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  1. #1
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    My cycling rights are being threatened!

    I am a 16 year old high school student. I have been cycling to school and to work just about every school day this year. I would consider myself to be a fairly experienced cyclist. I ride during the dark in the morning so I always use a bright, bright white headlight and a red, blinking tail-light. I always take the lane because I've found, like many of you, that even a couple extra inches to the right means being passed ridiculously close and without cars bothering to slow down. I used to take bike/pedestrian paths for some of my route, but I have abandoned them due to my terrible experiences on them. They are riddled with potholes, gravel, broken glass and are also used by lots of runners and joggers and students and parents going to school. The final straw, however, was that where the road next to the path intersects another road, cars go through without bothering to take even the briefest look. The only time I have ever been hit by a car was when I was on a similar path and a car went across it without looking. It was low-speed and I wasn't hurt (it was back several years ago, before I had any idea what I was doing). Anyway, long story short, I ride on the road, I take the lane, and I obey traffic laws and common sense safety rules.

    There are often bus drivers on the route that I travel (since I am going to school). This morning, while I was locking up my bike to the bike rack which is adjacent to the bus parking lot, a bus driver came over and what ensued left me somewhat flabbergasted and extremely irritated.

    He asked me my name, and I told him. He said he regularly sees me cycling in the morning. Then he asked if there was any way that I would consider riding on "the sidewalk". I told him no. He asked if I could ride on the far right of the lane to let cars pass faster. I told him no again and carefully explained my reasons for not using the bike/pedestrian paths and my reasons for taking the lane. He was starting to get a little angry, or at least annoyed. He said that his bus sometimes has to wait behind me. He tells me, "I only have three kids on my bus, but they don't want to be going down the street at 15 mph." I tell him that I'm sorry that he has to wait, but I'm not going to jeopardize my safety in order to allow other traffic to go past me faster. He tells me that I am just being selfish. He then brings out this whopper, "The other bus drivers and I are gonna talk to the principal and get him to make you stop riding. And if he doesn't, then we're gonna talk to the town police and have you banned from the road." I replied with a startled, "ExCUSE me?!?" and he said, "I'm just warning you."

    I told him, "Go ahead, thanks for coming over to talk to me." I was extremely proud of myself for keeping my cool and being extremely polite and diplomatic!

    I know that the Indiana (where I live) Constitution guarantees me the same rights to road use as motor vehicle operators, so I'm not sure how worried I should be about this.

    What are your thoughts? Can a person who has not violated any traffic laws or endangered others' safety be "banned" from the road?

  2. #2
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    No. Call his bluff. Unless the lane is extraordinarily wide, there's no way you want to be sharing it with a school bus.

    How much of a real inconvenience are you creating? It's one thing if he has to slow to your speed for 30 seconds, another if it's fifteen miles on a winding road.

    Be prepared for him to start harassing you, honking, etc. If he does, document his actions and report him to your principal.
    Last edited by DCCommuter; 10-30-08 at 05:03 PM.
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  3. #3
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Call his silly bluff. If you have extra dough might invest in a small camera, in case he does start to harass you. That way it won't be your word, 16 year old kid, against his, "adult".

    P.S. Congrats on handling so calmly.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
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  4. #4
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Get the upper hand. First, print out the Indiana cycling laws; second, make sure that there are no city laws pertaining to that road that trump it.

    With that said, print out what you've found, and then report said bus driver for harassment and encouraging endangerment of cyclists as road users. If there are any local cyclist advocacy groups, see if they can back you on it. Strength in numbers...

    -Kurt

  5. #5
    Share the Road ckeizer77's Avatar
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    Do what all of these guys have said. Especially CudaK. Remember, because you're a kid AND a cyclists you're going to have to work 4 times as hard to ensure your basic rights.

    Here, this is Straight from the Indiana Vehicle Code:

    IC 9-21-11-2
    Roadways; rights and duties
    Sec. 2. A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway has all the rights and duties under this article that are applicable to a person who drives a vehicle, except the following:
    (1) Special regulations of this article.
    (2) Those provisions of this article that by their nature have no application.
    As added by P.L.2-1991, SEC.9.

