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Terrible MTA Accident Averted: Suggestions To Prevent This While Using Folding Bikes

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Terrible MTA Accident Averted: Suggestions To Prevent This While Using Folding Bikes

Old 09-11-09, 08:47 PM
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Terrible MTA Accident Averted: Suggestions To Prevent This While Using Folding Bikes

At approximately 7:00 pm, I was exiting the MTA bus at the rear door as is usually the case and done on crowded city buses. I had one foot down on the street pavement and one still on the bus' step as I slowly made my way down the stairwell loaded with shopping bags. I guess the bus driver assumed that I exited already since I obviously "disappeared" from his rear view mirrors. So he started to pull away. My foot on the pavement moved rapidly as I could to keep up with the bus' trajectory of pulling away from the bus stop. I screamed as loud as I can (along with the other passengers who witness the almost accident) and thank God the bus stopped in time or I would have been splattered all over a heavily traveled main street packed with cars!

Now for my own peace of mind. I would like to know how to prevent this from happening again if I take one of my folding bikes with me on board a bus in the future as is my habit of combining modes of transport.
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Old 09-11-09, 08:50 PM
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You had the bike inside a shopping bag?
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Old 09-11-09, 08:55 PM
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Jayzus! This place is getting frightening! Once, visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, riding on a bus, I managed to get my shoe caught in the rear door and i couldn't get it out.
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Old 09-11-09, 09:03 PM
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OH MY GOD! Are you alright? Did you file a complaint to Metro?

Er...don't really know how to avoid that, because it really should be the drivers' responsibility to check that all their passengers have all gone down before moving. I actually had a similar incident a while back, but instead of alighting, I was getting my bike from the rack when the driver started moving and he nearly ran me over. I wrote a stern email to the MTA and filed a complaint saying they should tell the drivers to WAIT and LOOK for any passengers still around the bus before moving.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way :p
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Old 09-11-09, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
OH MY GOD! Are you alright? Did you file a complaint to Metro?

Er...don't really know how to avoid that, because it really should be the drivers' responsibility to check that all their passengers have all gone down before moving. I actually had a similar incident a while back, but instead of alighting, I was getting my bike from the rack when the driver started moving and he nearly ran me over. I wrote a stern email to the MTA and filed a complaint saying they should tell the drivers to WAIT and LOOK for any passengers still around the bus before moving.
Yeah, that's exactly what i was thinking. Sounds like the freakin driver was trying to kill you.
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Old 09-11-09, 09:47 PM
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Good to hear your ok.

Here in DC all the buses have these GPS systems that riders (and presumably supervisors) can track where all the buses are via the internet. Customers can be tracking where the bus is close to their stop and they go to the bus stop when it's a few minutes away. I think the management may be pressuing their drivers keep to their schedule. Thus, they're probably speeding up so they won't get in trouble. We've had several incidences recently where bus drivers have run over people legally crossing the street.

Another example: I often see drivers gunning the engine when an elderly person is just walking to her seat. I think bus drivers should see that some people need extra time, but they don't.

I guess my only advice to you is to practice your yelling voice.
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Old 09-11-09, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
You had the bike inside a shopping bag?
Tonight? Not this time. But I usually have one of the bikes with me bagged in it's own bag. It does slow me down just like the shopping bags did tonight.

Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
Jayzus! This place is getting frightening! Once, visiting Edinburgh, Scotland, riding on a bus, I managed to get my shoe caught in the rear door and i couldn't get it out.
Wow! Your experience is so much like mine was. I hope you did not get injured like I could have.

Originally Posted by nekohime View Post
OH MY GOD! Are you alright? Did you file a complaint to Metro?

Er...don't really know how to avoid that, because it really should be the drivers' responsibility to check that all their passengers have all gone down before moving. I actually had a similar incident a while back, but instead of alighting, I was getting my bike from the rack when the driver started moving and he nearly ran me over. I wrote a stern email to the MTA and filed a complaint saying they should tell the drivers to WAIT and LOOK for any passengers still around the bus before moving.
I'm fine. I feel very lucky and fortunate as if the bus increased it's speed just a fraction more, I would have been hurt for sure (and probably would have to go to the hospital). I am planning to file a formal complaint with MTA tomorrow morning as I am still a bit shook up over the experience right now. My goal is not to try to get financial gain from this unfortunate experience, but make sure no one else goes through this scare. I already warned my elderly mother not to use the rear exit.

