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  #1  
Old 04-20-2007, 08:41 AM
captawol captawol is offline
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Default 53rd & Baseline Hillsboro

I am posting this email that a coworker sent to me. It is the email that he sent to TriMet.
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Hello Trimet,

I am a fairly new bicyclist, riding for the last 3 weeks and commuting to work each day. I have read bicycle safety guides, but I am still learning the laws pertaining to bicycle lanes and related right of way.

During my commute, I use the bicycle lane along Baseline between Brookwood in Hillsboro and Murray in Beaverton. A problem that I encounter routinely is vehicles that do not obey the bicycle lane laws, often not yielding the right of way. I have come accustomed to this behavior from the regular drivers, and have learned to ride defensively. Even then, I find the ride more dangerous than it should be mainly because drivers overall are not aware of cyclists.

When Trimet bus drivers, who supposedly are professionally trained, exhibit the same careless behavior relative to cyclists and bicycle lanes, it becomes even more dangerous for cyclists.

This morning at approximately 6:50AM I was in the eastbound bike lane on W Baseline approaching NE 53rd ave. The road terrain was an incline, so I was up out of the saddle peddling hard as I approached the intersection. The light was green for me. I was nearly at the intersection when a trimet bus slowed along my left side, then the front of the bus swung directly into my pathway, completely blocking the bike lane. The rear of the bus never left the main lane of W Baseline. Only the front of the bus was swung in towards the curb.

The bus completely cut off the bike lane and I was forced to make a emergency stop. I swerved onto the grass along the right side of the bike lane. I then realized the bus was stopping to pick up a waiting passenger. I understand that bus drivers must cross bike lanes to pull over for bus stops, but they should still check for approaching cyclist traffic in the bike lane before doing so and yield the right of way when appropriate.

The bus stop I described was careless, reckless, and put me in danger un-necessarily. My bike is equipped with multiple red and white strobe lights on the front and rear, has many highly visible reflectors, and I was wearing a bright yellow cycling jacket. Plus the way the driver slowed, came along side me, and swung in front of me appeared to be a deliberate maneuver to swing wide around me. So it is difficult for me to believe that the driver didn't know I was there. It was my impression that the driver simply wanted to assert his right to be there over mine. Even if the driver did not know I was there, at a minimum he/she should have looked and verified the bike lane was clear before blocking it in that manner.

The number on the bus was 1807.

This was a frightening experience and I do not want it ignored or left unexplained.

Is there a formal process for reporting these types of issues?

Kindly respond at your earliest opportunity.

Thank you.
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  #2  
Old 04-20-2007, 06:28 PM
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Simple Nature Simple Nature is offline
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Default Similar incident on 185th at Tanasbourg...

Someone mentioned a similar incident on BROL... BentRider Online... where a bus was driving along side of a recumbent bike and just sqeezed the rider into the curb. Trimet does have a very poor attitude when it comes to right of ways... cars or bikes. They are too well protected by the city/county/Metro to have any real liability concerns.

I'm glad your friend is okay and filed the complaint. I ride that section often.

Moral of the story... treat busses like the enemy... "Know your enemy!"
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Old 04-20-2007, 09:55 PM
Donald Donald is offline
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Default Not so Simple

I have to disagree with the characterization of Tri-Met drivers as an "enemy" of cyclists at large.

As I wasn't witness to the situation in question, I won't comment on it other than to say I'm glad everyone's OK.

In over twenty years of riding the streets of Portland, my observation is that bus drivers in general are aware of cyclists and other road users and give them a great deal of respect and courtesy. Sure, I've seen some sketchy situations that may have been the result of inattentivness or worse, but on the whole I would say that a bus is usually the last vehicle I'm worried about. Cell-phone chatting, coffee sipping minivans scare me. Thumping early model sedans with teens peeking up from lowered seats really scare me. Buses, not so much.

On the other hand, I see nearly daily cyclists make life difficult for busses and other professional drivers with rude and often illegal road manners.

Anyway, that's my US$.02.
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:10 PM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Default

Despite a perhaps unfortunate choice of words, I think Simple Nature was using the "know thy enemy" cliche as a metaphor for being ever-vigilant around busses. I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm mistaken.

I too often see cyclists doing stupid stuff. But Donald, your characterization of busses as generally safe and cyclists as generally unsafe seems a bit of an overgeneralization. Or perhaps you didn't mean to convey such a connotation?
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Old 04-21-2007, 06:34 PM
Donald Donald is offline
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Attornatus_Oregonensis View Post
But Donald, your characterization of busses as generally safe and cyclists as generally unsafe seems a bit of an overgeneralization. Or perhaps you didn't mean to convey such a connotation?
Not at all. What I meant to convey was the idea that if we really took at look at it, we might find that in the cyclist/bus relationship, it may be the cyclist who is more often at odds with common courtesy and/or the rules of the road.
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Old 04-23-2007, 08:56 AM
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Attornatus_Oregonensis Attornatus_Oregonensis is offline
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Default

I guess we might. Or we might not. Without data, it's just speculation. But no reason to doubt the accuracy of the above account, right? Or is your perception of who's likely to be at fault generally leading you to discount the claims made regarding the buss's dangerous behavior in this instance?
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Old 04-23-2007, 11:04 AM
Donald Donald is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attornatus_Oregonensis View Post
But no reason to doubt the accuracy of the above account, right? Or is your perception of who's likely to be at fault generally leading you to discount the claims made regarding the buss's dangerous behavior in this instance?
I'm not doubting anything regarding the above report. As I said, I didn't see it.

I'm just responding to SN's characterization of the "enemy" bus. I see a bit of anti-TriMet posturing here and there on this site and I was trying to counteract it a bit. Busses are big and noisy and they represent a big municipal organization and I think that makes them an easy target. But it's really been my experience that the folks that drive them treat me much better than the driving public as a whole.

When I first read the account, I wondered if the bus was abeam or ahead of the bike. I know coming up Williams here in the hood, sometimes I'll leapfrog a bus all the way up passing it as it picks up/drops off and then having it pass me. Lather rinse repeat. It is kind of spooky when the bus just dips its nose to the curb and leaves its posterior in traffic, but it stops auto traffic (usually) from passing with me so I don't feel too unprotected.

But if the bus was actually abreast of the rider when it made its move to the curb, well that's a problem. And I wish the rider luck in getting satisfaction...
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Old 04-24-2007, 01:12 PM
captawol captawol is offline
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Talking

Donald,

Yes the bus was passing him. "I was nearly at the intersection when a trimet bus slowed along my left side, then the front of the bus swung directly into my pathway, completely blocking the bike lane."

But I do support what you say about Tri-met dirvers in general. I have had more positive reactions than negative around buses. I have been 'curbed' by buses three times. With three different reactions from the drivers. One saying I shouldn't be there, one not responding, and one apoligizing for not seeing me. For the most part I have seen buses slow beside me and then pull over to the bus stop behind me. I even had one bus stop in the traffic lane (not pulling to the curb), so that I could pass him on the right. I stopped fearing passengers loading and unloading from the bus was too much of a danger.

I think most Tri-met drivers are better drivers that "Joe Driver" and do look out for cyclists. But they are not clones, there are bad Tri-met drivers as well.

TriMetized. tri·me·tized (verb). To pass a TriMet bus only to have it pass you and stop, requiring you to pass again, and again.
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