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A warm, fuzzy TriMet story

Posted by on January 5th, 2007 at 1:56 pm

[Bike and bus playing nice on the Hawthorne Bridge.]

Got this email from a reader a few weeks back:

“I am not sure if you have heard of this happening before so I am sharing this story with you. I was riding east across the Hawthorne bridge and was passed but the # 14 bus. My initial thought was; great, now I have to share the bike lane with a bus.

Then, as I continued my commute, I was stopped at the stop light at Hawthorne and Grand and I noticed the bus was also stopped at the light and that the door was open. When I pulled up to the light I looked over at the bus driver thinking; now I get to have to deal with an angry bus driver. But the bus driver said “Hey, I am going to let you go ahead, sound good?” I was so amazed I didn’t know what to say. All I could do was wave and say thank you.

Once the light turned green I was given the right of way and all my stressing about having to deal with a bus were gone. It honestly made my commute.”

See, sometimes all it takes is a little common sense and compassion for each other out there and we can all get along.

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Comments
  • J-On-Bike January 5, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve been commuting for 2-years via Hawthorne and Broadway. Riding about town to do errands, too. I’ve never had any problems with buses on my bike.

    Today, however, I didn’t ride my bike and wanted to be a passenger on a 9-Broadway bus. The first bus blew past me (I *know* the driver saw me wave) as I hustled up to the bus-stop. Then, I sprinted 2.5 blocks to the next stop where the bus stopped for a red-light. The driver pulled away when I was 5-ft from the door and the light turned green. I was so completely PO’d.

    Every time I choose to not ride my bike to work…I regret it. Even on the rainiest of days – I never regret riding my bike.

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  • natallica January 5, 2007 at 3:32 pm

    i once witnessed the same thing happen in the same intersection…it was awesome!

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  • Jessica Roberts January 5, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    I often find that drivers on the Hawthorne Bridge are considerate of me. I try to wave and smile when I can to reinforce that behavior.

    I’d love to do another TriMet driver appreciation BotB … anyone thinking of doing that?

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  • PFin January 5, 2007 at 4:22 pm

    I always try to yield to buses, giving them as much room as I can. I feel this sets a good example for motorists (and other cyclists), most of whom will cut off a bus right up to the point where it has retaken the lane.

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  • Sara January 5, 2007 at 9:20 pm

    I have another nice bus driver story.

    There is a particular light that I can’t trip the sensors for (turning left on 185th from Willow Creek). The other day, a bus (turning right) lingered extra long in order to trip the light for me. I doubt there was any other reason for it, as there was no other traffic at the time.

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  • beth January 5, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    I’m gonna share all this bus-love with my brother-in-law. He drives for TriMet. = )

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  • john q public January 6, 2007 at 12:11 am

    Hurrah for the Tri-met divers who are going out of their way to be extra considerate of us! Perhaps someone could “report” such drivers to Tri-met? Not only do they deserve the thanks, but it would help to reinforce such behavior.

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  • groundshero January 6, 2007 at 9:50 am

    Both on NE Prescott (westbound in the A.M) and E Burnside (eastbound P.M.) I’ve done dances with buses. It’s the frequency of stops that makes the difference. If there’s folks at every 2nd or 3rd stop, I’ll hold back and let the bus get ahead of the rhythm, or the bus will hold back to let me get ahead. If either one of us gets stubborn, we end up perpetually in each other’s way.

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  • eritter January 6, 2007 at 10:16 am

    Even when they’re just driving normally, I’ve found bus drivers (and big-truck drivers too) to be some of the most competent, aware people on the road.

    They were courteous enough that I used to go through the transit mall instead of taking the road to get to the Eastbank Esplanade bike-path entrance … until one day Officer Friendly came along and reminded me (and a few other cyclists) that this was Against The Rules. No tickets that day, just a reminder not to take advantage of bus drivers’ conscientious driving skills.

    It amazes me sometimes the levels of inattention, anger, entitlement, stupidity, and other human-error dangers that we all bring onto the road. But usually, it all works out.

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  • Michael January 6, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    I think some of the courtesy issues with Tri-met buses not waiting for stragglers have to do with their being tracked with GPS and being managed by bean counters. It means they do a much better job of meeting schedules than they used to, but that comes at a cost of personalized service.

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  • Burr January 6, 2007 at 9:48 pm

    These anecdotes are only as warm as fuzzy as the TriMet drivers themselves are…or as TriMet allows / trains them to be…

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  • organic brian January 7, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    J-On-Bike, were you late for the stop and hustling to get to it or just leaving a shelter or sitting spot to get to the sign as the bus pulled up? I sure hope you don’t expect a driver with a bus full of people to wait for you while you run for the bus. A missed green light could mean being minutes behind, and then connections not being made. Other people have places to go.

    Also, TriMet drivers can be fired for allowing boarding / unboarding other than at a posted bus stop, or at least that’s what they say, so chances of a driver allowing you to get on while stopped at a light but not a bus stop are slim.

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  • J-On-Bike January 8, 2007 at 11:59 am

    I completely understand the need to use posted bus-stops only. And I don’t expect the buses to wait too long for approaching passengers. In my experience last week (both at marked stops), the bus would have needed to wait 10-seconds for me to get to the door.

    I rode my bike to work today. It was great!

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  • Jason S. January 8, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I was given the same courtesy by a Tri-met driver while heading west to the Hawthorne Bridge. At the intersection of Morrison and Grand, the driver let me go first. One more reason to adore trimet.

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  • adam January 17, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    seems like it would be hard to get the manual-mandated 4 ft clearance in that photo no matter how helpful the cyclist would be.

    hmmmm

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  • Jonathan Maus January 17, 2007 at 7:42 pm

    Adam,

    on city streets, a 4-ft. clearance is impossible. the streets are just too narrow. we cannot expect it so we must just be extra careful.

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  • John January 18, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    I’ve found that most Trimet drivers in Washington County are considerate of cyclists. I’ve had the driver of a bus also tell me to go first at the Watson and Broadway/Farmington intersection in Beaverton, and I’ve also had a bus give me extra room on Cornell.

    It helps to send a comment to Trimet when a driver is considerate to you. It’s good for them to have commendations at review time and it must be nice to know that their actions are appreciated. I’ve sent Trimet comments giving the bus route, bus number and approximate location and time and they’ve replied back that, that is enough to identify the driver and put a note in their file.

    We concentrate on the negative too much. Good comments can be just as effective (if not more effective) in promoting courteous behaviour in others.

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