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TriMet bus operator allegedly drives into people on Williams Ave, then flees – UPDATED

Posted by on June 24th, 2015 at 11:29 am

busbikewilliamslead-2

This photo shows a TriMet bus driver who drove through a crosswalk despite the presence of people walking and biking.
(Photos by Abraham Sutfin)

Last night a TriMet bus operator turned her bus directly into a group of people who were using North Williams Avenue. Witnesses reported that contact was made between the bus and a trailer attached to a man’s bicycle, but luckily there were no injuries. According to people at the scene, the bus operator forced her way through a crosswalk that was full of bikers and walkers while honking repeatedly, then fled only to stop several blocks later after people chased her down.

Ironically, the man whose trailer was allegedly hit was on the “Save The Humans” traffic safety protest ride happening as part of Pedalpalooza.

The incident happened around 7:15 pm last night at the intersection of N Williams and Fremont. A group of people were biking north on Williams when a #4 TriMet Bus (#3106) wanted to turn left. Based on photos taken at the scene there were several dozen riders already north of Fremont before the bus operator started the left turn.

Local business owner Abraham Sutfin snapped several photos from the sidewalk outside his store across the street. I’ve shared them below in chronological order:

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The photo below was taken by Halley Weaver from behind the fracas south of Fremont. It shows Kathleen Youell (who was, incidentally at the Mayor’s recent safety meeting at City Hall to speak up for people who ride with familes), pedaling her kids in a cargo bike. Weaver said Youell had been, “pushed into the shoulder and hasn’t gotten back into the bike lane because the bus cut into the bike lane way back at the crosswalk where the bike lane striping began.” Also note that both the light and the walk signal are green:

halleypic

Note that just prior to this intersection, the bike lane is painted solid green. Then just before Fremont it becomes striped and veers right to mark a mixing zone where vehicles who want to turn left are required cross over the bicycle lane. This location has been problematic ever since it was designed. Back in December we covered a collision here and a few months later PBOT addressed concerns by adding more green paint.

According to two witnesses who saw last night’s collision, the bus operator failed to yield to people who were in the bike lane. Cameron Schnur told us he and a few others had left the bike lane because it was full and was riding in the adjacent lane. “I look behind me, and all I see is a bus. I was riding with a trailer, which I’m not used to doing, and it still felt like this bus was pretty uncomfortably close.”

Here’s more from Schnur:

“I see the bus cut through the “merge” to the turn lane, without yielding to our cyclists who were continuing straight, next to it in the bike lane. I didn’t see what happened to those cyclists that the bus cut off; I was later told that they were forced to the curb. As far as I knew at that point, they could’ve been hit.”

Then, according to Schnur, the bus starting “honking rapidly” and continued through the crosswalk where several people on bikes and foot were using. The bus operator continued through, forcing people to get out of the way.

“It [the bus] is not slowing down. I believe Aaron [Tarfman, the man who’s trailer was allegedly hit] was on the opposite side of the bus from me (cut off by it). I am in front of the bus (it’s turning behind me). At this point, I turn and begin banging on the side of the bus with my hand to get it to stop, but it does not. It continues through the crosswalk and accelerates to the next intersection, fleeing the scene. According to Aaron/another witness, the bus clipped Aaron’s trailer on that turn. I didn’t see that, but am not at all surprised by it. From the look of that fast, honking turn through the crosswalk, I feel it’s a miracle no one was hurt.

Aaron, another cyclist or two, and I, book it down Fremont to catch up to the bus to cut it off. We pass a cop car on the way; their windows are down. I yell something about ‘this bus just tried to kill us’ but I’m not sure I’m heard.

We catch up to the bus a few blocks down, and get it to stop. Another cyclist (not sure who) shouts that the bus should call this in. We see the bus driver get on the phone. Then, a few passengers come out of the bus to tell us to move. We exchange a few words, mostly “you guys are in the way, move” and “that bus driver just tried to kill us” and within a few minutes, we move on, and let the bus go.”

Another witness confirmed Schnur’s account of the bus operator “forcing her way” through the crosswalk while it was full of people. And another source told us the ride was about 50 people strong at the time of the collision, but they were not corking (stopping cross traffic) against a light.