    The only regulations are regarding using lights, and helmets. None of them regulate where you can ride and when.

    In fact, if you want, you can bring a friend and you can ride side by side.

    Lane use restrictions; riding two abreast
    Sec. 6. A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway may not ride more than two (2) abreast except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.
    As added by P.L.2-1991, SEC.9.

    I would tell that guy to talk to the Principle, and then tell him to try and get you banned. See if he actually gets farther than his La-Z Boy with that.
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  6. #6
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    Be proactive

    hi,
    Do your homework find a local bike org maybe they could send an adult with you., talk to the local police , and then go to the Principal before they do, Tell him your rights and tell him what the law is. And he will have no choice except to tell the bus driver to stop harrasing you.
    Good job on the self control its the best way to get things fixed to many time one party is right but didn't handle the problem as well as you.
    Doug
    Last edited by djnzlab1; 10-30-08 at 08:41 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Get your parents involved. It also doesn't sound like the bus drivers for that school are very "green". If the principal agrees with the bus drivers, then he/she isn't very "green" either. If the local police get involved and try to get you off the road, have your parents go public with it. You're riding your bicycle to school, not riding in a diesel exhaust spewing vehicle like the buses.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  8. #8
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    Wow, thanks for all the responses. I don't know if I portrayed this bus driver correctly. I in no way fear that he will be violent and I don't really consider his attempting to have me "banned" from the streets as harassment. I was really only worried that there might actually be a chance that I could legally be removed from the road, but from what you people have said I shouldn't worry about that. Thanks again,

    Jacob

  9. #9
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    Also, I'll post updates as this issue is played out.

  10. #10
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    Your principal can refuse you parking and storage on campus but he can't force you to stop riding. He's not your guardian once school is out. Although I've heard some states have some legal history extending schools some limited guardianship rights, but I think it's mostly related to drugs, crime, and school property.

    Is there a different route you can take? Maybe you could offset your time by 5 minutes: That will completely avoid the bus.

    I usually ride to the right if it's possible to share the lane. I don't know how your lanes are, but ours are often plenty wide enough to share with a normal sedan: Although over-sized monstrosities (like buses) have to wait.

  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    "ANY" threat directed at you, no matter how trivial you think it is, is violent. It should not be tollerated, by you, or anyone else. He threatened you with action, not only by him, but by his buddy drivers. No telling what else any of them might do.

    Do as the other's said, and try to do it all the same day, talking to the Principal, the local Police Chief, and the bus owner. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO NAME NAMES! He tried to bully you, and he should be put on notice, and corrected, before any damage is done to anyone.

    Just remember to keep your cool!!!!

  12. #12
    Non-Custom Member zeytoun's Avatar
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    Great job at keeping your cool, but not backing down!

    While he's full of s***, and probably bluffing about talking to the principal, the other posters have some ideas about how to be proactive.

    I wouldn't worry about the silly "talk to the police" threat, but you might want to consider talking to the principal. Your goal is to make yourself look reasonable, responsible, and grown up in front of the principal, so if the bus driver does complain, he will look like an idiot, and the principle will ignore what he has to say.

    Basically, tell the principle that you're very focused on being a law abiding and safe cyclist (mention helmet, lights, show him that you have a printout of the vehicle code without going into detail), and that you make every effort to be courteous and let drivers pass, but that this guy is threatening you because you won't ride on the sidewalk (which by the way, is both illegal and dangerous), and you just want to make sure that he's aware of the situation, smile, shake hands.
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  13. #13
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wanderer View Post
    "ANY" threat directed at you, no matter how trivial you think it is, is violent.
    I wouldn't call it violent. A "threat" is just that - a "threat," and should be treated as such. It is an attack of principle against you.

