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Detroit bus strikes, kills man retrieving bicycle

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Detroit bus strikes, kills man retrieving bicycle

Old 04-06-15, 09:35 AM
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hotbike
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Detroit bus strikes, kills man retrieving bicycle

I always thought the idea of putting the Bike Rack on the front of a Bus was a bad one...
Now I know:


Detroit bus strikes, kills man retrieving bicycle
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Old 04-06-15, 09:43 AM
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For the record, I do believe in bringing the Bike Aboard the mass-transit vehicle, such as this:

IMG_7900 by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr

But this is a Train, NOT a Bus.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:02 PM
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The Portland MAX now has bike racks for hanging bikes from the front wheel which saves some room and is convenient.

I don't think I've ever loaded a bike on a bus, but I would think good communication is vital. Exit from the front door and tell the driver you're getting your bike. Perhaps bang on the windshield and make eye contact. Wave when you're clear.

I could imagine a person being at ground level right in front of the bus would just disappear in front of the bus.

A rear rack might be safer, but it would hinder communication. Imagine getting off the bus, going to retrieve your bike and having the bus take off.

Oh, and if you hear that air brake, be ready to jump. I've been around heavy equipment enough to know that person vs heavy equipment... the equipment always wins.
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Old 04-06-15, 01:08 PM
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I've never had any problem with using the bike rack on the front of a bus. It's actually very easy and convenient, though I have also always made sure to remind the driver as I disembark that I will be retrieving my bike from the front. Regardless, this story seems to be a case of a bus driver failing to stay alert, and allowing complacency to take the wheel (so to speak).
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Old 04-06-15, 01:40 PM
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There had to be some distraction for the bus driver to not see him.
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Old 04-06-15, 02:57 PM
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I took a look at a photo of a person using a bus-mounted bike rack (the photo matches what I've seen IRL):



and then read this quote from the news article:

Sgt. Cassandra Lewis says it happened about 10:15 a.m. Saturday on the city’s northeast side.
Lewis says the bus driver apparently didn’t see that the passenger who’d just disembarked was trying to retrieve his bicycle.

The sergeant describes the victim as a man in his 50s.

Capt. Timothy Leach says the man was taking longer than usual to remove the bike and the driver was unaware he was still there when she pulled off.

I'm having a difficult time making sense of this. How does the bus driver NOT see the guy trying to retrieve his bike?
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Old 04-06-15, 03:45 PM
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Happened in Chicago about 7-8 yrs ago. Woman was killed taking her bike off the front rack. Driver was faulted. CTA sent/posted reminders to always notify the driver that you will be removing a bike when you exit the bus.
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Old 04-06-15, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I took a look at a photo of a person using a bus-mounted bike rack (the photo matches what I've seen IRL):


How does the bus driver NOT see the guy trying to retrieve his bike?
The person does appear to be a little more visible than I thought, although she is standing to the right of the driver's view. Perhaps he was a dwarf.

However, the equal question is how a person doesn't get out of the way when the bus starts to move. Drop your $50,000 bike, and save yourself. The city will buy a new bike.

20 years ago, Portland had mandatory bike/bus training for riders wanting to carry their bikes on the bus. I don't know if it was ever enforced. I took the training to take the bike on the MAX which was completely different.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:04 PM
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In Houston, when the driver takes off, it's pedal to the metal, if you are directly in front of the bus, you won't have time to do anything.

The article didn't say that the bicyclist didn't tell the driver that he was getting his bike, only that somebody un-named thought the cyclist took more time than typical. Maybe the driver was concentrating on traffic in the mirror and stomped when it was clear without even checking on the cyclist. I don't know.

I ride the bus occasionally. Some of the drivers have poor habits. Some appear to not care.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I took a look at a photo of a person using a bus-mounted bike rack (the photo matches what I've seen IRL):



and then read this quote from the news article:

Sgt. Cassandra Lewis says it happened about 10:15 a.m. Saturday on the city’s northeast side.
Lewis says the bus driver apparently didn’t see that the passenger who’d just disembarked was trying to retrieve his bicycle.

