Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 15th, 2010 at 4:30 pm
In the past two days I’ve come across three stories of TriMet bus operators allegedly acting aggressively toward other road users. To make people aware of where and how they happened, I’ve pasted them below.
The first happened on Saturday night
and is very similar to an incident that happened to a man yesterday on Hawthorne. It comes from a commenter named “beelnite”:
“Saturday night – about 11:50 p.m. Lots of bikes on the #14 Route [Hawthorne Blvd]. I have lights. I pass the #14. Twice! The third time he rolls up and passes and dives for his stop on 30th.
Yes I had to jump onto the sidewalk to avoid being crushed. Amazing because I really felt the driver and I were aware of each other since 7th Ave. I mean – I made eye contact a lot… Did I mention I had lights? Ah… I feel he did see me… and just wanted to teach me about cycling faster than a TriMet bus.
I rolled up to the doors and stood there until he’d look at me. He did. I held up two hands about 6 inches apart and said, “It was that close!”
Nothing from the driver. No expression. Just threw her in gear or whatever and drove off. I got the impression he felt I shouldn’t be there. Not sure but I think he said something to me over his loudspeaker – external. Just odd.
I kinda stood there for a minute, didn’t say anything else, just feeling kinda lonely and insignificant. I’m crushable. Not a person. An annoying cyclist in the way.”
A day later, Emily Dayton was run off the road by a #6 bus after coming off the Hawthorne Bridge (she has also filed a formal complaint with TriMet which they confirm receipt of):
I was biking on Sunday June 13th at 10:30 am near SW Main & 3rd coming off of the Hawthorne bridge and was pushed off the road by a Trimet bus #2725 line 6 that was honking at me and aggressively pursuing me. There was construction on the road and I was pushed into the construction area inside of the orange cones.
A construction worker saw and commented on the dangerous event. Luckily I am okay but I thought it was important to make a point to tell the bike community of Portland. I guess we have to be extremely cautious out there.
And just last night, reader Rick Norwood says a TriMet bus turned right on red dangerously close to him:
At 5:05pm I had been traveling by bike NW on N. Interstate Ave. when I had to stop in the bike lane of N. Interstate for a red light at the intersection with NE Multnomah. I was in the center of the bike lane, and this bike lane is unusually wide at this corner. I had been stopped in the bike lane, at the red light, at the painted stop line, for several seconds PRIOR to a TriMet bus (#2018) pulling up next to me in the traffic lane to my left. Bus 2018 also stopped for the red light. After stopping for several seconds Bus 2018 proceeded to make a right turn on red in front of me. Given the wide turning radius of a bus I immediately felt that I was in danger of being hit. I actually moved at least 5 feet to my right in order to avoid getting hit by the bus as it attempted its right turn on red. I was glad that I had, as the bus would have likely hit me if I had not moved!
Given the fact that I had been stopped at the intersection prior to the bus even getting to the intersection, there is no way that the driver could not have seen me. Yet, they proceeded to make this dangerous turn in front of me. As fate would have it, I was not alone in being put in danger by the actions of Bus 2018. At the time the bus attempted this right turn on red there were 3 pedestrians in the crosswalk (headed NW crossing NE Multnomah). One of the pedestrians actually had to run out of the way, as the bus driver had either not seen the pedestrians or cared that they were there. Granted these pedestrians were crossing illegally, but it was also clear to me that the bus driver had apparently not seen the pedestrians and immediately had to brake hard.
Given recent accidents involving Trimet buses, in particular at turns at intersections, I was quite alarmed by what Bus 2018 did. I believe that I read that since the accident downtown that one of the policy changes regarding buses was that they would no longer be making right turns on red. If so, Bus 2018 FAILED to follow that policy and in doing so very nearly injured (or worse) 4 individuals today.
Regardless of whether or not that policy change is in place, the driver of Bus 2018 showed incredibly poor judgment and awareness. Shame on TriMet.
I’m not sure if this is a trend or what, but I don’t remember hearing about this many incidents in such a short time-frame in the five years I’ve been doing this site. Are TriMet bus operators just extra stressed out lately due to the ongoing safety review following the tragic collision that killed two people back in April? Would love to hear your thoughts…