Originally Posted by werewolf View Post
Yeah, that's exactly what i was thinking. Sounds like the freakin driver was trying to kill you.
I don't think it is anything personal against me. I think it is a case of malfunctioned equipment. The opened doors were supposed to prevent the bus from moving until it closed and the passenger(s) clear the bus.
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Old 09-11-09, 10:06 PM
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Wow! Your experience is so much like mine was. I hope you did not get injured like I could have.

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No, I wasn't hurt. i was just inside the bus and my leather shoes got stuck in the rear door when it closed when I hesitated to let someone off in front of me. That door closes tight! Your situation was much more dangerous.
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Old 09-11-09, 11:21 PM
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I've never heard of the bus being able to move if the rear door is open. Unless the door was malfunctioning, it seems hard to believe the bus company did not fix this issue. Incredible.

I don't think there is a safe way to exit a bus like this with a folder except to leave from the front door.
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Old 09-12-09, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
Now for my own peace of mind. I would like to know how to prevent this from happening again if I take one of my folding bikes with me on board a bus in the future as is my habit of combining modes of transport.
Not to be callous, but the best way to prevent this from happening is to move faster. Not saying it was your fault, but IMO behaving more defensively is more effective than trying to get others to change.

Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
Good to hear your ok.

Here in DC all the buses have these GPS systems that riders (and presumably supervisors) can track where all the buses are via the internet. Customers can be tracking where the bus is close to their stop and they go to the bus stop when it's a few minutes away. I think the management may be pressuing their drivers keep to their schedule. Thus, they're probably speeding up so they won't get in trouble. We've had several incidences recently where bus drivers have run over people legally crossing the street.

Another example: I often see drivers gunning the engine when an elderly person is just walking to her seat. I think bus drivers should see that some people need extra time, but they don't.

I guess my only advice to you is to practice your yelling voice.
Elderly and disabled individuals get a discount for their trouble. Attitudes like yours are one of the reasons why buses have such a poor reputation. The bus needs to run on time as much as lawfully possible. Can you imagine a train slowing down and failing to keep schedule to make it easier for people to take their seats? It's unheard of.
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Old 09-12-09, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Not to be callous, but the best way to prevent this from happening is to move faster. Not saying it was your fault, but IMO behaving more defensively is more effective than trying to get others to change.



Elderly and disabled individuals get a discount for their trouble. Attitudes like yours are one of the reasons why buses have such a poor reputation. The bus needs to run on time as much as lawfully possible. Can you imagine a train slowing down and failing to keep schedule to make it easier for people to take their seats? It's unheard of.
Pretty Callous; next thing you know they will use conductors with cattle prods to get people to move faster.

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Old 09-12-09, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by folder fanatic View Post
Tonight? Not this time. But I usually have one of the bikes with me bagged in it's own bag. It does slow me down just like the shopping bags did tonight.
You mean you didn't have your bike with you? Why is this thread in the folding bikes section then? I agree with Chucky here, move faster. If you can't, at least make the effort to inform the driver that it might take you a while to get off the bus. Common sense.
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Old 09-12-09, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
You mean you didn't have your bike with you? Why is this thread in the folding bikes section then? I agree with Chucky here, move faster. If you can't, at least make the effort to inform the driver that it might take you a while to get off the bus. Common sense.
Clearly she meant that she didn't have it in a bag, not that she didn't have it with her.

I don't want to be misunderstood as leading the charge of a FF bash fest. The bus driver was negligent, but in my experience trying to get a competence from a negligent individual is like trying to draw blood from a stone which is why I suggested moving faster as the most effective way to prevent this from happening again.
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Old 09-12-09, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I've never heard of the bus being able to move if the rear door is open. Unless the door was malfunctioning, it seems hard to believe the bus company did not fix this issue. Incredible.

I don't think there is a safe way to exit a bus like this with a folder except to leave from the front door.
When those doors malfunction they tend to get stuck open and keep the bus from moving. Therefore, although I have no direct knowledge of this, I suspect that bus mechanics regularly "fix" the safety mechanism so the bus will keep rolling, and trust/hope/assume that the operators will be careful.

