Open letter to Clean Care Linen about their dangerous delivery driver
Just sent this to the very nice and helpful customer service rep I spoke to on the phone. They have promised a follow up with the drivers supervisor. I’ll keep you all posted as things develop. This guy is out to hurt someone, if you see one of their vans on the road please be careful.
Attached is an image of the driver and van that we discusses on the phone today. A brief synopsis of the encounter is below:
At about 5pm on August 30 I was riding my bicycle outbound on Highland Ave between Hampton and Bryant. There was no traffic in the opposing lane and very light traffic in my lane of travel. Without warning one of your company vehicles passed me within a foot of my left shoulder while aggressively accelerating. A clear violation of the recently enacted 4 foot safe passing law in our state. When I made my turn onto Bryant I saw that the van had parked and the driver was exiting to service a client. When I pulled up to the stop sign at that intersection I politely asked the driver to give cyclists the legally required four feet in the future, informing him that he nearly ran me into a parked vehicle. His response was immediately aggressive. Telling me “Good. Get off the road then.” when I told him that I in fact have every right to be on the road, and in fact was legally required to do so as I was, according I state law, in a business district, he proceeded to tell me that he didn’t care and I should “get out of the damn road”. He also claimed that he did not see me, even though according to him the encounter was my fault for “being in the middle of the damn road” and reiterated that he was glad that he nearly hit me.
In light of the recent cycling fatalities and other near fatalities I find this behavior not only rude and offensive, but exceedingly dangerous. My wife and I both use our bikes as transportation on a daily basis along with a large an growing portion of the city and this man represents a very real threat to our lives. I take my safety, as well as that of my friends, family and extended community very seriously and as such will be posting this letter to the Bike Pittsburgh online message board as a warning to other cyclists to be aware of this driver and have CCed their advocacy staff on this email. I will also be following up with a police report to zone 5 depending on the outcome of our conversation. It’s a shame that one angry and impatient person can do so much damage to your companies public image and I’m sure this is not in line with the standards you set for employees.
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me and follow up on this. I look forward to hearing from you further.
link to the full size picture of the kind and generous person in question
Colin Burch: Design & Illustration, LLC
@Colin – do you want to edit that to delete your address from the entire board?
And, calling him unpleasant names in the photo caption may or may not be cool….. (edited to remove specific details…)
Just my thoughts, mind you.
sarah, i called him that to his face when he told me he would be happy to seem more cyclists get run down. but i take your point, and edited accordingly (albeit sarcastically)
now you have to edit yours!
This Clean Care Linen?
They are a textile rental company based in Pittsburgh that specializes in linen and textile laundry, cleaning, service, and rental for the hospitality and healthcare industry–hospitals and health care institutions, hundreds of clinics and offices, and thousands of restaurants, food service and hospitality establishments.
51st & AVRR
Pittsburgh, PA 15201
1111 Marvista Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
yup. so far everyone i have dealt with other than the driver has been decent and seems understanding. hopefully that pattern continues as i chase this issue up corporate.
that sucks. glad you’re ok. Hope something good can come of it still.
Clean Care Linen Youtube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxLKCxk6yPY
CleanCare is the textile rental leader, providing service, quality and continuous improvement to the health care and hospitality markets. Advanced tracking, automated production lines, on-site training and 24/7 accessibility make CleanCare the standard of care for linen.
i figure that at best this guy is dangerously incompetent and at worst he’s a ticking timebomb of misplaced rage. either way i dont want to share the streets with him.
These days, businesses need to realize that employees like this are not only a gigantic liability, but their behavior also has lasting negative repercussions that will follow the company forever.
Personally, I am not the type of person that believes that every person deserves their job, no matter how bad they may be at it, or how big their screw ups may be. I am fine with people who represent companies in such a negative light losing their jobs.
well the jury is out on them as a company, im hoping that they follow through in a proper manner, otherwise i’ll be sitting around waiting for the cops to show up and take my report most of the day tuesday.
I’ll be glad when this Driver Culture of Rage Against Cyclists has its extinction burst. My fear is that it already has, and the ones that we keep finding on the road are the ones that won’t adapt to the new norm.
