PORT AUTHORITY BUS + BIKE LANE == squish?

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n3glv
Member
#

Anyone else been run off the rode by a BUS?
On several occasions coming down into town on 5th ave I have had a bus
(61 etc) come around me, and while I was still BESIDE HIS TANDEMS cut
over to the bus stop. I grabbed brakes, passed him while he was stopped,
only to have him rinse and repeat at the every chance!

I mentioned this to John Robison @ the advisory board and he suggested
I come to / join his board. But their bylaws seem to require attendance of
_EVERY_ meeting every month.. pfffft

(had similar happen between first church and N.Craig in N. Oakland)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I am also on that board. Attendance at every meeting isn’t necessary, but it would be a good idea to stay in contact with others on the board every month.

Personally, I don’t like to pass buses. I stay a car length or so behind them. Cars see the bus and are more likely not to give me trouble. Plus I can tell where the bus is going, and I know that if I do get ahead of it, it’s just going to be breathing down my neck again in short order. So there isn’t much point.


cowchip
Member
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Excellent advice
Some Drivers do not operate safely , Bus Drivers included


Pierce
Participant
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I stopped passing busses after the first time I got sideswiped by one :)

I don’t think they’re continually checking their right mirror so if you pass them while they’ve moving and they swing over a little, you’re hit.


byogman
Member
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I’m sorry to hear that. My impression was that riding in on 5th, the buses we’re getting better.

I did throw this out there a ways back:
http://talent-city.com/BusCameras

If you want to add your experience in there that would be good. In spite of the cynicism, please do complain through official channels, too. Vannevar I’m sure could help you with that.


Benzo
Participant
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I don’t know what your subject has to do with a bike lane, as I don’t know of any bike lane is on 5th? Can you elaborate?

My approach to reducing conflict with busses:

I very cautiously pass a moving bus on the right in a bike lane and watch for bus stops ahead where they may try to pull in to. If a buss is making lots of stops and pulling to the right frequently, I’m probably just going to follow the bus a bit slower and not pass. I’ll wait till there is a stretch where there are no bus stops and pass there.

I don’t pass a stopped bus on the right to avoid passengers boarding and loading (unless I’m in a bike lane, and they have already finished loading / unloading and the doors have been closed).

I rarely pass on the left unless there are multiple traffic lanes. I’ll usually switch lanes and go around if it’s safe. There are few places in pittsburgh where this is actually an option though. Forbes and Fifth from oakland to downtown come to mind.

I take the lane when it’s too narrow for a bus to pass me (often on friendship ave) and make them wait till there is a good place to pass.

Really, I find that busses are pretty predictable. I occasionally get a close pass, but if I don’t push my luck I avoid a lot of squishy scenarios.


n3glv
Member
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My point is more that shareverons / lines, etc not withstanding. These drivers
seem to expect bikes to AVOID their flagrant “I’m coming over, _NOW_” style.
Really, does someone need to DIE to get their attention?

Given the law says that we’re supposed to get 4′ when possible, what’s in a line?

Are the lines like that magic smoke barrier that used to be in the resteraunts
where the next table over could smoke while I have to hit my inhaler? (and the
non smoking was always at the back, forciing non-smokers to pass THROUGH
the smoke?)

It would be nice to think that if there is a line that if a car, bus etc crossed it
while a bike was there, that a ligtning bolt would strike them down. Or prevent
them from crossing into ‘our lane’ like some force field. But really this is about
(imo) getting busses and others to obey the four foot law not painted lines .
Which I might add become slippery when wet and increase hazard to bikes.


Vannevar
Participant
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If you have a particularly egregious event – but which I mean, you actually felt threatened for your safety and not just from a policy perspective – you could call Port Authority Police. You’ll need busnumber, exact location, exact time.

Ask to speak to a detective, tell them you were almost hit by a bus and want to see the videotape. If you weren’t “almost hit by a bus”, don’t bother. Different years/models busses have different videocam positions, but they all have some videotapes.

I can suggest what the end result will ikely be (if you don’t mind); they will say these things: The tape is inconclusive. The four foot rule is unenforceable. The driver didn’t see you, and wouldn’t intentionally have done _____. Cyclists should exercise extreme caution passing buses on the right. Safety is our highest priority. Given that likely outcome, some people change their expectations about buses.

I would also say (while I’m speechifying) that I think PAT bus drivers have a very difficult job, that they’re under tremendous schedule pressure, that if they’re late because they’re giving cyclists 4-feet then the boss says it’s their own fault, and I wouldn’t want that job.

Just like the song says: Mr. Jailer, you’re a prisoner too. Bus drivers are human beings in the same lousy street system I’m in.

Just my .02 I truly wish you the best. (also, I agree that paint isn’t infra fwiw)


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Never pass a bus on the right. In fact, unless you are a very strong cyclist capable of maintaining 20 mph on level turf for > 0.25 mile at a time, don’t even try. The bus is your friend, running interference for you in front, and giving impatient drivers behind you a real reason to be annoyed with something going the exact speed you are, instead of with you.

I rarely have trouble with paint lines’ slipperiness. Metal plates, far more often. Exponentially worse when wet.

As to bike lanes, it is actually preferred practice for motor vehicles (cars and buses alike) to merge into the bike lane at an intersection if they plan to make a turn, *provided* they yield to the bike before getting into that lane. The reason for this should be obvious: It is not possible to right-hook a cyclist if the motor vehicle is already directly in line with the cyclist. Coincident with this, if you are on a bicycle in a bike lane, you should be aware of motorists (of whatever size) looking to get in front of you on approach to a corner, and deliberately let them in if there is a conflict. Yes, they should yield to you, but if you can somehow make eye contact, and wave them in, then there will not be a problem.

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