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  1. #1
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Incident with a bus...

    I was passed dangerously close and cut off by a bus this morning on my way to work. I got the bus number, route number, time and intersection and I will be sending a letter to UTA later today. I thought I would post the letter here to get a little feedback before I send it in. Check me for spelling and grammar errors as well as clarity and accuracy. Also any input on how to handle the situation beyond sending in a letter would be appreciated.

    The driver of bus number 9507 passed me dangerously close I was riding my bike on 100 S and approximately 600 E at 9:10 AM on 1/19/07. He then merged completely into the right lane, forcing me to slow quickly to not be hit by the back of the bus.

    I was traveling in the right lane approaching the intersection at 500 or 600 east. I was traveling in the right half of the lane as close to the parked cars as prudent at the speed I was traveling. I was using the lane in accordance with Utah traffic code section 41-6a-1105 sub sections (1)(c) and (1)(d)(ii) which allows for use of the traffic lane by cyclists. When the driver passed me he was clearly in violation of section 41-6a-706.5 which states that "An operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle, unless the operator of the motor vehicle operates the motor vehicle within a reasonable and safe distance of the bicycle."

    It startled me because I was traveling very close to the posted speed limit and there was an open lane next to me. The driver could easily have moved over into the other lane and given me ample room to ride safely, yet he chose to pass me dangerously close putting me in harms way for his own convenience.

    At the next light I talked to the driver and informed him that the law required that he give me at least 3 feet while passing. He said "then stay out of the lane!" He also apparently changed the route number of the bus from 5 to 42, because when I looked at it after he passed me it was 5, but after I confronted him and told him I would be reporting the incident, the number was suddenly 42. Route 42 does not travel on or near 100 S this far East.

    Surprisingly, the driver was completely ignorant of the section of the traffic code mentioned above which gives cyclists the right to safely operate in the traffic lane under certain circumstances, and apparently oblivious to the section of the code that requires other vehicles to pass safely. I am infuriated by this drivers reckless behavior and cavalier attitude towards cyclists. I think that in the interest of public safety, UTA has the responsibility of making sure that it's drivers are educated in bicycle safety and operate their vehicles accordingly. The last thing anyone wants to see on the news is a cyclist and a bicycle crushed under a bus.

  2. #2
    Conservative Hippie
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    I think instead of this sentence:
    I am infuriated by this drivers reckless behavior and cavalier attitude towards cyclists.
    I would say, "I am concerned by this driver's reckless and aggressive behavior behind the wheel, and cavalier attitude toward other road users."

    Other than that it looks pretty good. Looks like you got the who, what, when and where covered.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GaryA's Avatar
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    I think the fact that he changed his route number says a lot. Nice job getting all the information written down.
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    One speed: FAST ! fordfasterr's Avatar
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    pictures would have been good =)

    Great letter !
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    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    One irony in all this is that buses, if anything, are far more annoying vehicles on the road than the cars that they (supposedly) replace. They have to stop repeatedly, which means constantly obscuring the shoulder/bicycle lane; they run on diesel and belch fumes constantly as they re-accelerate; and they are automatic transmission, which is unbelieveable for such a large vehicle.

    roughstuff
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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Good letter. Agree with CommuterRun.

  7. #7
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryA
    I think the fact that he changed his route number says a lot. Nice job getting all the information written down.
    Luckily I was close to work or it would have been hard to remember all the numbers, I have a hard time remembering stuff like that for some reason.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kf5nd's Avatar
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    Great letter. Driver will be disciplined. You can bank on it. Send a copy to the local news media.
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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Agreed-- I remember a few years back there was a bus strike where I was living, and I swear that traffic actually IMPROVED. Those were happy days.