Shane Strudwick was on the bus when the collision occurred and shared her account of what happened on Twitter last night. From her vantage point on the right-side rear of the bus, she felt like the bike riders were “interfering with TriMet.” “I was on that bus,” she wrote, “he wasn’t hit. He slammed the side of the bus & impeded its route.” Strudwick added that in her mind, “the driver did everything she could to avoid him.”

TriMet spokeswoman Mary Fetsch says they are aware of the incident and are currently looking into it. We’ll update this post when we know more.

UPDATE, 3:11pm: Aaron Tarfman, the man whose trailer came within a foot of the bus, just shared his account with us:

“I was preparing to leave the ride early to get back before sunset. So instead of heading straight north, I turned left on Fremont (too much traffic to make a right turn) and did a U-turn in order to go east. As I was maneuvering over towards the curb, the bus made a left turn and I started to get really scared as I saw the side of the bus keep inching towards me. At closest approach I think it was less then a foot from my face. I also was afraid that it would destroy the trailer.

With the adrenaline pumping, it was difficult to figure out how the trailer didn’t get squashed, and thankfully the side of the bus followed it’s path back into the lane.

I chased down the bus (along w/ two others) and put myself in front of it in order to address the driver. However the woman driving refused to speak to me. She did however, let off passengers ostensibly to ‘talk to me.’ I was very clear to the passengers that my beef was NOT with them and apologized to them for the inconvenience. I repeated, that I simply wanted to talk to the driver. I support transit users as they’re also helping reduce traffic and pollution.”

CLARIFICATION: This post originally stated that the bus made contact with a man’s bicycle trailer. We are working to clarify whether contact was actually made, or whether the bus merely came within inches of it. Sorry for any confusion.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Scott H
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Scott H

Really?????

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

‘she felt like the bike riders were “interfering with TriMet.” “I was on that bus,” she wrote, “he wasn’t hit. He slammed the side of the bus & impeded its route.” Strudwick added that in her mind, “the driver did everything she could to avoid him.”’

Wow. Bus driver completely violates several traffic laws while endangering several people and a rider on the bus thinks that’s okay? Clearly there’s a huge issue in Portland with the mindset of people and their ignorance of traffic laws.

Michael
Guest
Michael

And if she was on the right side of the bus, she wouldn’t have seen the trailer that was hit, which was on the left side.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

That bus driver will soon no longer be a bus driver.

ethan
Guest
ethan

The Williams redesign is bad. And the bus drivers seem to care more about schedule than people lately. I was on a #6 bus that nearly hit someone a few weeks ago. Rather than letting the person cross in the marked crosswalk, the bus driver sped up and intimidated the pedestrian back onto the sidewalk.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I have to say, I would not want to be a TriMet driver for anything in the world. As a cyclist, pedestrian, bus rider and very occasional driver, I’m overwhelmingly impressed by the care TriMet drivers take around cyclists. I ride the 10 and the drivers generally queue up patiently behind bicyclists on Ladd, take huge care in crossing bike lanes on Hawthorne, and generally seem to have eyes in the back of their heads. Awful job! Sorry to hear about this incident but I hope it’s not used to demonize all TriMet drivers.

Phil
Guest
Phil

I’ve noticed a lot of animosity between bikes and busses lately, which is a shame, since I consider them both somewhat on the same alternate-transport team, even if bikes can make a bus driver’s job much more difficult.

Just yesterday I passed a stopped bus on the left on my bike, and when he later passed me on my left, I got a nice loud honk and finger wave. I responded with a different finger. I have no idea what the issue was; when I passed, the bus was loading and there was no left blinker on.

Michael
Guest
Michael

I’m still surprised this happened. I was on the ride and for the most part, even though I’m sure a number of drivers were annoyed, especially on Williams, no one really honked or tried to gun past the group. Meanwhile, absolutely no issues on Glisan, Sandy or 33rd. Too bad this incident had to leave a bad taste for what was otherwise a terrific ride.

Justin Gast
Guest
Justin Gast

The worst drivers in this city are: 1). Taxi cab drivers…BY FAR!!!! 2). Washingtonians 3).Trimet bus drivers, whether they’re operating the full-size buses or the shorter Rideshare versions. 4). Teens 5.) Assholes in big trucks.

