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Passing a School bus, is it legal?

Old 09-11-12, 03:36 PM
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Trifusion
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Passing a School bus, is it legal?

With back to school i find my commute has more school busses along the way. Generally can you pass a school bus on a bike when the lights are flashing?

I have twice this week and felt very guilty:

Once the bus was on the opposite side of a four lane highway but I was riding the right line. All cars behind me stopped, I didn't pass any cars but went by the bus when it was flashing.

Second time was on a very quiet residential street and I was behind the bus and was going to stop but one of the mothers started having a conversation with the driver through the open door so I passed the bus when it was flashing. I did slow down as I came up to the stop sign attached to the bus.

Was I wrong?

What would you do?

Thanks

Greg
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Old 09-11-12, 03:39 PM
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It my opinion, yes you were wrong.

1) You should act like a car in that respect, especially when it comes to buses.
2) You set a very bad example for the kids on the bus.

Just my opinion.

I did it once while climbing a hill. The buss stopped with red lights flashing and cars stopped. I was on a hill and did not think it was right of me to stop but felt the same way you did. Researched it and thought about it and decided to stop from then on for school buses.
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Old 09-11-12, 03:42 PM
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Four lane highways depend on state law. Here (Florida), the opposite side does not have to stop if the road is divided by a median.

Residential streets, no question. You have to stop. Just like a car. Even if the bus is taking an inordinate amount of time. We do, after all, expect auto drivers to wait patiently behind us until it is safe to pass. What goes around comes around.
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Old 09-11-12, 04:12 PM
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In Texas, you don't have to stop for a school bus headed the other direction if there is a median in the road. Otherwise, you should stop. If you don't want to stop, the letter-of-the-law loophole is to dismount, become a pedestrian, and walk your bike past the school bus.
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Old 09-11-12, 04:14 PM
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I recently caught a bus where a parent was talking to the driver. Incredibly rude for the driver to sit there like that. I did wait though. I wondered if it was legal for the driver to put flashers on for personal reasons. If this had happened in my local area, I might have ridden up and asked. If this was a common occurrence, I would probably complain to the bus company.
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Old 09-11-12, 04:17 PM
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Technically, it was probably illegal. That doesn't make it "wrong." Personally, I would pass slowly at a wide distance if I thought it was safe to do so. If there isn't a lot of space I'd wait.
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Old 09-11-12, 04:45 PM
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It was 'safe' and i went around very slowly but next time I'm stopping. Now that I think more about it I don't want kids on the bus seeing me do the 'wrong thing' and think it might be right.

Thanks for the feedback.

Greg
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Old 09-11-12, 04:45 PM
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So basically you are saying that as an operator of a vehicle upon public right-of-way, you have no idea what your obligations are concerning the laws in your area?

If your really curious you should read the appropriate section of the traffic code for your state. In the states where I am familiar, there is no exemption to the law about not obeying the buses stop signal for bicycles... In other words if the law requires a car to stop in that situation, it also requires a bicycle to stop...
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Old 09-11-12, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I recently caught a bus where a parent was talking to the driver. Incredibly rude for the driver to sit there like that. I did wait though. I wondered if it was legal for the driver to put flashers on for personal reasons. If this had happened in my local area, I might have ridden up and asked. If this was a common occurrence, I would probably complain to the bus company.
Isn't it possible that it was not for personal reasons, but bus(business) related reasons. Lot of legit reasons for parents to talk to drivers.
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Old 09-11-12, 05:16 PM
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If the red lights are flashing stop. If you don't want to stop get off the bike and become a pedestrian.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:04 PM
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In Ohio, the first example is legal. No need to stop if the road is divided into four or more lanes and the bus is coming from the opposite direction. A median is not needed: ORC 4511.75:
(C) Where a highway has been divided into four or more traffic lanes, a driver of a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley need not stop for a school bus approaching from the opposite direction which has stopped for the purpose of receiving or discharging any school child, persons attending programs offered by community boards of mental health and county boards of developmental disabilities, or children attending programs offered by head start agencies. The driver of any vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley overtaking the school bus shall comply with division (A) of this section.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
It my opinion, yes you were wrong.