If there's enough of a crowd that the operator can't see you exiting at the rear, you might just keep bellowing "OUT PLEASE" until you are out.
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Old 09-12-09, 06:55 PM
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The bureaucratic answer is to write to the transit authority, your local politicians and mayor to complain.

The practical answer is to accept that you are participating in a transit system and that no one element/person in the system is 100% responsible for your safety. You can and should do what you can to make yourself safe:

- get up and be at the door early so you have the maximum amount of time to get off
- move quickly and efficiently when exiting the bus/train
- be honest with yourself about how much luggage incl your folder you can safely deal with...just because you can physically carry 6 shopping bags and a folding bike for example doesn't mean you should or that it's safe to do so.
- if you've taken too long to get to the door it might be safer to miss your stop than try and get out regardless

Without being there and observing what actually happened it's hard to give you more practical advice.
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Old 09-13-09, 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Clearly she meant that she didn't have it in a bag, not that she didn't have it with her.
Read OP's first post, clearly there was no bike involved. Anyway this happens in NYC too, again it is best to be prepared to move fast and let the driver be aware. Again, common sense.
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Old 09-13-09, 04:24 AM
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I work for a bus company and NO!! it should not be able to move off with the rear door open especially on newer buses. Older buses are a different story.

Sounds more like lack of regular servicing than malfunction, however, sometimes strange things do happen, even on new buses.
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Old 09-13-09, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
I've never heard of the bus being able to move if the rear door is open. Unless the door was malfunctioning, it seems hard to believe the bus company did not fix this issue. Incredible.

I don't think there is a safe way to exit a bus like this with a folder except to leave from the front door.
That was my understanding for the many years that I used MTA for all my public transportation needs.

Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Not to be callous, but the best way to prevent this from happening is to move faster. Not saying it was your fault, but IMO behaving more defensively is more effective than trying to get others to change.

Elderly and disabled individuals get a discount for their trouble. Attitudes like yours are one of the reasons why buses have such a poor reputation. The bus needs to run on time as much as lawfully possible. Can you imagine a train slowing down and failing to keep schedule to make it easier for people to take their seats? It's unheard of.
Around the Southern California area, the people who were in the past and some at present who uses public transit are the elderly and the disabled. These special needs groups are of course, slower moving than the general population. Without a 25 pound folding bike and/or small child-not too often thank God!, and packages that I sometimes carry, I can move quite nimbly. But the downside of anything that weights down a person is caution moving through tight mostly potential hazardous spaces (narrow aisles, stairwells, and feet and junk clogging aisles too) without bumping or tripping over surly fellow passengers adds enough grief to any journey to prevent trouble with these same people. Now this? So I do what I am supposed to do here and offline and report my findings.

Originally Posted by EastBiker View Post
You mean you didn't have your bike with you? Why is this thread in the folding bikes section then? I agree with Chucky here, move faster. If you can't, at least make the effort to inform the driver that it might take you a while to get off the bus. Common sense.
On board any bus, my folding bike becomes a "package" along with everything else I carry (except the child) since it is 99% of the time in a bag of some sort. Another thing I did not anticipate is my being rather tired (this took place in the evening) and that means that even a younger person might slow down a bit (I am past 50 and maybe a bit more). When I bought my folding bikes, the main reason I bought them for was security concerns. While I think another type of bike would have fitted my needs better as far as transporting the packages (mostly), pets (sometimes), and kid (very rarely) far better. But the bike is and does what it was intended for and the best answer for bike ownership before I would have opted for no bike ownership at all-and another car clogging the roads around here.

Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Clearly she meant that she didn't have it in a bag, not that she didn't have it with her.

I don't want to be misunderstood as leading the charge of a FF bash fest. The bus driver was negligent, but in my experience trying to get a competence from a negligent individual is like trying to draw blood from a stone which is why I suggested moving faster as the most effective way to prevent this from happening again.
Don't worry about it, Chucky. I am just grateful that everything turned out just the way it had. I am able to sit behind my computer right now on Sunday and type this out. Rather than being in intensive care or dead.