    To the OP, I recommend using a mirror, and taking the lane to discourage being buzzed. Buses are particularly spooky since they usually have the engine in the rear, and they are silent until they are next to you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff
    One irony in all this is that buses, if anything, are far more annoying vehicles on the road than the cars that they (supposedly) replace. They have to stop repeatedly, which means constantly obscuring the shoulder/bicycle lane; they run on diesel and belch fumes constantly as they re-accelerate; and they are automatic transmission, which is unbelieveable for such a large vehicle.

    roughstuff

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kf5nd
    Great letter. Driver will be disciplined. You can bank on it. Send a copy to the local news media.
    +1 The news media loves stories like this. Anything that can bring shame to municipalities the media pounces on it like a pack of wild dogs.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GaryA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff
    One irony in all this is that buses, if anything, are far more annoying vehicles on the road than the cars that they (supposedly) replace. They have to stop repeatedly, which means constantly obscuring the shoulder/bicycle lane; they run on diesel and belch fumes constantly as they re-accelerate; and they are automatic transmission, which is unbelieveable for such a large vehicle.

    roughstuff
    Agreed. I don't know about busses in other locations but ours have recently had a lit yield sign placed on the back left of the bus that lights up with they put there signal on to merge back into traffic. From what I gather they think this light was given to them by God himself because once they signal THEY ARE coming over no matter what. I cannot count the number of times I have been the last car passing them with no one behind me for 100's of yards and they will cut me off.
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  12. #12
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryA
    Agreed. I don't know about busses in other locations but ours have recently had a lit yield sign placed on the back left of the bus that lights up with they put there signal on to merge back into traffic. From what I gather they think this light was given to them by God himself because once they signal THEY ARE coming over no matter what. I cannot count the number of times I have been the last car passing them with no one behind me for 100's of yards and they will cut me off.
    It is ironic that those who are firm advocates of cycling because of a bicycles' efficiency, small size, footprint, turn radius, etc. usually support mass transit--which means buses--- when they are the worst offenders in all these categories. It proves the point that they really are not cycling advocates...they are anti-car luddites.

    roughstuff
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    N_C
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    And here I thought only the bus drivers in my community were *******s. Guess they are in other communities as well.

    There is one city I have ridden in where I think the bus drivers are respectful, Honolulu, Hawaii. Never had a problem with them the 4 times I rode there last Nov.

  14. #14
    del dot
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    The driver on route 42 will be interested in knowing that this guy tried to shift the blame onto them!

  15. #15
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by filtersweep
    Agreed-- I remember a few years back there was a bus strike where I was living, and I swear that traffic actually IMPROVED. Those were happy days.

    To the OP, I recommend using a mirror, and taking the lane to discourage being buzzed. Buses are particularly spooky since they usually have the engine in the rear, and they are silent until they are next to you.
    Yeah good, point on taking the lane. In this case riding as close to the parked cars as prudent was basically the center of the lane. I should probably clarify that in the letter, since I'm sure the driver will be quick to point it out.

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    I used to fairly regularly get close passes by the university and city busses on my commute, then I started riding further left. Now they completely change lanes when they pass, and leave plenty of passing distance.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer
    Yeah good, point on taking the lane. In this case riding as close to the parked cars as prudent was basically the center of the lane. I should probably clarify that in the letter, since I'm sure the driver will be quick to point it out.
    On a street with very wide outside lanes and parked cars, defining the "center" can be tricky. What you describe as the "center" of the lane, the outside edge of the door zone, is what I consider the very right edge of the lane.

    In order to control a lane, you need to ride in the "center" of the space normally used by motor traffic. That is, somewhere between the left and right tire tracks. Riding "as close to the parked cars as prudent" is likely to be right of the right tire track (unless cars are driving in the door zone), and, thus, several feet to the right of the lane-controling center.

    In other words, that position is effectively yielding the remainder of the lane to others, essentially inviting them to try to squeeze in with you. That does not justify what the bus driver did, but it does explain it and make it understandable.

  18. #18
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Nice letter.

    To those that have problems with bus drivers - I am curious if the busses in your area have bicycle racks that are frequently used.