James
Guest
James

I was on that ride, and would like to corroborate a few of the points made by other riders:

1. Although we had corked previous intersections during the ride, we were neither corking that intersection nor blocking that crosswalk. At the time of the incident, we were moving at a steady group-ride speed and would have all been able to clear that intersection during the green light.

2. The bus driver wedged their way into the turn lane while it was full of cyclists. Myself and others were forced to the edge of the road because of how close the bus got to us.

soren
Guest
soren

Last year TriMet bus 33 veered deeply into the east bound bike lane that leads to the Hawthorne bridge MUP and came within inches of hitting me (TriMet Employee Complaint Ref 457 090). Based on the circumstances I strongly believe the manoeuvre was intentional.

TriMet promised an email from the supervisor of the driver but I never received this email.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Sorry these photos makes the cyclists like antagonists.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Is the guy pulling the trailer with the signs the person that was hit? In one image he is going in the same direction as the bus. In other images it shows him turned around going in the opposite direction. In others he has his feet on the ground. It appears that he could have easily avoided this. I’d go as far to say he did this purposefully.

Ultimately, the bus driver should have kept their cool and waited for the intersection to clear, but I’m have a tough time placing 100% fault on the driver.

Jon
Guest
Jon

What I see in the series of picture is someone on a bike stopped in the middle of an intersection blocking other road users from taking a right turn. I see other bikers going the wrong way on the street. This is a very good way to alienate other road users and make us bicyclist look like a bunch of arrogant road hogs that can’t play well with others. Sharing the road is a two way street.

babygorilla
Guest
babygorilla

You can see in the progression of the photos that the person on foot has cleared the crosswalk, but the person with the black shirt seems to be intentionally impeding the bus from making a left turn.I guess the person in the black shirt could also be waiting at the light to travel east on Freemont, but the person’s position on the roadway (beyond the stop bar and seemingly pointed north) doesn’t imply that.

KYouell
Guest

I’d like to re-iterate that the first photo was taken AFTER the bus driver moved her vehicle into the lane, cutting off a portion of the group, including my family. Any stopping by bikes in the intersection that you see is because for the entire ride they were making sure that me and my slow bakfiets made it through the intersections and we were clearly not behind them now that the bus was. This intersection was NOT being corked though others were in an effort to keep us all safe.

kittens
Guest
kittens

As a victim of TriMet bus driver bullying, I could easily imagine this happening. In fact the only really remarkable thing about this is that someone had the foresight to document it. Not all bus drivers are bad but when they are… whoa, that is a scary place to be.

Like police officers, we can and must hold them to a higher standard.

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

I looked at all the pictures full size, and I’m not seeing the person who was hit.

The in-sequence ones show a person on a bike at the beginning of the crosswalk/first third of the crosswalk standing, both feet flat on the ground. It’s not clear if he has a trailer, if he does it is behind him as if he came towards us. Throughout the sequence, he stands with both feet on the ground, so I’m not sure if he’s the one who was hit or not.

Both the other two gentlemen (bike lanes are not enough and the guy with the speakers) are both past the bus, and the one with the big sign and flags turns back.

I’m just not seeing what was described, in these pictures.

I do think the bus driver should have just waited, with their turn signal on, for it to be clear, but that last picture shows the bike lane to the right of the turn lane, so in theory there should have been no bikes to have a conflict with.

Cycledadpdx
Guest
Cycledadpdx

Trimet: Sorry about this incident. We have alerted the shift supervisor. (actual reply)

You should see how they treat pedestrian at Gateway in the crosswalk of the transit mall (hint: it is about the same as the above story…only the Transit Supervisors stand around and chat with each other).

babygorilla
Guest
babygorilla

It seems like the person operating the bus made an inconsiderate or unsafe lane change well before before the intersection. Then, after that, the person in the black t-shirt and the person on the extra long cargo bike, who were not affected by or involved in the inconsiderate or unsafe lane change, intentionally blocked the intersection (where the bike lane is to the right of the left turn lane so there is no need to “cork”). Then,the person operating the bus laid on the horn. Then, one other person on a bike turned around and started attacking the bus. Then, the bus operator proceeded through the intersection and clipped the trailer connected to the bike of the person in the black t-shirt.

