This afternoon, while walking to lunch, I made the decision to jay-walk across Cooper at Elgin (as I frequently do while walking). There was only one car coming, and it was far enough away that I'd be out of the intersection by the time the car approached.
Turns out, the car, which was Blue Line Taxi #522, sped up. As he went to turn left through the intersection, I felt his tire rub against the heel of my shoe.
"Motherfucker!" I exclaimed.
Two women who had just crossed Elgin (with the light) turned and looked at me, I guess to see if I was referring to one of them.
"That taxi just hit my foot!" I clarified.
The ladies remarked that they were just talking to each other about how fast that taxi took the turn.
I'd report the driver, but I've had bad luck. Last time I reported a driver glancing me (at the time, I was on my bike), the only witness I had (an OC Transpo driver) didn't see the car contact me because he was on the other side of the car. Similarly, these two women didn't see the taxi glance my foot. I could have gotten their information as witnesses to the speed at which the taxi was going, but pedestrians can't judge the exact speed at which a motorist goes--he might have technically been going the limit, but it looked faster because nobody in their right mind goes 50 km/h on Elgin, especially around a corner.
Also, the previous time, while my brake lever made some marks on the driver's rear passenger door (I saw them in great detail because the incident happened in slow-motion for me), the police claimed there were no scratches on the door, and therefore no corroboratory evidence. In today's case, I just felt his tire rub the back of my shoe, but that made no mark on the tire or the shoe.
So there's no point in bothering to report this asshole to the police. The most it would result in is a jaywalking ticket for me. So instead I'm calling him out.
There are some who think that I deserve what I got (or could have gotten) because I was jaywalking. The City of Ottawa, for one, who had a Walk like your life depends on it campaign earlier this year.
The campaign's reasoning goes--applied to this situation--even though the taxi driver could have not accelerated in a high pedestrian traffic zone, and even though the driver could have not passed me so closely to endanger my life, the whole situation is really my fault. Even though a taxi driver is a professional driver who should be held to the highest standards
Pedestrians and cyclists probably account for a high proportion of taxi passengers. So why are they so antagonistic?
Two years ago yesterday there was a consultation on the City of Ottawa's Transportation Master Plan. Someone I know attended the focus group where Hanif Patni, president of Coventry Connections (Blue Line Taxi) claimed that the City shouldn't spend any money on cycling because cyclists only account for 1% of the population traffic (which is an inaccurate figure, especially if you look beyond the city-wide level to ward and neighbourhood cycling levels).
From the day I heard about that, I've used other taxi companies when I've needed a taxi.
After today's incident, I think I'll keep a running tally of specific taxi drivers (by car number) who do dangerous and reckless actions (as well as the good ones). Feel free to contribute your own in the comments. It would be neat to eventually make such a list into some sort of mobile phone app, so that when you want to take a taxi, you can see if they've endangered your friends and neighbours.