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  1. #1
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    What's the scariest vehicle that passes me when I'm riding? The "family school bus".

    It may as well be called a family school bus because it's almost as big as the mini-buses.


    Now we not only have the family school buses to worry about but the regular school buses. Unfortunately most school bus drivers (either variety) don't know how to safely pass a cyclist.

  2. #2
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Yes - the roads I ride are much more dangerous now that grade level school is back in session. Its not the official busses that are a problem, but the parents dropping kids off and the high school kids driving to school. My route passes three elementary schools and one high school.

    The parents only seem to care about their own kids - these are the drivers that always seem to right hook me, pull out right in front of me, suddenly stop and swing door into road, and u-turn unexpectedly, etc. Its scary really, but does keep me on my toes. Its mostly a 15mph zone thru these areas (it does cut down on my usual 20mph+ ride), I follow the limit and fully take the lane, I've even had parents honk at me (and last year one of them passed me while I was going 15mph in the center of the lane in the 15mph zone!)

    There are several crossing guards on this route - one of them is very nice. Monday she said to "watch out for the minivans, you never know what they will do" and Tuesday (I left 10min early to be ahead of the school traffic) she said "looks like you beat the rush hour". Today she said "Lucky you - I am envious" (I think perhaps she is a cyclist who wishes she could be riding)

    The high school is actually a bit more scary - here there are lines of cars waiting to get into the parking lot from each direction - and many of these young drivers seem like they have something to prove - very agressive driving, pulling out of line into bike lane, sqealing tires to jump the line a few cars, etc, running red lights and honking and yelling out of window at me.

    Al

  3. #3
    My own worst nightmare
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    A buddy of mine, who's a parent and a fellow bike advocate, found out that the school system here prohibits kids under 10 from bicycling to school, even with their parents. The rationale, of course, is the safety factor of bicycling in "all that car traffic". The irony obviously lost on the school board is that it's so many people driving their kids to school (who could be taking them by bike) constituting much of that traffic. He's fighting to change the rule, of course.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    Yes - the roads I ride are much more dangerous now that grade level school is back in session. Its not the official busses that are a problem, but the parents dropping kids off and the high school kids driving to school. My route passes three elementary schools and one high school.

    The parents only seem to care about their own kids - these are the drivers that always seem to right hook me, pull out right in front of me, suddenly stop and swing door into road, and u-turn unexpectedly, etc. Its scary really, but does keep me on my toes. Its mostly a 15mph zone thru these areas (it does cut down on my usual 20mph+ ride), I follow the limit and fully take the lane, I've even had parents honk at me (and last year one of them passed me while I was going 15mph in the center of the lane in the 15mph zone!)

    There are seveal crossing guards on this route - one of them is very nice. Monday she said to "watch out for the minivans, you never know what they will do" and Tuesday (I left 10min early to be ahead of the school traffic) she said "looks like you beat the rush hour". Today she said "Lucky you - I am envious" (I think perhaps she is a cyclist who wishes she could be riding)

    The high school is actually a bit more scary - here there are lines of cars waiting to get into the parking lot from each direction - and many of these young drivers seem like they have something to prove - very agressive driving, pulling out of line into bike lane, sqealing tires to jump the line a few cars, etc, running red lights and honking and yelling out of window at me.

    Al

    Maybe you could carry a little something some morning and give it to her. Sounds like a friendship could happen. We need all we can get out there on the roads.

  5. #5
    Every lane is a bike lane Chris L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noisebeam
    Yes - the roads I ride are much more dangerous now that grade level school is back in session. Its not the official busses that are a problem, but the parents dropping kids off and the high school kids driving to school. My route passes three elementary schools and one high school.

    The parents only seem to care about their own kids - these are the drivers that always seem to right hook me, pull out right in front of me, suddenly stop and swing door into road, and u-turn unexpectedly, etc. Its scary really, but does keep me on my toes. Its mostly a 15mph zone thru these areas (it does cut down on my usual 20mph+ ride), I follow the limit and fully take the lane, I've even had parents honk at me (and last year one of them passed me while I was going 15mph in the center of the lane in the 15mph zone!)
    What's worse is the number of parents who try this crap within 100 metres of the school, all while kids are crossing the road!!! You know, I've often wondered just why schools can't take the initiative here. I mean, they may well be the target of a law suit when a kid gets killed trying to cross the road to get to school. Do they have the power to ban really dangerous parents from coming within 200 metres of the school?