KYouell has a legit gripe with the bus operator’s actions for the lane change. Everyone else unnecessarily escalated the situation.

AndyC of Linnton
Guest
AndyC of Linnton

Williams! Yeah! Keep on keepin’ on, little buddy.
Can’t wait for what you have in store for us next week, but I’m sure you won’t disappoint!

Jon
Guest
Jon

From the description and pictures it sounds like the bus driver was annoyed by bicycle riding all over the road an honked its horn. The guy in the black t-shirt then decided to stop in the middle of an intersection to block the bus from making a left turn since while all the other bikes clear the intersection he is blocking it in every picture. Each party chose to escalate the confrontation and luckily nobody was injured. I would say each party shares the blame 50/50 and each showed the maturity of a child in grade school. The bus driver gives Trimet a black eye and the cyclist makes all of us riders look bad. I would like to thank both parties for helping to widen the gulf between motorized vehicles and bicycles. We definitely need more reasons for motorized vehicle users and bikes to hate each other because that will surely lead to safer streets.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

TriMet buses are covered with cameras, so there will be plenty of video of the incident.

(Example of bus cam coverage is here http://www.kptv.com/story/25643756/caught-on-camera-trimet-driver-stops-to-help-toddler-on-busy-street )

I find TriMet bus drivers courteous and patient, when I’m riding around them. This driver makes the rest look bad, and should be severely punished.

ShaneS
Guest
ShaneS

I must apologize for my erroneous accounting of what initially happened regarding this situation. From my vantage point being on the right side of the bus I could not see if someone was hit/grazed/almost hit by the bus as described here. No one sitting on the left side did either. Not saying it didn’t happen, but no one on the bus thought we had come into any contact with a rider.

My comment about the person hitting the bus is referring to the gent with the trailer who, in his own accounting, was hitting the bus to convince it to stop. He too couldn’t see if anyone had made contact with the bus.

What I did see clearly was Aaron and Chris ride into the opposite lane passing the bus on the left, getting in front of the bus, coming to a complete stop and impeding the bus from continuing on its route – ironic since this was a ‘peaceful safety protest’.

I’ve said all along that I agree with the cause, not the actions. I have two daughters who ride their bikes throughout our neighborhood. And I ride my bike along Vancouver / Williams to and from work frequently.

To me the bigger issue in that area are the number of apartments that are being built with no parking. I believe it will only make the area worse and more incidences like this are bound to happen.

I agree with most of you in this thread. I wish this thread didn’t exist and the incident had not happened.

KYouell I hope trimet resolves your situation, I don’t believe it was the intent of the driver to cause you anxiety or put you or your child at risk.

Stay safe out there.

al m
Guest

Burn the witch!
Burn em!

Jess
Guest
Jess

I had an encounter with a TriMet bus a this intersection back in February. I was riding north on N. Williams in the bike lane and was approaching Fremont when a #4 bus pulled along side me on my right and started merging left into the bike lane (while I was in it). To avoid getting hit, I merged left into the left turn lane at New Seasons. When the driver came to a stop at the red light, he was completely straddling the bike lane with his left blinker on. I complained to TriMet and they responded with an apology but wouldn’t tell me what the resolution was. All of this is to say, if this is what happened in this incident, it isn’t the first time and Trimet is (or should be) aware it is a problem. Also, for me this was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I finally bought a GoPro camera for my handlebars.

chasing backon
Guest
chasing backon

I witnessed this incident and the driver made a left through the intersection while the walk signal was open for pedestrians on fremont and people were in the intersection, most notably, white cargo bike person and a pedestrian. Also, the bus did in fact strike the trailer.

I believe making the conversion while pedestrians are in the crosswalk is illegal. Also, I understand a pedestrian can be in the crosswalk with the signal as long as necessary, so impeding traffic is an incorrect judgement call.

I feel this was a dangerous maneuver by the trimet driver and luckily no one was hurt. As a cyclist and pedestrian, it would be comforting to hear trimet takes corrective action.

