Thursday, August 16, 2007

An incident with the AA

Had a little bit of a run in with an AA driving instructor on my cycle to work this morning. Here's the email I sent to (and responses from, below) the HQ of one of the largest and most well respected driving schools in the UK:

From: Scott Plimpton
Sent: 16 August 2007 11:11
To: AA Head Office
Subject: Incident with AA Driving School vehicle/driver

Dear Jane,

This morning at approximately 9.30am I was riding to work, and came up against a red light where I cross Pentonville Road from Penton Street into Amwell Street, N1. As I approached the lights, I noticed an AA Driving School vehicle (Ford Focus, registration xxxxx ) was stopped in the green "cycles only" zone at the front of the traffic pack. Expecting to see a pupil at the wheel, I was quite surprised to see the car was only occupied by the driver.

As I pulled alongside the driver's window, I mentioned that he was stoppped a full car length in front of the vehicle line for those lights. The driver (male, about thirty, dark hair, Arsenal shirt) mentioned to me that I should "get a life", and that "the lights changed suddenly". I then pointed out that he was in a driving school vehicle, and shouldn't he know better than to stop so far forward, and shouldn't he really be driving in a manner in which you wouldn't be caught by changing traffic lights (which in my experience, change at reasonably regular and expected intervals, never suddenly) to which he mouthed something at me through the windscreen that I could not understand.

I turned away from the driver, and kept my position immediately in front of the AA vehicle, at which point the driver started racing the car's engine. I turned around, and shouted at him "what IS your job mate?", and pulled out of the way of the vehicle. When the lights changed, the car took off at some speed. I made a hand gesture at the driver, who then proceeded to pull over diagonal to the kerb at the beginning of Amwell Street. I pulled up, as he had blocked my path. He then took off again at speed and turned left on either Cruikshank Street or Percy Street.

I would appreciate the AA's feedback regarding this incident.

The AA's response so far:

----- Original message -----
From: "xxxx, Jane"
To: "Scott Plimpton"
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 12:00:40 +0100
Subject: RE: Incident with AA Driving School vehicle/driver

Dear Mr Primson

Thank you for bringing this incident to our attention. I believe that we have identified the driver of the vehicle and we will deal with this matter internally.

I apologise on behalf of the AA for any distress caused to you.

Yours sincerely

Jane xxxxx


Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 3:05 PM
From: "Scott Plimpton"
To: "xxxx Jane"

Subject: RE: Incident with AA Driving School vehicle/driver

Dear Jane,

Thank you for your reply. I do agree that this morning's incident caused much distress. I do feel that the driver's reaction constituted threatening words and behaviour which is a criminal offence in
the UK.

I feel that this was further aggravated by the driver positioning and revving the car in a manner which led me to believe that he intended to use the car as a weapon against me. I have sought legal advice and have been informed that I have both criminal and civil routes to pursue in relation to this incident becoming resolved.

Can the AA please state their position on this matter and offer a solution in relation to the distress caused and as direct reparation for having been treated in such a manner?

I await your swift reply.

Regards, Scott Plimpton


kindaloco said...

Unbelievable!!! I wonder how they'll react now that you've mentioned 'legal' and how, up until then, it seems to have been brushed aside! I look forward to the update...

Anonymous said...

Ok so what was the out come with the AA??? As a much maligned and abused lifelong cyclist I am very keen to know.