    Think about it, if you can get a restraining order for domestic violence, what should you be able to get for threatening the life of a child?
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  6. #6
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Over here you can tell the beginning of the school year by the obvious increase in the number of kids either walking, cycling or using public transportation. I guess not many parents drive their kids to school. The four bus lines passing my home must have about 10 rush hour bus departures between them that only run during the school year.

    So there are more of us sharing the paths now, and the kids often ride in groups to make passing even more challenging . I am still glad to see them on bikes.

    --J
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  7. #7
    Senior Member KevinmH9's Avatar
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    Ugh I recently had this problem happen to me......A woman pulled onto the shoulder directly in front of me with a mini van full of kids, I can guarntee she saw me, and she pulled out right in front of me, I couldn't go around her in risk of a large school bus hitting me, so at the last instant I had to slam on the brakes nearly going right into the back of the van. Only problem was she was dropping her kids off at the bus stop. I don't understand some mothers these days, some parents will sit at the bus stop with their kids for 15-30 minutes at the most, and instead of wasting your time, why don't you just take them to school yourself instead of waiting for the bus? Sure waste a little gas, but nearly hit me?

  8. #8
    Sumanitu taka owaci LittleBigMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH
    Unfortunately most school bus drivers (either variety) don't know how to safely pass a cyclist.
    Ron, for years I have been frustrated with the school bus drivers in my neighborhood. Many of them would speed through our 25 mph. streets, and there were lots of buses because the elementary school here was a local pick-up point. I always meant to call someone, but it was hard to read the number on speeding buses.

    The other day, a speeding bus flew past my driveway as I was getting into my car. I followed him, got his number, and sent an e-mail to Dekalb County schools.

    I was suprised when a representative called me the very next evening. She asked for details and informed me that drivers who got any traffic ticket whatsoever while in a bus were subject to dismissal. She said she'd be out there ASAP with her very own radar ***. She could not issue a ticket, but if he did it again I was to notify her. I will.

    Now I have some ammunition.
    No worries

  9. #9
    Vello Kombi, baby Poguemahone's Avatar
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    Gah, don't remind me. There's a spot on my regular commute where the Bus drivers have to take a left turn to get to the city school bus depot. Inevitably, if they see me coming straight on from the other direction, they simply ignore me and the right of way and turn right (left) into me. I've nearly been plastered several times.

    On second thought, remind me.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH
    What's the scariest vehicle that passes me when I'm riding? The "family school bus".

    It may as well be called a family school bus because it's almost as big as the mini-buses.


    Now we not only have the family school buses to worry about but the regular school buses. Unfortunately most school bus drivers (either variety) don't know how to safely pass a cyclist.
    If I'm not correct, you do not need a CDL license to drive these buses and the level of professionalism is real low. You can get your driver's license today and get your job hauling kids around town the next day. Most of these drivers are low paid so you'll never get top quality people. I find these drivers take the corners very fast which is why you see so many accidents with school buses.

  11. #11
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Where I live city busses are not allowed to turn on red, but school busses are apparently. I had a school bus nearly wipe me out when I was stopped at red in middle of lane, the bus went over the centerline to pass me and turn right and came within a few inches of me.

    Al

  12. #12
    Senior Member Crazy Cyclist's Avatar
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    most of these drivers ( family school buses and real school buses are women). enough said

  13. #13
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madpogue
    A buddy of mine, who's a parent and a fellow bike advocate, found out that the school system here prohibits kids under 10 from bicycling to school, even with their parents. The rationale, of course, is the safety factor of bicycling in "all that car traffic". The irony obviously lost on the school board is that it's so many people driving their kids to school (who could be taking them by bike) constituting much of that traffic. He's fighting to change the rule, of course.
    Thats interesting. They don't do that around here as I pass 3 schools on my way to work and their are bike paths to the schools. I was surprised this morning to see 3 big bike racks packked with bikes outside the school. If I were that father I would ignore that rule and ride with my son or daughter anyway screw em. What if you don't have a car?

  14. #14
    My own worst nightmare
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfmckenna
    What if you don't have a car?
    Why that's, that's, that's UnAmerican! What're you, some kinda COMMIE?