Finally, in general, my experiences with trimet drivers has been favorable.

NC
Guest
NC

The guy on the black bike wearing the black tee-shirt is not even in the walkway. He is however ahead of the Stop line. If he also made an illegal u-turn so to go back across N. Williams I can see how this could cause an accident to occur.

I do not see any Pedestrians in the Crosswalk as the bus enters the Crosswalk either, the only person in the Crosswalk is on the Cargo bike with his foot down causing a stoppage.

Thanks.

babygorilla
Guest
babygorilla

Spiffy
if somebody pointed a gun and shot towards you a foot from your head would you want bystanders to stop the shooter?Recommended 0

I’m not sure. If they could do so safely and without potentially risking harm to themselves or others, maybe.

If someone made an improper lane change in front of me, I wouldn’t want any civilian bystander to intervene. When they do, it seems like you get exactly what happened here – an escalation where everyone probably thinks they are right. I definitely wouldn’t want a bystander to start pounding on the side of a vehicle carrying passengers who have no involvement whatsoever in what may have happened between vehicle operators in which the bystander had no part.

daisy
Guest
daisy

This intersection isn’t working for folks in cars or bikes. I live just south of here and walk, drive, and bike through here fairly often. When there’s any traffic, it’s tough if you’re in a car and trying to figure out if you can merge left. When you’re on a bike, it’s tough to know if a car on your right is going to stay straight or merge left into you.

I wonder if this intersection needs a bike signal separate from the existing signals, like on N Broadway at Williams. I’s nice when bikes and cars can move forward together, but are there enough bikes that it’d make sense to create a separate signal? Or perhaps there needs to be a left turn signal times so that folks in cars can move left?

The reality of this intersection is that lots of cars are turning left to get onto the Fremont Bridge while cyclists are more likely to go straight, and this conflict could be improved with infrastructure, I think.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Is there any point during the green light phase of the Williams Ave traffic signal, in which the Fremont crosswalk signal is yellow or red, stopping people on foot from crossing Fremont to help Williams Ave traffic to turn left onto Fremont, free of crosswalk traffic? If so, for how many seconds does the signal hold pedestrian traffic back.

Another question: Did the person driving the Trimet bus, drive left across the Fremont crosswalk on the first Williams green light cycle, or due to people constantly using the crosswalk, had it already waited through one or more Williams Ave traffic signal cycles?

I’m asking because I’m wondering whether the decision of the person driving, to take the bus across the crosswalk during a time when there were people in the crosswalk, may have had something to do with there possibly not having been an opportunity to drive the bus across the crosswalk when it was free of people using the crosswalk

Apparently, this incident occurred outside of a normal street use situation, which was that a street use demonstration was occurring at that time, putting on this crosswalk, possibly a greater than usual number of people.

I think these are some things Trimet officials are going to be considering as they try sort out all that went on, related to this incident.

Lizbon
Guest
Lizbon

Oy, reading through these comments I’m reminded why I usually never get involved in any website comments. However, I want to go “on record” here to say that most of my experiences with Trimet bus drivers have been quite good. I usually feel more comfortable riding my bike around them than around other drivers. I think this particular driver was terrible, but I do not feel that this is the norm for Trimet. Credit where it’s due, etc.

Lizbon
Guest
Lizbon

It should also be noted that the ride included a section of Sandy Blvd., on which we had ZERO problems. N. Williams is meant to be a major bike route. There is no excuse for driving aggressively there, failing to yield, or for the rampant speeding. Period.

Rob Chapman
Guest
Rob Chapman

Agreed, most Trimet bus drivers are great in my experience. That’s why this incident stands out so boldly. I wouldn’t want this driver behind the wheel of anything bigger than a lawnmower if she was my employee.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

One of the basic rules of Critical Mass and all protest rides is not to mess with public transportation.

Jonathan Radmacher
Guest
Jonathan Radmacher

Torfman’s comments, from the update, appear to be directly contradicted by the photos…the bus was already turning and he moved his bike toward the side of it, right?

