
    My next goal is to really look into some sort of civility campaign, and to give out lots of attaboys to local businesses that are bike friendly like, the taxis with bike racks. Maybe then they won’t try so hard to run us over. 😉
    Shifting paradigms is hard work and we need all the help we can get. We can’t afford to lose the support of our possible allies, who are emotionally and financially invested in existing facilities. And we want to make drivers aware there are good reasons why a cyclist might not choose to use those facilities.
    Maybe next time someone tells me to get on the bike path I’ll yell back “get on the freeway”.
    No, I’ll probably just say “it’ll be alright”.

    • Keri
      Keri says:

      Yeah, John got a nasty puddle shot from a passing car right after we started on the sidepath. That was nuts, like a rooster from a speedboat! I had no idea there could be that much water in the road.

  7. eddie
    eddie says:

    On my daily bike wanderings, I’ve thought of this post, and I think it’s a great idea. well, I think it’s more effective to call the company and say “Most of your drivers are great, but this one driver…..”

    I like the idea of dealing with the company in private before calling them out.

    just not too into public shaming.

    This is great! Now I can’t wait for rude driver behavior so I can call.

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