1) You should act like a car in that respect, especially when it comes to buses.
2) You set a very bad example for the kids on the bus.

Just my opinion.

I did it once while climbing a hill. The buss stopped with red lights flashing and cars stopped. I was on a hill and did not think it was right of me to stop but felt the same way you did. Researched it and thought about it and decided to stop from then on for school buses.
+1
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Old 09-11-12, 06:33 PM
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Acdording to my state laws, yes you were very wrong.

ca.dmv.gov says:

"Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations."

This includes stopping for school busses.
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Old 09-11-12, 06:40 PM
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If the bus has the stop sign out & lights flashing, and you feel like passing, get off your bike & walk. Case closed!!!
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Old 09-11-12, 07:32 PM
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I ride my bike as though I were riding my motorcycle or driving my car... it's the law around here.
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Old 09-11-12, 09:47 PM
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For me it depends on what the road is like where I encounter the bus. Often I hop on the sidewalk opposite the bus until I am past it, then get back on the road.
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Old 09-11-12, 10:10 PM
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Yep, just walk your bike
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Old 09-12-12, 05:08 AM
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I have always stopped, even if the bus is headed in the opposite direction. And it often yields a thank you wave from the bus driver.

One time a small kid would have walked right into my path if I hadn't stopped.
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Old 09-12-12, 06:04 AM
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There was a school bus on my commuting route several years ago that would pull up outside a house, turn the flashers on and put out the folding 'stop' sign - THEN - the driver would walk to the door of the house, meet the mother and child, push the child's wheelchair to the bus, fold down the wheelchair lift, lock and load the wheelchair from the sidewalk, lift the child into the bus, position and lock down the wheelchair in the bus, fold the wheelchair lift back into the side of the bus, share a few brief words with the mother and finally turn off the flashers, fold in the 'stop' sign and pull away. Even though this wasn't a high traffic street, the traffic back up could get over a block long.

Of course the minimum wage driver was just following boiler plate state law and school district policy, but I had to wonder how great the chance really was that the child would suddenly dart out into traffic.

It was actually kinda cool to walk my bike past this and have the street all to myself for the next bit.

Last edited by tcs; 09-12-12 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 09-12-12, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
One time a small kid would have walked right into my path if I hadn't stopped.
Man, it's too bad your bike didn't come equipped with that thing on the front which, if you turn it, causes you to change direction. I've found it's really useful to have on my bike.

Do you act like a Lance-wannabe and blow through there at speed? No. Can you casually cycle by at 5mph? Yes.
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Old 09-12-12, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jfowler85 View Post
Acdording to my state laws, yes you were very wrong.

ca.dmv.gov says:

"Bicycle riders on public roads have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists, and are subject to the same rules and regulations."

This includes stopping for school busses.
Exactly. If you expect drivers to treat you with respect, you have to follow the same rules. Plus it's the law. You could just as easily hit and injure a child as a car.
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Old 09-12-12, 07:01 AM
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In NYC, even passing by @5 mph, is illegal. Besides, what's so important that a person can't wait for the stop sign to be folded back up to go on your way? I deal with bikes & cars passing when my son gets dropped off his school bus - and it can be dangerous. Wait,...or are bicycle riders more important than the children's safety.

We want respect, then I suggest earning it.
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Old 09-12-12, 09:04 AM
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In PA, no vehicle may pass a school bus with flashing red lights and stop sign extended unless it's on the other side of a divided highway (i.e. median in the middle).

Assuming other states have similar laws, you are lucky the bus driver didn't report you.
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Old 09-12-12, 10:31 AM
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Sorry, but this thread is just begging for this:

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Old 09-12-12, 10:34 AM
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In California, illegal.
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