Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board General Discussion › So Po Taxi doesn't care about bicyclists

So Po Taxi doesn't care about bicyclists

John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,565
One of their cars got behind me this morning and blared her horn repeatedly as I was traveling in the rightmost lane of a multi-lane road by the Mall, despite the fact that the lane next to her was clear to pass me in and she didn't. She just thought I shouldn't be taking up the full narrow lane.

When I called the company to complain, the guy I talked to started asking accusatory questions of my bicycling behavior that had nothing to do with the situation, and asked about my "driving credentials". (Sir, I do have a driver's license, and furthermore I am certified to teach bicycling by a national organization). I explained that what I was doing was legal, and that the law says that bicyclists are equal to cars on the road, and that I'd like to send a letter putting that in writing so that they are aware of it, but he told me not to bother. Eventually he said he didn't intend to waste his time pursuing it any further, and if I felt I had a legitimate complaint I was welcome take it up with the police and the courts.
Derek P.
Portland, ME
Post #: 1
Yuck, what a horrible way to start the day! I think my blood would still be boiling. Thanks for posting so I know never to use their services.
Lincoln P.
user 12657385
Portland, ME
Post #: 5

Maybe you should take up his suggestion and email a copy of this post to the South Portland Police and a covering note indicating that you have already posted it on this forum.

John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,566
I'm drafting a letter, probably directly to the company, copying a few others who I am still considering, probably to include at the least the SPPD and BCM. I've gotten some advice from my Facebook bicycle colleagues elsewhere in the country as well. (I posted this as my status this morning.) One of them said, in response to my saying it wasn't really the behavior of the driver that bothered me so much as the blow-off I got from the person at the company,
John, You are correct. Professional drivers in an organization, whether it is a taxi, municipal bus, or gravel company in my experience are often influenced by the company culture.

For a while, many of the bus drivers of our local system were aggressive to bicyclists. When my bike riding bus driver friend became driver trainer, with info from me he taught them bike sensitive driving and changed their culture.

Keri Caffrey also pointed out that there usually is a statute about unnecessary use of the horn, and sure enough, Maine has one too:
Title 29-A, ยง1903. Adequate signaling device; use, 2. Unnecessarily sounded. A person may not unnecessarily sound a signaling device or horn.

I know from past experience that there's no point trying to get the driver cited for anything, because without an actual crash or observation of the incident by a police officer, it's just a he said/she said situation and the police can't really do much without proof. (That's the biggest enforcement problem with lots of other bicycle issues too, like the 3' law.)

My concern is really the culture of the company, and if the management cares so little about how its drivers treat bicyclists, I think that has more serious implications than just a single driver maybe having a bad day.
Joseph S.
user 5436549
Portland, ME
Post #: 6
I just called SoPo Taxi and asked about the 'news on the internet' that they endangered a cyclist. The guy laughed and said the bike was in the way.

Maybe if we tie up their phones...?
A former member
Post #: 698
WOW! Really? John, I seriously think you should make a formal complaint to whatever agency issues regulates taxis in the State of Maine. Laughing at this situation needs to be addressed in a way they understand!
A former member
Post #: 699
As far as I can tell, this is the contact information (not an easy search for info):

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles
Motor Carrier Services - Operating Authority Unit
29 State House Station
Augusta Maine 04333-0029
Phone: (207) 624-9000 ext. 52130
Fax: (207) 622-5332
South Portland, ME
Post #: 10
Thanks for the info, John. My wife and I are traveling next month. We'll be sure to use someone other than SoPo Taxi for our trip to and from the Jetport.
John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,568
Thanks for finding that, Ian. I'll call them Monday and confirm if they are the correct agency.

I have a letter all written, and would have sent it already except I forgot to call the City of South Portland on Friday to see who in the city oversees taxi licenses. So I'll add the state address to it and send it out sometime next week. I'll also post it here at that time.

To clarify, I'm not claiming that she endangered me. I think she and I would both agree to the basic facts, which is that she repeatedly sounded her horn at me, refused to pass me in the next lane when she had the chance, and yelled at me at the intersection. I think most reasonable people would interpret her actions as harassment and intimidation, but she did not dangerously tailgate me, nor did she physically threaten me with her car or personally. So the only legal wrong-doing I'm claiming is the unlawful sounding of horn statute.

My intention with the letter then is not to try to get her charged with anything, or even necessarily disciplined (that sounds out of the question), but to simply put the incident on official record and try to educate the company as to the law and the rights of cyclists, to the extent that they will listen. I'm hoping that seeing all the organizations and agencies I'm copying will at least get their attention.
John B.
Westbrook, ME
Post #: 1,579
I just uploaded to the Files area the letter I posted yesterday morning to the company; they should have received it today. I also just finished emailing it to all the entities listed in the CC line. Thanks Ian for the BMV research!
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