The sergeant describes the victim as a man in his 50s.

Capt. Timothy Leach says the man was taking longer than usual to remove the bike and the driver was unaware he was still there when she pulled off.
I'm having a difficult time making sense of this. How does the bus driver NOT see the guy trying to retrieve his bike?
Well, if you read the headline it's obvious that the bus just did this on its own.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:54 PM
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So, What else is new. The municipal bus driver will probably just get a slap on the wrist, time off work. Finally an attitude of 'just another day on the job'. C'est la vie. They are hiding it under 'alcohol and drug' testing. Instead of owning up to the irresponsibility of the driver. When the passenger had just disembarked the bus.
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Old 04-06-15, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Johnny Mullet View Post
There had to be some distraction for the bus driver to not see him.
Like Elvis is still alive, Black Monday on the New York Stock Exchange never happened in 1987, and the Titanic never sank in 1912 after hitting an ice berg.
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Old 04-06-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
Like Elvis is still alive, Black Monday on the New York Stock Exchange never happened in 1987, and the Titanic never sank in 1912 after hitting an ice berg.
So you actually believe that the bus drive just ran over a guy for the hell of it?
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Old 04-06-15, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by howsteepisit View Post
So you actually believe that the bus drive just ran over a guy for the hell of it?
No, That the bus driver was blatantly ignorant.
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Old 04-06-15, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by desconhecido View Post
In Houston, when the driver takes off, it's pedal to the metal, if you are directly in front of the bus, you won't have time to do anything.
That would mirror my observations here in Pittsburgh. Another thing that I notice about bus drivers here is that they don't depart the traffic lane to pull over to the curb. They stop in the lane and passengers depart the bus and walk to the sidewalk.

Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
No, That the bus driver was blatantly negligent.
Fify.
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Old 04-06-15, 07:46 PM
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My two bits - as a commercial driver with lots of experience in urban settings - I would lay money that the driver's whole attention was on their side mirror and overtaking traffic.

Very sad incident on many levels - for the dead cyclist, yes - but the poor schmuck driving the bus is just a joe out to earn a living - it's not likely they are EVIL or anything like that.

It does seem a good argument for the interior hanging rack arrangement if busses are going to take bikes on board, though. Half the battle for safety could be won, I think, by eliminating situations where one person's life depends on another person's attention.
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Old 04-06-15, 08:07 PM
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FWIW I don't think it makes sense to draw conclusions about safety from isolated incidents. I don't know how often something like this has happened, but alighting passengers are killed fairly often. In some cases they try to cross the street in front of the bus, and are hit by passing vehicles, or in cases of simultaneous movement, the driver will start pulling out, just as someone feels they have time for a dart across the street.

This kind of accident is precisely why it's not legal to pass stopped school buses in either direction. But we (maybe mistakingly) assume adults are a bit smarter than children.

I don't comment on this single event because I have no idea of the bus design, sight lines, timing or any other detail on which any analysis would turn. I assume that both police and private (lawsuit related) accident analysts will be looking at the event and trying to assign responsibility. On the face of it, I suspect it's going to fall on the driver, mainly because that's where the buck stops.
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Old 04-06-15, 08:07 PM
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The hanging rack I mentioned was on the tram in Portland, but you might justify it on the buses, especially the double length buses.
Or, perhaps bring the bikes inside during low readership times, and put them on the bumper during rush hour.

Many vehicles have proximity alarms behind them. If there are blind spots right in front of the bus, then that might be an idea too. One could even add a proximity lockout (with override).

Maybe an alarm for when the driver puts the bus in gear and is ready to go. Or, train the drivers to keep the front door open until everyone is clear, then close the door, sound an alarm, and go. I think school buses used to keep the door open while children walked in front of the bus to cross the street.