    -Kurt

  14. #14
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Just Keep Doing what you are doing.
    You Rock...
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  15. #15
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    You know, when that bus come up on you, you could just pull over and let him pass. I realize courtesy is something the AnS crowd demands but seldom gives, but it might just pay off for you in the long run.
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  16. #16
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    What an ass.
    He can't do anything with the police that's just a bluff.
    What I can see however, is if the principal is also an ass, (and corrupt) they might put pressure on your academics, like banning bikes from campus then giving detention for being caught bringing one in...

    But let's give the principal the benefit of the doubt, he's probably a decent guy; so go and approach him about the bus driver putting pressure on you.

    Might want to point out that the drive is threatening you over a personal dispute that ocurred outside of school grounds and is overstepping his bounds/abusing his authority by speaking to you in that manner and trying to get the school involved.
    That's the kind of thing they take very seriously, especially when teachers do it, so a driver should be no different.

  17. #17
    uke
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    First of all, congratulations on your maturity. Most adults wouldn't have handled things as well as you did.

    Secondly, as others have said, notify your principal, parents, and police if necessary. Explain things to them the way you explained them here, and they can help ensure you aren't harassed by this driver again.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  18. #18
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    "The other bus drivers and I are gonna talk to the principal and get him to make you stop riding. And if he doesn't, then we're gonna talk to the town police and have you banned from the road."

    If that isn't a violent threat, considering his and his friends willingness to escalate, I don't know what is..... Other than actually telling you he was gonna do you bodily harm.

    Any threat to another person is violent, which is why it's called a threat!

    Like I said before, it should not be tollerated, and definitely should be reported......

  19. #19
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    Might want to point out that the drive is threatening you over a personal dispute that ocurred outside of school grounds and is overstepping his bounds/abusing his authority by speaking to you in that manner and trying to get the school involved.
    That's the kind of thing they take very seriously, especially when teachers do it, so a driver should be no different.
    ^
    Another excellent point the OP should absolutely remember to include if he finds himself having to defend his position.

    -Kurt

  20. #20
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    I feel I should say this once again: I absolutely do not feel physically threatened by this bus driver or any of the other drivers. I do not think they would ever try to hurt a student. My worry was just the possibility of being prevented from cycling to school.

    Wanderer, I don't want you to worry about a school bus running me over. I really do not believe any school bus driver would ever do that. The bus driver never "threatened" me with anything other than talking to the principal and police.

  21. #21
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    But what will he do when he gets no satisfaction from them?
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  22. #22
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    His threat, however lame, puts him in the wrong job......

    He should not be allowed to have the responsibility of the safety of other people's children. He just proved that by his actions toward you.

    He should be reported, so it can be resolved. Either through education, or dismissal.

    If he gets away with it - it will embolden him to act that way to others. That's what bullies do, and what he did to you.

    Don't let it slide, it's serious.......

  23. #23
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JacobJacob View Post
    He tells me, "I only have three kids on my bus, but they don't want to be going down the street at 15 mph."
    He should get a smaller bus. It'd be easier to pass you then.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  24. #24
    What is this demonry?! Szczuldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    You know, when that bus come up on you, you could just pull over and let him pass. I realize courtesy is something the AnS crowd demands but seldom gives, but it might just pay off for you in the long run.
    I'm sort of with dobber, but not really. I would never move over to let a vehicle pass me. I stand my ground at the right tire track and the faster I go the more I move to the left side of the lane. If there is a bike lane shoulder that is clear of debris I'm on that, otherwise on the roadway.

    If you are in fact in the middle of the lane and holding up traffic he has a right to be annoyed, especially if he's behind you for more than 5 minutes. Now if it's a 2 lane road with much traffic the other way and the lanes are narrow, by all means take the lane and protect yourself.

  25. #25
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    Definitely let your principal and the bus driver's boss (private company? local government agency?) know about this driver's behavior. You have a legal right to use the roadway, and you seem to be exercising that right in a responsible manner.

    Having said that, I will frequently move over to let a faster vehicle pass if it is safe for me to do so, whether I'm driving my car or riding my bicycle. I don't feel any obligation to do this, and I won't be bullied by other road users, but I'm happy to extend that small courtesy to anyone who appears to want to go faster than I'm going.

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