And yet more evidence that I will one day turn into a grumpy old man, growling at kids and sending angry letters to various companies.
A few weeks ago, I was riding down Canal Street, when I got squeezed by a Peter Pan inter-city bus. Instead of freaking out, I remained calm and caught up to the bus when it stopped at Kennedy Plaza where I snapped a few pictures.
I noted the number on the bus and gave Peter Pan a call later that day. I let them know that RI law requires that motor vehicles pass cyclists with a hazily defined minimum distance. Also, the bus ran a red light. The Peter Pan phone rep took my complaint in a friendly manner, although at one point there was the following exchange:
Peter Pan: “So it was legal to ride a bike where you were riding.”
CFPVD: [eyes narrowing, anger rising, sense of self-righteousness about to be unleashed] “Yes, it’s legal to ride a bike on any street in the city.”
Peter Pan: “Oh, oh, oh, um, I’m sorry I just wanted to make sure”
CFPVD: [realizing the the phone rep didn’t know I was on Canal street and not on an interstate] “No problem.”
I then holstered my self-righteousness.
With my complaint filed, I figured that this would probably end like my complaint to RIPTA about a driver who yelled at me to get off the road.
However, just a few days later I received this:
A letter of apology from Peter Pan!
Thank you for taking the time to contact Peter Pan to report you observations of one of our coaches.
First, I sincerely wish to apologize to you for the apparently unprofessional conduct of our driver. Peter Pan takes great pride [blah blah, safety record, blah blah]
Please be assured that the matter has been reported to our Safety Department, as well as the driver’s supervisor, for their review and investigation; and to counsel the driver accordingly.
[blah blah, please ride our bus line and not Bolt Bus]
So, what does this mean? Has my complaint done anything to increase safety for myself and other cyclists? Or have I just made a bus driver have a shitty day? Or did I just get a lame and poorly printed form letter from a bus company (seriously, it looks like it was the last thing printed before they changed the toner cartridge) There’s no way to know for sure, but it was certainly a better response than what I got from RIPTA.
Speaking of responses from RIPTA, I heard from a cycling friend about another cyclist’s near collision with a RIPTA bus (that is, the bus colliding with her), followed by the driver telling her to “bike on the *#%kin’ curb.” That was after the cyclist confronted the driver regarding the near collision. Details are still sketchy, I’ll put my team of reporters on the case. Hopefully, the cyclist got the number of the bus. Then she’ll be able to call an overworked RIPTA phone rep and file a complaint that will disappear down a hole somewhere.