One of the reasons why I write here and other places is that people are made aware of the possible hazards-no matter how remote-and problems that might be considered unrelated to folding bike ownership over the years is-surprise-they are. We will all get old, can have an accident, or might opt for elder or child care in our lives. Because our bikes are so portable and can go far more places that would not be suitable for most other bikes does not mean they are not without problems. That is just the way it is.

Originally Posted by Nerdanel View Post
When those doors malfunction they tend to get stuck open and keep the bus from moving. Therefore, although I have no direct knowledge of this, I suspect that bus mechanics regularly "fix" the safety mechanism so the bus will keep rolling, and trust/hope/assume that the operators will be careful.

If there's enough of a crowd that the operator can't see you exiting at the rear, you might just keep bellowing "OUT PLEASE" until you are out.
As I stated in my formal complaint to the MTA yesterday...."there is no way for a passenger to know if the doors are working properly-unless they are actually used...."


Originally Posted by vik View Post
The bureaucratic answer is to write to the transit authority, your local politicians and mayor to complain.

The practical answer is to accept that you are participating in a transit system and that no one element/person in the system is 100% responsible for your safety. You can and should do what you can to make yourself safe:

- get up and be at the door early so you have the maximum amount of time to get off
- move quickly and efficiently when exiting the bus/train
- be honest with yourself about how much luggage incl your folder you can safely deal with...just because you can physically carry 6 shopping bags and a folding bike for example doesn't mean you should or that it's safe to do so.
- if you've taken too long to get to the door it might be safer to miss your stop than try and get out regardless

Without being there and observing what actually happened it's hard to give you more practical advice.
Thanks for the advice! As for the packages & other things I am forced to carry, I decided to exit the front door from now on. If you look at the actual photographed curb, I think you will begin to see what contributed to the near accident.

Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
I work for a bus company and NO!! it should not be able to move off with the rear door open especially on newer buses. Older buses are a different story.

Sounds more like lack of regular servicing than malfunction, however, sometimes strange things do happen, even on new buses.
Thank you Stevegor. It is making more sense now and I am glad you took the time to post. I will exit the front door from now on, weighed down with bike, pets, kid, or nothing at all (my ideal way of getting around on buses now).

Below are 2 photos I took the day after of the faulted bus' model (not the same exact bus though) and the lack of a actual curb at most of that bus stop which I feel contributed to the almost-accident. I have filed a formal complaint and hope to prevent another near miss or worse there. I will exit at this part of the bus from now on no matter what I am carrying.
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Old 09-13-09, 02:47 PM
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Firstly, I'm glad you are OK, things like this can scare the heck out of you. Don't let it stop you using public transport as it is a cheap and usually safe way of traveling.

That bus has steps at the front doors?
It looks like an older style bus. My company use modern Scania buses which have low floors at the front, I think our doors might be wider as well. I also noticed your bus has wheel chair access, which means it should have a low floor at the rear doors, that would still be easier to dismount with your bike that getting down those front steps.

Just adding, if you've made a complaint directly to the bus company they should inspect that rear door immediately.....we would.

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Old 09-13-09, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chucky View Post
Can you imagine a train slowing down and failing to keep schedule to make it easier for people to take their seats? It's unheard of.
This isn't a train, it's a bus.
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Old 09-14-09, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ShinyBiker View Post
This isn't a train, it's a bus.
I can't imagine why a bus being behind schedule makes any more sense than a train. People are counting on it to arrive fairly close the schedule time so 1) they get to their destination on time and 2) they are not waiting at the stop for ages.

If transit doesn't operate on time it loses a lot of its utility because you have to start traveling so early in order to be on time at your destination.
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Old 09-14-09, 11:30 AM
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The big mistake that many people make is to assume that transport systems operated by inattentive, badly paid human beings are ever 'safe'. Obviously, it's pretty safe, but every human operated system, particularly systems run by single individuals with multiple tasks to carry out is potentially failure prone. It is not uncommon as far as accidents go for people to be caught up and dragged by buses. It happens when coats get trapped in closing doors. It happens with metro trains too when doors close on clothing. Mostly, people's screaming can alert someone to stop the bus/train by intervening with the driver.

