Don’t throw me under the bus!

I’ve really been torn as to whether to publish this post or not.  It’s been written for a few days now, but it’s a little close to home.  After much deliberation, I’ve decided that the incident depicted is exactly what this blog is about…my cycling experiences in and around Springfield, MO, and is thus worthy of publication.  Please understand, there is no negative connotation intended.  In fact, I felt the outcome to be positive and upbeat.  Besides…better me than some member of John Q. Public. 

One day last week, a cyclist in Springfield was on his way home from work.  It was a pleasantly cool evening for late June, and he was enjoying his commute through the MSU campus.

As a year-round commuter, this cyclist prides himself in knowing the rules of the road as they pertain to cycling.  He is always careful to ride predictably and safely.  He signals his intentions and “takes the lane” in situations that warrant doing so for his own safety. 

As he came to a stop at the intersection of Cherry and National, he was the only eastbound vehicle.  He positioned himself in the center of the through lane as pictured above, and patiently settled in to await the traffic light’s change.  As he sat there, he absently noticed a city bus approaching from the rear and stopping right behind him.  He wasn’t worried about it.  Historically, local bus drivers have always been courteous and given him plenty of room.  He was positioned exactly where he should be, and even though the bus had it’s right turn signal on, he knew that his obligation was to behave exactly as any other vehicle would behave in that situation.  Since he needed to continue straight, he was waiting for the light to change.

Imagine his surprise, however, when this particular bus suddenly whipped into the vacant left turn lane, then made a right turn onto National in front of him!  His eyes bulged with disbelief as the side of the turning bus careened closer and closer to him as the bus driver executed his turn.

With a shout of both surprise and anger, the cyclist scrambled to the safety of the curb, where he could only watch helplessly as the bus sped off.  Quickly, he noted the bus number and time of day as he stood there with heart pounding. 

Fortunately, this particular cyclist happens to work for the same organization that runs the bus system in Springfield.  He knows the buses are equipped with both interior and exterior cameras and that this incident is now safely preserved on video.  In addition, he knows exactly who can help him get that tape pulled and reviewed!

Within a couple of days, this cyclist receives the satisfaction of knowing that proper reviews have been made of the incident.  The videos clearly showed what happened, and demonstrated improper actions on the part of the bus driver.  That relatively new bus driver(who, frankly, has a slightly different cultural bias toward cyclists than most Springfieldians) has now been educated regarding the rights and responsibilities of bicyclists on our streets and understands how his employer expects him to treat pedestrians and cyclists with the same courtesy and respect he affords other vehicles.

Moreover, the cyclist appreciated the straight-forward manner in which the matter was reviewed and dealt with.  He walked away with a re-affirmed faith in the organization and it’s mission to responsibly serve the citizens of Springfield.

God bless…


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6 Comments on “Don’t throw me under the bus!”

  1. Jim Says:

    I had an irritating bus experience at the same location and the same time of day just a week or so ago. It’s good to know someone has spoke with this driver and that CU takes such complaints seriously.

  2. Zeke Yount Says:

    Very nice outcome! Just goes to show that advocacy does pay off and can do so in a reasonable manner when approached with reason!

    - Zeke

  3. cycler Says:

    I’m glad to hear you got such a satisfying response, and I hope that the driver reforms and in the future drives in a safe and legal way around all road users.

    I wish that all bus systems took things so seriously. There’s a new head of the MBTA here in Boston, who talks the talk about non- motorized transportation, but there are layers of managers, and of course drivers who aren’t on the same page yet.
    They may have given your complaint more weight because you were an insider, which is why we need more bikers in all walks of life- to normalize it, and make sure that everyone knows someone who bikes, and can empathize with that person, and by extension all bikers.

  4. [...] when a dangerous bus driver nearly runs a cyclist over, it helps if the cyclist works for the company that runs the [...]

  5. Arlene Says:

    What was the driver thinking?

    In my nearby city, there were lots of bus/cyclist accidents so they made the bus drivers ride around in the city on bikes for the day!

  6. As most close calls I experience in Boston involve MBTA buses, I have come to fear and loathe them. I don’t mean to. I know they carry many people to and from their destination; I know that bus drivers are tired and overworked and have a difficult job to do. But I just can’t help experiencing fear and loathing when time after time the drivers of these buses seem to blatantly disregard my safety and force me to flee from them lest my life be taken.

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