Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An email I just wrote to RITE ON Driving School

I just wrote this. I'm still a bit pissed. More than a bit, really. Bad drivers is one thing. Bad driving being tacitly inculcated by driving instructors? Whoa nelly. 

Hello -

I wanted to bring your attention to something that just happened this afternoon on Heron Road. I was riding my bike eastward on Heron in front of the Heron Community Centre when I was passed by one of your cars at a dangerously close distance. It was a light yellow sedan driven by a student with an instructor in the passenger seat. In case you can identify the instructor, it was around 4:10 pm: the student was a woman, and the instructor was a man who looked to be middle-aged with curly black hair and a mustache.

The car passed less than a foot from the end of my handlebars, and I was already riding uncomfortably close to the curb due to rush hour traffic. The car was running two abreast with another car in the inside lane, so had no room to avoid me if I had struck a pothole. That stretch of Heron Road is full of deep potholes at this time of year, and I often have to move out to avoid them. This car did in fact roll over a set of them just ahead of me. I screamed out loud as they passed (it's been at least twenty minutes: my throat is still sore).

I then followed the car as it turned right onto Baycrest, chased it along Baycrest, and caught up as they were waiting to turn left at the light. I pulled up beside the car, on the left, and signalled that I wanted to talk to them: the instructor looked up and saw me, but ignored me and they continued onto Walkley Road. I gave chase but lost them on Heatherington.

I understand that the one-metre rule hasn't been legislated in yet, but I am concerned that your instructor is not teaching students reasonable safe behaviour around cyclists. No one should pass a cyclist that close, especially not on bad pavement and on a high-speed road. If students don't learn how to share the road safely with cyclists during driver training, when will they?

I'm an experienced cyclist and I'm accustomed to riding on high speed roads, as I live in the area. This wasn't a case of spring jitters either - I ride year-round. I'm angry about this because it was a student driver accompanied by one of your instructors, who should have known better.

I'm also angry that, after I had chased them down to talk to them, your instructor chose to ignore me. Perhaps he didn't hear my scream, but he must have noticed that the woman on a bike in a bright pink jacket who they passed on Heron was chasing them down.

I hope someone can speak to this instructor, or maybe remind your instructors in general that safe driving includes sharing the road with cyclists. Driving schools have a responsibility to train new drivers to be as safe and respectful as they can, of all road users. Let me know if there is any other information you need from me.

Thank you -
Kathryn Hunt
[contact info so they can get back in touch if they're going to]


  1. Yikes! Glad you are ok, and hope you get a reasonable response back.

  2. Any response would kind of surprise me, but here's hoping. . .