The single greatest hazard that cyclists suffer from buses is that they turn at traffic light controlled junctions and crush cyclists who are waiting for the lights to change between the bus and the kerb. This killed about half the cyclists who died in London last year, though not all of the vehicles concerned were buses. It is a feature of large, long wheel based vehicles where the rear of the body swings inward during a turn. Cyclists get caught up and dragged under them.

The comments about taking 'defensive' action are absolutely on the button. ALWAYS assume that other road users will make mistakes, foresee what they might be and be ready to take avoiding actions when they do.
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Old 09-14-09, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by stevegor View Post
Firstly, I'm glad you are OK, things like this can scare the heck out of you. Don't let it stop you using public transport as it is a cheap and usually safe way of traveling.

That bus has steps at the front doors?
It looks like an older style bus. My company use modern Scania buses which have low floors at the front, I think our doors might be wider as well. I also noticed your bus has wheel chair access, which means it should have a low floor at the rear doors, that would still be easier to dismount with your bike that getting down those front steps.

Just adding, if you've made a complaint directly to the bus company they should inspect that rear door immediately.....we would.
Thank you for your concern, Stevegor. Older buses like this one are usually assigned on my end of town. The newer buses that are purchased seem to go to the more "tourist & better heeled" crowd over on the West side where the more world-wide famous places-and money-are. The better MTA Red Rapid express limited stop system (pictured below from https://www.chaffeeyiu.com/labus/mtarapid.htm) and the other transit companies like Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Culver City and the like seem to offer their passengers the same type of bus-wider aisles, and the single low step to the street at all entrances and exits. I take the same bike and/or packages and never had a problem getting on or off these types of buses. The bus that I photographed yesterday is the same in the rear with 3 steps to go down on as the front-just minus a wheelchair lift. There is a mirror positioned right at this stair well, but since there is no curb to step on, (See below for a close-up of the bus' rear end.) I guess he lost my image when I made it to the last step to go off the bus. I just will be extra cautious now around the older buses, not take too much for granted, and exit the front only. I realize now how hard it is for the bus driver to watch traffic, watch passengers both getting on and off the bus, and collect fares at the same time. How stressful! No wonder the bus drivers seem to retire so early at age 55 here.

Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
The big mistake that many people make is to assume that transport systems operated by inattentive, badly paid human beings are ever 'safe'. Obviously, it's pretty safe, but every human operated system, particularly systems run by single individuals with multiple tasks to carry out is potentially failure prone. It is not uncommon as far as accidents go for people to be caught up and dragged by buses. It happens when coats get trapped in closing doors. It happens with metro trains too when doors close on clothing. Mostly, people's screaming can alert someone to stop the bus/train by intervening with the driver.

The single greatest hazard that cyclists suffer from buses is that they turn at traffic light controlled junctions and crush cyclists who are waiting for the lights to change between the bus and the kerb. This killed about half the cyclists who died in London last year, though not all of the vehicles concerned were buses. It is a feature of large, long wheel based vehicles where the rear of the body swings inward during a turn. Cyclists get caught up and dragged under them.

The comments about taking 'defensive' action are absolutely on the button. ALWAYS assume that other road users will make mistakes, foresee what they might be and be ready to take avoiding actions when they do.
+1
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Old 09-14-09, 01:57 PM
  #24  
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I believe there are supervisors that wait at certain stops from time to time that make sure the drivers are close to their schedule arrival times. This puts them under a lot of pressure, but it doesnt excuse them from making sure everyone is safe which should be their first priority. Glad to hear you are okay and made a formal complaint so it can be dealt with.
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Old 09-15-09, 06:18 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by EvilV View Post
The single greatest hazard that cyclists suffer from buses is that they turn at traffic light controlled junctions and crush cyclists who are waiting for the lights to change between the bus and the kerb. This killed about half the cyclists who died in London last year, though not all of the vehicles concerned were buses. It is a feature of large, long wheel based vehicles where the rear of the body swings inward during a turn. Cyclists get caught up and dragged under them.
That's why I NEVER wait for a light beside another vehicle. I get in line in my proper order of arrival and take the lane. This upsets drivers behind me sometimes, but let them honk - it isn't THEIR lives at risk, it's MINE.

OTOH, I really prefer to ride on bike trails and quiet suburban streets without lights and heavy traffic.
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