Anonymous 08/31/2012 at 8:13pm #
If it’s not an actively occurring incident, you can call 911 and request to have your info put into the telephone reporting unit. They take a good number, basic complaint and it gets forwarded to someone that will actually process your complaint over the phone. It’s about an hour and a half turn around to receive the call back, but they are really good to about it. At the end of the conversation they will give you a CCR # and all the info to pursue and follow up on the complaint.
oh sweet. i’d much rather do that than tie up a patrol officer anyway!
“My fear is that it already has, and the ones that we keep finding on the road are the ones that won’t adapt to the new norm.”
I kind of think that’s where we’re at. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
“These days, businesses need to realize that employees like this are not only a gigantic liability, but their behavior also has lasting negative repercussions that will follow the company forever.”
Yes, this. To this day, I aggressively take the lane when there’s a Post Gazette truck around. I’ve been nearly run off the road by them twice, and I always see them doing dangerous things (such as pulling into the wrong lane and then reversing, u-turns in the middle of the road)
Also, regarding the letter above, I love that it clearly states what type of action you could take if this isn’t handled correctly and how it will affect their company’s image, without coming off as threatening. I definitely wouldn’t be able to keep my tone that calm and rational. Great letter.
i spend a lot of time writing new business proposals and collections letters these days. i’m much calmer behind a keyboard than i am in person. thats why i waited nearly a day to deal with it.
That is a good letter, Colin. I hope Clean Care Linen will continue to take this seriously.
I hope the folks at Clean Care Linen takes your complain seriously.
I had a great interaction with Frank B. Fuhrer Wholesale Company on the South Side when I had a bad interaction with one of their drivers a year or so ago. Fortunately, they are an upstanding company and treated the action with the seriousness that the situation deserved. So maybe Clean Care Linen will step up to the plate and be a good corporate citizen too.
ok follow up time.
just talked to the supervisor and the driver was suspended. he reiterated to me several times how seriously they take this and the safety of everyone on the road. they have another driver who is an avid cyclist and will be leading a training session in the next few weeks to reinforce with all the drivers what the new 4′ law means and how cyclists should be treated on the road. he also asked if he could keep my number in case they have any questions about cyclists or want to reach out to bike pgh through me at a later time and asked that if i or anyone ever sees one of his drivers acting like this again that we please call right away.
Anonymous 09/06/2012 at 3:32pm #
That’s amazing. Hat’s off to Clean Care.
I think that is the first time I have heard of a company or org actually enforcing a punishment upon a driver for acts like these.
Good for Clean Care Linens.
That’s good news indeed. My guess is that someone with good judgment realized the huge potential for civil liability that such a driver poses. Also, if the driver later hit someone and that letter saw the light of day in a lawsuit, it would likely not be a good thing for the company.
Now this is just an idea, but maybe we could contact someone at Clean Care and thank them.
Anonymous 09/06/2012 at 4:12pm #
Wow, lemons turned into lemonade!
Thanks, Clean Care Linens, for doing the right thing.
My only concern is that the suspended driver with the attitude problem is still out there, but is now driving an anonymous personal vehicle, and not a large, clearly identified service vehicle. I hope he doesn’t have MORE of a chip on his shoulder towards cyclists now.
nice. hope for learning and improving boosted! Very glad they’re using the in-house cycling resources they’ve got handy already.
My only concern is that the suspended driver with the attitude problem is still out there
Indeed! However, perhaps he’ll think twice knowing there are consequences.
Thanks cburch…nice to see that it was taken seriously. Sorry you had to go through all of this, but you handled it nicely.
Nice! This lessens the rage that I’m feeling from reading about the South Side incident a tiny, tiny bit.
“I politely asked the driver to give cyclists the legally required four feet in the future, informing him that he nearly ran me into a parked vehicle.”
Just from an interest in how people behave and react, was it calm or was it more of an agitated “hey, you almost just ran me into a vehicle!” tone?
“I am fine with people who represent companies in such a negative light losing their jobs.”
Eh, most people who act in a way that’s annoying the general public aren’t representing their companies. Can people not separate individuals from the corporations they work for?