    Almost every city bus encounter I have had is a positive one, city bus drivers more than any other driver use full adjacent lane to pass, will wait behind me if a stop is coming up soon, etc. I wonder if they are so courteous, not only because of training, but because they interact so frequently with cyclists as people, their customers.
    Interactions however with school bus drivers have been some of my worst.

    Sure it can be a pain to pass them sometimes having to merge into middle/inside lane.

    Here the busses run on non-diesel/gas (I want to say NG?)

    Al

  19. #19
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    On a street with very wide outside lanes and parked cars, defining the "center" can be tricky. What you describe as the "center" of the lane, the outside edge of the door zone, is what I consider the very right edge of the lane.

    In order to control a lane, you need to ride in the "center" of the space normally used by motor traffic. That is, somewhere between the left and right tire tracks. Riding "as close to the parked cars as prudent" is likely to be right of the right tire track (unless cars are driving in the door zone), and, thus, several feet to the right of the lane-controling center.

    In other words, that position is effectively yielding the remainder of the lane to others, essentially inviting them to try to squeeze in with you. That does not justify what the bus driver did, but it does explain it and make it understandable.
    Who said anything about a WOL? What I described as the center of the lane was the "center" of the space normally used by motor traffic. I was riding just right of center (ie. somewhere between the left and right tire tracks). The bus passed 50% in the inside lane, 50% in the my lane. I'll make that clear in my letter too. There was no reason for him to not move all the way over, except that he was a dick. Perhaps in the future I'll ride further over, I really doubt this will stop people who buzz me just because I'm there.


    Here's my revised second paragraph. This (hopefully) describes more clearly what happened...
    I was traveling in the right lane approaching the intersection at 500 or 600 east. I was traveling in the center part of the lane which in this case was as close to the parked cars as prudent at the speed I was traveling. There was no room for a bike and a car to safely occupy the same lane. I was using the lane in accordance with Utah traffic code section 41-6a-1105 which allows for use of the traffic lane by cyclists under these circumstances. When the driver passed me he was clearly in violation of section 41-6a-706.5 which states that "An operator of a motor vehicle may not knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly operate a motor vehicle within three feet of a moving bicycle, unless the operator of the motor vehicle operates the motor vehicle within a reasonable and safe distance of the bicycle." Instead of moving over into the center lane completely, he chose to move over halfway and remain partially in the lane in which I was traveling.
    Last edited by kemmer; 01-29-07 at 04:40 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roughstuff
    It is ironic that those who are firm advocates of cycling because of a bicycles' efficiency, small size, footprint, turn radius, etc. usually support mass transit--which means buses--- when they are the worst offenders in all these categories. It proves the point that they really are not cycling advocates...they are anti-car luddites.

    roughstuff
    Not all bus drivers are idiots though, one time last summer, riding to work, I was riding across the mouth of a bus bay, the sun was behind me, and all you could see was a big block shadow, with a helmet up top, because the bus behind me, heading into the bus bay, waited for me, I looked behind at one point, and got a friendly wave from the driver. This was a Sheppard West 84 TTC bus, maybe the fact it was 6:30AM had something to do with it.

    Another day, I was riding along, and was passed (with tons of room), by a bus, I passed him at the next stop (on his left), he passed me, I passed him, IIRC on fifth pass, I looked at the driver going by, and he cracked up, this was a Cummer 42 TTC bus at about 4:30 in the afternoon.

    If you get buzzed by a bus, it's because of one of two reasons, the driver is fairly new, and isn't quite used to driving a much wider vehicle then a typical car. Two, the guy is just being a jerk, in either case, note the bus number or tag number (licence plate number), the date and the time of day. If you have a camera (or camera phone) that can record the date and time, take a photo of the rear of the bus. Contact the company, and launch a format complaint. The driver will likely face disiplinary action, this is not your problem.