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

(better late than never)

I finally had time to write a ride report as (NOT THE LEADER) but just someone who was along for the ride and had no prior interest or involvement in bikeloudpdx or this new activist group. (though I have been involved in various different advocacy and funtivist projects in the past) – on this particular pedalpalooza ride, I was simply interested in the fact that it was flat, family-friendly, and the route was convenient for me (and when my partner got off work)

http://bikeleptic.com/2015/06/25/ride-report-pedalpalooza-save-the-humans-ride-now-with-extra-irony/

Karla
Guest
Karla

1) I support TriMet and the drivers. I am friends with a few of them. I am a bike rider myself and know the law. You are not considered a pedestrian unless you are walking your bike through a crosswalk. That said, I cannot condone this driver’s actions. Nor will I condone the actions of the riders and pedestrians continuing through an intersection in which a bus was already determined (allegedly) to get through. The driver should have yielded to a REASONABLE number of riders and pedestrians AND they should have been courteous enough to yield to the bus.

2) Was this an organized ride? If so, where was Portland PD? The police should have been stationed at major intersections, and ESPECIALLY intersections which have been troublesome in the past.

EVERYONE dropped the ball here. EVERYONE’S got something they could have done and SHOULD HAVE DONE which would have avoided the entire incident. Grow up, Portanders. Aren’t we supposed to be the bike riding capital? Where are basic manners and courtesies? We need to lead by example. Is this the example you want the world to see of us?

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Well it will make interesting viewing once the press gets a copy of the bus camera footage (exterior front view and the interior view of the operator.)

As for Williams…I thought Trimet was supposed to stay on “their” (right) side of the road and leave the cyclists alone on the left side? This kinda interaction was supported to stop…so now instead of the kinder gentler “leap frogging” on the right we now have a Trimet Bus battering ram out of the movie “Speed”. ;-0 [Typed with Irony]

For the “kids” out their too young to remember this 90s classic:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111257/

Celeste
Guest
Celeste

I was a passenger in the mentioned bus. I believe like the other passenger, Shane Strudwick, that the bikers/people near the intersection were “interfering with Trimet.” The driver was doing the best she could. She honked to let the people know of the bus’s presence. She stopped and slowly maneuvered to turn left. I believe we should follow the traffic rules and extend courtesy to each other. So why did the bikers/people staying on that narrow intersection when there was a bus approaching? Let’s use common sense if we like to be safe. I also took a photo from the bus of the man wearing a helmet on the middle of the road who blocked the bus carrying a sign. By the way, I sensed that most of the passengers in the bus thought that the bus driver was not at fault.

Sho
Guest
Sho

The photos might be doing more harm than help to the cyclists as it makes them appear to not be moving but blocking the flow of traffic therefore either instigating or making the situation worse. Nor do the photos reinforce some of the eye witness statements. Hopefully details are clarified better prior to making conclusions and posting such news stories next time.

Ward
Guest
Ward

The increasingly entitled/rude/confrontational/self-absorbed behavior of my fellow cyclists in “nu-Portland” make it pretty hard for me to feel any solidarity with them.

Andrew
Guest
Andrew

I was at the SW corner of Williams/Fremont on the sidewalk after my partner and I stopped to use the New Seasons bike pump for her tire that had a slow leak. We were about to rejoin the ride when the bus took the intersection and starting laying into its horn forcing Aaron to retreat as it entered into the eastbound lane. As the bus continued its turn it came further into Aaron’s path and as he continued to back up his trailer and bike jackknifed and he could not back up further creating a horrifying scene as he could not back up any further as the bus continued to accelerate past him. I am amazed his trailer is ok considering how loud the sound was of the contact with the bus as it clipped him. There is nothing alleged about the contact though folks in the bus might not have heard it.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Also I would like to clarify that despite filing a report with Trimet. There has been NO contact from them. I have heard of no recriminatory action as yet.

Wes
Guest

This is so obviously staged. The riders were intentionally blocking traffic and making it a nightmare to get through, the guy hit the bus, he did it on purpose, the driver didn’t notice because he was watching actual things that a reasonable person would be watching for (like, you know, a bus or something) and somebody just so happened to have a series of well-framed, rapid-fire photographs depicting the event as it happened. In every approaching photo, he has his feet firmly on the ground.