    Thing is, John is too much of a community activist to simply ignore the rule. He is, AFAIK, acting in defiance of it, but he knows that that only works for him. He's a crusader (he championed a bike path for a "missing link" thru the center of town, connecting two other heavily-used commuter paths, slated to be built next year), and his intention is to get the rule changed, for the sake of every affected parent and student.

  15. #15
    Cyclocrosser.
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    I got attacked by a pedestrian yesterday after school while I was riding through their campus.. Actually, I was riding on their running track; but I'd never had a problem before. -_- I don't want to tell the whole story, but the main thing is that now that school is back in session, the morons seem to come out of the woodwork.
    Woot: 'bLog

  16. #16
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    What kind of track surface is it?

    The two HS tracks (rubber surfaced) nearest to my house have signs up prohibiting bicycles (and skateboards, dogs and cats)

    Yes cats, the sign actually says "To prevent damage to track bicycles, skateboads, dogs, cats are prohibited"

    I guess they need to make the dog people happy that they are not being singled out over cat people

    What if I want to walk my horse?

    Please do not read this that I am suggesting that anyone at any time has a reason, signs or not, to push someone on a bike or not on a bike for an unprovoked reason.

    Al

  17. #17
    Cyclocrosser.
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    Actually, this track has no sign. I run my tires at 45 psi to avoid being to grippy on the track and I actually figure that I am doing about the same damage as peoples shoes. Bunches of people walk dogs (who crap on the track) and no one says boo to them. Kinda made me mad that this guy was such a butt to me. Ladies push strollers on the track, too. I never get in anyones way, I don't go fast; just in circles. Lots of circles at 90rpm. Oh well, to the parking lot for me, I guess.
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  18. #18
    Bike Happy DanFromDetroit's Avatar
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    [hijack]
    Anyone on a running track going much faster or slower than a runner is a hazard to the runners on the track. This applies to dog walkers, bladers, cyclists, or cartwheelers. If you are using a track, you should also pay attention to lane markings and avoid moving counter to the flow of traffic.

    If the track is deserted, a bicycle won't harm the surface. The reason for the sign is that tracks often become clogged with non-running users, so much so that they can't be used for running.
    [/hijack]

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  19. #19
    Cyclocrosser.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanFromDetroit
    [hijack]
    Anyone on a running track going much faster or slower than a runner is a hazard to the runners on the track. This applies to dog walkers, bladers, cyclists, or cartwheelers. If you are using a track, you should also pay attention to lane markings and avoid moving counter to the flow of traffic.

    If the track is deserted, a bicycle won't harm the surface. The reason for the sign is that tracks often become clogged with non-running users, so much so that they can't be used for running.
    [/hijack]

    Dan
    Didn't think of that one. I'll just go when no one's there ^_^;
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  20. #20
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I generally agree that normal cycling wont harm a track. However the old track was definintely damaged by kids skiding out on track.

    The HS track team raised money over several years to get it resurfaced last year - resurfacing cost thousands of dollars. They are now understandably very picky about how its used.

    As to other slow users there is also a sign that reads "Recreational runners and walkers please use lanes 5 & 6" in addition to the 'no cycling, etc.' sign.

    Al

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    You all think that's bad, a friend of my was walking across the street and was hit by a minivan turning right. There were three brats in the van and the mother had turned around while turning right and didn't see him walking across. He had the walk sign at the time. She broke his right leg. That's not the only incident I have seen with vehicles loaded with kids.

    I was almost hit by a school bus several years ago. I was walking across a cross walk and the school bus came flying through not even slowing down, while the other two lanes of cars had already stopped. I jumped back in the nick of time. I was so close to the bus, the wind from it almost pulled me into it. I took the bus number down and made sure I got the driver fired! I went to every school council meeting and brought this up until she was gone!

    Buses are the worst with minivans second, SUVs third, and pickup trucks fourth! There are jsut too many distractions in the larger vehicles because they carry so many more passengers to distract the driver!

  22. #22
    Jazz from Hell glomarduck's Avatar
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    Oh Yeah think a cheese bus is scary try having a full sized charter bus on your ass with no were to turn and did I mention the driver is honking at you because your in the bus lane (city bus M.T.A. which is frequently used as a safe haven for bikers) which is right next to the curb.
    I carried it around with me for days and days.. playing little games like not looking at it for a whole day and then.. looking at it. to see if I still liked it. I DID!

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