    Actually this goes for any commercial vehicle, note the company name, vehicle number, date and time, again a camera or camera phone can come in handy. Commercial vehicles are often rolling billboards for the company, and they don't always want bad publicity.

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    Banned. Helmet Head's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kemmer
    Who said anything about a WOL? What I described as the center of the lane was the "center" of the space normally used by motor traffic. I was riding just right of center (ie. somewhere between the left and right tire tracks). The bus passed 50% in the inside lane, 50% in the my lane. I'll make that clear in my letter too. There was no reason for him to not move all the way over, except that he was a dick. Perhaps in the future I'll ride further over, I really doubt this will stop people who buzz me just because I'm there.


    Here's my revised second paragraph. This (hopefully) describes more clearly what happened...
    I'm sorry, but I'm not following.

    Let's try a simple text diagram.

    A---------B---------C---D-----E

    Let's say:

    the inside lane is between A and B
    The wide outside lane is between B and E, including:
    * The door zone is between C and D.
    * cars parked between D and E.
    Now, if you're riding as close to the parked cars as is prudent, that you're riding just to the left of C.
    But the lane-controlling center of the lane is about halfway between B and C, perhaps even a bit left of that.

  22. #22
    *****es love tarck kemmer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helmet Head
    I'm sorry, but I'm not following.
    I can see that you're not following. It's because you've made an incorrect assumption despite the fact that I spelled it out pretty clearly in my last post. I said "who said anything about a WOL?" and "What I described as the center of the lane was the "center" of the space normally used by motor traffic."

    Let's try a CORRECT text diagram, done by someone who knows what the street looks like and isn't making any wild assumptions.

    A---------B----k---C-----D
    the inside lane is between A and B
    The outside lane (not wide) is between B and C, including:
    * There is no door zone buffer.
    * cars parked between C and D.
    "k" stands for Kemmer, that's where I was riding.

    See? There I am,a bit right of center in the right lane, just outside the door zone just like I said. This is not a WOL. There is no door zone buffer. Does that make sense? No? Well I'm done trying to explain it to you. Go find something else to bicker about.

    Why does every thread around here have to be about what the cyclist was doing wrong? Guess what? I wasn't wearing a helmet either! Sheesh.

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    2 things i have done to reinforce dis-satisfaction of/towards bus drivers.

    1) Call the company headquarters and talk to p/r rep, get a claim-identification number of incident/driver (you seem to have all those facts well recorded).

    2) Report this to the local police,. this lets them become aware (or reinforce awareness of repeat offender).

    i wrote the letter too, but after telephoning bus company company rep and police, it made the letter useless.

    try to do this with-in 24 hours of incident as well. shows assertiveness!!

    Good Luck in you follow-through!!

  24. #24
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Not all bus drivers are idiots though..., .....Actually this goes for any commercial vehicle, note the company name, vehicle number, date and time, again a camera or camera phone can come in handy. Commercial vehicles are often rolling billboards for the company, and they don't always want bad publicity.

    Well relatively few buses are commercial vehicles, most of them are local quasi-government authorities. This leads to all kinds of inbreeding with local politicos and I wouldn't doubt all kinds of favorable treatment at the hands of law enforcement and judicial apointees. One reason why I have always been suspicious of mass transit.

    roughstuff
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  25. #25
    Punk Rock Lives Roughstuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wogsterca
    Not all bus drivers are idiots though..., .....Actually this goes for any commercial vehicle, note the company name, vehicle number, date and time, again a camera or camera phone can come in handy. Commercial vehicles are often rolling billboards for the company, and they don't always want bad publicity.

    Well relatively few buses are commercial vehicles, most of them are local quasi-government authorities. This leads to all kinds of inbreeding with local politicos and I wouldn't doubt all kinds of favorable treatment at the hands of law enforcement and judicial apointees. One reason why I have always been suspicious of mass transit.

    roughstuff
    Electric car sales are on fire! :)

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