As far as distraction...
As I mentioned, communication is key. But, tell a driver that you're getting the bike, hop out. 20 passengers get on, some using the fare box, and one could space out. Do they also use the radio? Perhaps falling behind schedule. And, as others have mentioned, the critical thing for concentration is merging with traffic.

I assume the police have collected witness statements from inside and outside the bus, and are combing through those. It isn't a fun job for anybody involved with the incident.
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Old 04-06-15, 08:37 PM
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Those bus front-mounted bike racks are popular around here. With the thousands of uses they get (coast-to-coast) every day. Accidents are bound to happen. I'd guess there is a ratio of several injury-accidents per each (rare) deadly accident. What a shame.
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Old 04-06-15, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
I always thought the idea of putting the Bike Rack on the front of a Bus was a bad one...
Now I know:


Detroit bus strikes, kills man retrieving bicycle
Wow! Thanks for the post.

I use the bus bike racks each week, sometimes two or three times a day during the weekends. I would never have imagined someone getting killed using the bike rack. I always tell the drive I'm getting off and taking my bike. I try real fast to take the bike off before so that I'm done in less than 10 seconds.

However, now I'm going to have to pay attention to the driver's eyes to see if he's paying attention. I've noticed that a good portion of bus drivers are angry and dislike their job. Other drivers treat their buses like cars and get a kick driving fast and furious. This is my solution.

1. Walk to the front of the bus two blocks before your stop so you can be the first to leave.

2. Notify the driver you're getting off and taking the bike. Show him/her your helmet!

3. Quickly, (as fast as possible) remove your bike from the rack and close the bike rack. (should take no more than 7-10 seconds)

4. Always keep your eyes on the driver. Make him aware that your are there by waving and trying to catch his attention.

5. If he shuts the doors and doesn't see you, get ready to jump out of the way!

I never felt comfortable removing the bike from the front of the bus. Now my fears were real all along!!! Thanks for the article.
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Old 04-06-15, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I suspect it's going to fall on the driver, mainly because that's where the buck stops.
That is correct, its basically going to be about determining if it was criminal negligence or if it was negligence with mitigating circumstances.
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Old 04-07-15, 02:21 AM
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This is what the county busses in my county, look like with bike racks: https://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/a....asp?PrID=7123

This is what the busses for the WMATA(Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority; they are in DC, MD, and VA) look like with bike racks: https://www.wmata.com/about_metro/new...easeID=2574rl]

Even though they are several years old in the press release. The pictures show the difference in the design. But neither design blocks the view of the bus driver. From seeing that a cyclist is getting their bike off the rack.

Last edited by Chris516; 04-07-15 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 04-07-15, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I took a look at a photo of a person using a bus-mounted bike rack (the photo matches what I've seen IRL):



and then read this quote from the news article:

Sgt. Cassandra Lewis says it happened about 10:15 a.m. Saturday on the city’s northeast side.
Lewis says the bus driver apparently didn’t see that the passenger who’d just disembarked was trying to retrieve his bicycle.

The sergeant describes the victim as a man in his 50s.

Capt. Timothy Leach says the man was taking longer than usual to remove the bike and the driver was unaware he was still there when she pulled off.

I'm having a difficult time making sense of this. How does the bus driver NOT see the guy trying to retrieve his bike?
EXACTLY... just another case of a driver violating the most basic rule of not hitting that which is directly in front of you!
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Old 04-07-15, 08:24 AM
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No way can the bus driver escape culpability - they just did not look when pulling away. Period!
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Old 04-07-15, 09:03 AM
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I think it's inherently dangerous (bike rack on the front of a bus), and I would not use one.
I think putting the bike aboard a train is fine, and using a Bike Share Bike at the city destination is a great idea.


IMG_7901 by AviationMetalSmith, on Flickr
My Mountain Bike, with Coroplast™ Panniers, and LED Lights lit, aboard a Long Island Rail Road train^
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