May 30, 2001 11:02 AM
|Nice day yesterday, I go out for a ride about the time school is getting out. The roads are clogged with soccer moms and school buses. I pass a local middle school and turn on to a residential road that I frequent that has very little traffic and plenty of shade. Almost immediately, I come up onto a school bus. No big deal, I can practice my track stand and sprint behind the bus. Three stops later I am still behind the bus. Being a responsible cyclist, I refuse to pass a stopped bus so my only chance is to get past while it is moving. I stop once again for another stop. I take the opportunity to get a drink from my bottle, and get blasted by a noxious cloud of exhaust. I cough and lose my balance. I roll forward three or four feet and regain control just to the tail side of the bus where I can be seen from the door. I had been completely obstructed by the bus at the last stops. I track stand, and watch the crossing gaurd direct the last of the students across the road. After the kids are long across, the guard is still standing there looking at me. She says to me that I am supposed to stop when the bus is stopped. I reply that I'm not moving at all. She looks at me like it is impossible for someone to stand still on a bicycle. I say that I have been trackstanding right behind the bus for three stops, and would never pass a stopped bus. I now have a major lapse in concentration and have to put a foot down. I'm a little pissed that the crossing guard would waste my time and hers to admonish me for something that I wasn't even doing. Using my anger once the bus starts rolling, I sprint past the bus @ 35mph and break clear, motoring up the road at close to 30. I feel good to finally be past the bus, more so after getting chewed for something that I would never do.
It's frustrating to me that motorists and people in general always seem to assume that if you are on a bike, you are doing something wrong and shouldn't be there. I would dare to say that I'm much more responsible than your average driver. School buses are quickly becoming one of my least favorites. After this yesterday, and an incident last year when I had to jump a curb to avoid being hit by a bus that didn't signal before making a right turn in front of me I have less respect for the proffesionalism of your average bus driver and crossing guard team. I guess I expect poor behavior from your average motorist. I would like to think though, that a proffesional driver in a school bus should be held to a higher level of competence, and understanding for other road users.
Oh well, rant over. I'm going to go ride now.
|re: Bus stop||JL|
May 30, 2001 11:28 AM
|I sometimes ride at that time myself, and buses seem to be one of the worst at going around me. They seem to speed more than other vehicles, especially when its an empty bus. Everytime I hear some diesel powered monster coming behind me, I feel myself tense up and brace for impact (or at least the huge gust of wind).
I try to avoid peak school drive times now, or at least avoid the usual heavy school traffic areas. It scares me that my children will be riding a bus soon, after seeing what some bus drivers do on the road.
Plus, the exhaust some of these behemoths spit out is horrible. Can't they make a more "fuel efficient" bus. Diesel fumes are the worst.
Just adding/agreeing with your rant.
|re: Bus stop||mike mcmahon|
May 30, 2001 11:34 AM
|When I saw the title of your message, I thought you were going to write about my pet peeve. Where I live some genius in the streets bureau seems to have decided that the city can save a few pennies by eliminating concrete patches at bus stops. Instead, many are asphalt. The problem is that the roads get so hot in the summer time that a _____ pound bus turns the stuff into the equivalent of silly-putty when it comes to a stop, loads and offloads passengers, and accelerates away. As a result the asphalt near bus stops have become major hazards. The worst part is that the really bad section is typically right where a cyclist is likely to be. PLEASE USE CONCRETE PADS AT BUS STOPS! Now my rant is over.|
|re: Bus stop||Bike Fool|
May 30, 2001 11:55 AM
|Sorry for that encounter, Peloton. I've long held that some of the worst drivers in my area are school bus drivers, and the funny thing is, the local news teams had a field day when there were a rash of bus accidents in the past school year. I've only reported two close calls to the authorities, and both were with school buses.
About six months ago, a bus driver was stopped by an irate parent as the bus was dropping off kids, called the cops. Turned out the bus driver was drunk as skunk, and had a half empty can of beer in her lap. Howzat for safety??
|re: Bus stop||peloton|
May 30, 2001 2:10 PM
|That is pretty bad, not all that unbelievable though.
I have called and complained to the director of transportation for the local school system before. I wouldn't for this encounter, I expect rudeness from most people. I would call for a near miss like I had last year when I had the choice of hopping a curb or hitting a bus broadside. The funny thing about that time was that I rode up to the side of the bus at the next stop and was told by the bus driver that I should watch what I was doing because it was a road meant for cars. I was pretty irate that time. I guess it's okay to run over cyclists because they aren't cars by her logic. It is sad that this is the caliber of people who transport the future of our country. I just needed to post the experience because I have become a little shocked by the frequency that I have a negative encounter with a school bus. I'm pretty careful to be out of the way, and act low key most of the time too, so I don't have many encounters with cars to begin with.
|The Great Unwashed||gonzowest|
May 30, 2001 12:03 PM
|appear to remain somewhat in ignorance of the true worth of our favoured mode of transport, to say nothing of the laws which regulate our highways. I had a pedal back out during a commute to work about two weeks ago. I carry most of the basics with me, but a pedal wrench is not among the contents of my on-road repair kit. I one legged it to a near-by tire store and asked the mechanic if I could borrow a wrench to re-attach the pedal, which he kindly did, however not before asking if I was one of those people who rode my bike on the road instead the sidewalk;-)
|Professionalism is a commodity...||Kristin|
May 30, 2001 12:34 PM
|In our new service oriented society, professionalism goes for a premium. It'll bag any person $15/hour minimum; regardless of IQ, education or work experience. At $6 somthing per hour, its hard to stock school buses or transit systems with professionals. Bummer...that's our future in those school buses.|
May 30, 2001 12:38 PM
|Whenever I think of school bus drivers I think of Otto (Otto-dude) from the Simpsons. Otto is the dope-smoking, guitar-playing dude who can't hold down a job anywhere else, so they hire him to drive the bus stuffed full of elementary school tikes. I'm sure school bus drivers hate that character almost as much as convenience store clerks hate Apu.|
May 31, 2001 8:01 AM
|I've seen many of the local school bus drivers here, and they actually look like Otto, minus the (illegal) walkman. Long hair, unclean, with an expression that says this whole world is an inconvience to me. People I wouldn't trust with my car (or bike!) are running my kids around town.
Maybe I shouldn't stereotype, some of my good friends ARE aging hippies.