Now if the corporation hires a bunch of the same kind of people, that’s one thing. But one lowly disgruntled guy shouldn’t frame an entire businesses’ point of view.
Plus, what’s loosing his job going to do for him or us? You think he’s going to be more considerate of cyclists after one of them cost him his job?
With any luck this guy will meet the other cyclist delivery guy and not be as hostile to us in the future
started out nice and calm and friendly, from the assumption that he wasnt aware of how close to killing me he was. gradually became much less so when he continued to tell me he was glad he nearly killed me with greater and greater urgency. i ended the conversation because i knew i wasn’t going to be able to maintain any semblance of self control for much longer.
if you are at work, in a company vehicle, wearing a uniform or other company branded clothing, doing pretty much anything in public that is related to your company in an environment where people are aware of your connection, etc. you ARE a representative of that company and its culture. thats why they have corporate codes of conduct and good companies take employees being poor reflections of their corporate values seriously.
if i am out riding with a group or at a bike park where people know i work for seven springs and i act like an ass, i fully expect it to color their perceptions of the bike park and our staff.
Gah, why don’t people like us! We have the morally superior position! (In that with oil reserves diminishing, our current consumption is not sustainable;) *kind of a joke, kind of not*
Eh, as far as companies go, the line isn’t so clearly drawn for me. With the bike analogy, I can see. But even if the driver of the linen company is anti-biking and says things like “I wish I DID hit you!” what does it say of how well that company services linens?
All I’m saying is that bad apples don’t necessarily mean the whole bunch is necessarily rotten
Pierce, he’s wearing a uniform, performing the work in public they employ him to do. Part of servicing linens is delivery. When he’s in his personal car, he’s not representing his company. When he’s on his lunch break, he’s not a rep. When he’s in a uniform, driving a company car, working on company time, he’s representing. One could make the case for him being a type of intentional advertising on the company’s part, being out in the public visibly performing company work. Otherwise he wouldn’t have a uniform and marked company van.
For instance, when I travel for my company, I’m not in uniform or identifyable as a member of my company – we don’t dress or carry swag, we don’t have magnets on our cars. Personally I usually don’t even tell people who I work for even if they ask. My company isn’t intentionally using me to represent them. They do insist on basic levels of safety during travel and do their best to get us to behave like civilized people out in the real world.
Last place I worked was a little different. I was given swag to wear, and considered to be representing the company every time I traveled (though I was urged not to discuss my work with the public either). Essentially same position, in the same industry. Different corporate policies.
I’m personally glad he’s gotten punished but not losing his job. I’d rather he were “recallibrated” to understand he must obey the law, no matter his opinion of it, rather than him just get more pissed off, find another potentially similar job, and continue on. Maybe if he talks to the cyclist driver enough he may even start to see why people got so upset. If he’s fired, he may not get that opportunity.
But if someone is out there driving around for a living with sustained antagonism for the most vulnerable road users, despite warnings, training, and exposure to cyclists as people, keeping them from being employed in that environment and potentially killing people is the next best thing.
used this contact form to send a thank-you to the company. Perhaps if other people did, it would help them to keep up the positive steps they’re making:
I recently read the unfortunate news of one of your drivers acting recklessly toward a cyclist on the road. I also read that it was resolved in a professional manner, and that the driver has been suspended. As a commuting cyclist in the City of Pittsburgh, I often fear for my safety due to aggressive drivers on the road (see this article: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/neighborhoods-city/pittsburgh-police-search-for-south-side-bicyclists-attacker-652179/). The fact that this company takes things like this so seriously, and responded with a training session specifically regarding cyclists after just one incident is a huge reassurance to me, as well as many others, I’m sure. Thank you for doing your part to improve the safety of the roads in our city.
“I’d rather he were “recallibrated” to understand he must obey the law, no matter his opinion of it”
I’d rather he recognize us as people worthy of not being maimed and killed and that if he does, giving us four feet of space is inline with that idea
Blindly following the law is something I wish no one would do
For whatever it’s worth, I’d bet the majority of motorists break multiple laws every time they drive, so the fact that there is a law benefiting us isn’t necessarily comforting or a great arguing point when somebody breaks one of many laws
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