Portland resident Jason P. says he was cut off by a TriMet bus operator on Friday morning and he’s got the video to back up his story (watch it below the jump).
According to a complaint filed with TriMet Sunday, Jason was riding southbound on North Vancouver Avenue between Morris and Stanton streets (adjacent to Dawson Park, just before Legacy Emanuel Hospital) when the operator of a Line 44 bus crossed over the bike lane he was riding in without using his signal.
Here’s more from the complaint:
“The bus driver failed to signal and yield before crossing the bike lane… In the video you can see that the bus is approaching the bike lane without his signal on and it isn’t until the bus is present in my lane that the bus’s signal has been turned on. It is then when I brake to avoid a collision… it is clear the driver failed to yield and adhere to the safety of crossing a bike lane.”
Jason says the bus signal wasn’t on until it was already in the bike lane. In the video below, you can see the signal go on at about the 11 second mark.
Here’s the video Jason sent to TriMet:
TriMet has acknowledged receipt of the complaint and is currently investigating the incident.
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I’m always weary of Tri-Met drivers in this spot. I wonder if they could build a transit island to avoid the criss-crossing.
I would be both tired of this behavior and wary of future occurrences, keeping a sharp eye out for a bus driver who wasn’t doing the same.
I am always weary of Tri-Met drivers in any spot. Considering the fact they have to be baby sitter, mental health professional, mask nanny, and also drive a bus with the drivers of Portland, I give them a wide berth and expect constant egregious errors.
This seems so trivial..slow news day? This was a formal complaint? Everyday traffic for bike lanes. We are not riding separated lanes, the video does not look that close to me. Bus driver cut it close but this is just whiny….unless that women was fast walking the video was also sped up… embarrassing for Jason..
It really is easy to spot folks who have never been hit by a driver.
Also easy to spot people who intentionally set up situations just they can make a show. Pass from behind on the right of a large vehicle that only exists to make frequent stops at higher than traffic speed?
Portion of comment deleted by moderator.
I rarely agree with Kyle but I do feel that this was a performance to disgrace Tri-met. The bus’s behavior was pretty typical and an attentive rider with good situational awareness would anticipate the inevitable. Between the lights flickering I can’t say the bus didn’t signal but I can say the movement to the bus stop was predictable.
From a traffic perspective, this should’ve been a no harm no foul situation. Cyclist pulls an aggressive move and acts surprised when a bus stops at a bus stop. Driver could’ve handled the situation better, but nothing egregious here.
Trying to cause a working stiff job trouble for what is at worst a minor error is out of line.
Making issues of stuff like this makes it so people don’t believe cyclists when there are real road problems of which there are plenty (i.e. no need to amplify this nonsense). Also, we encourage payback by haters in situations where they can claim plausible deniability.
Precisely. Also, once you add in the flashing red lights at the top of the hill, which at a minimum one should be planning to slow considerably for, the behavior is even worse.
Except the bus signals before even moving over which suggests to me that they didn’t see Jason. Since he was out of view of the mirror and too far back when the driver has to look over. Never assume anyone sees you. There is a lot more going on in the road than just you. Sounds like an adult temper tantrum to me.
I’ve added another video below. Trimet should at least give you an ID and system to look up prior infractions.
I have so many bus driver deadly moves on camera. Here is one. The bus leaves a parked spot at high speed and should then move into the BUS ONLY LANE, but he sweeps out to run me down. In the HD video I can clearly see the bus driver in their mirror the whole time and they can see me. These are repeat offender bus drivers. Trimet does not let you know the name or ID number.
Video URL above. Pardon the profanity in my near death.
That was pretty bad. He clearly looked like he was intentionally squeezing you.
I really doubt it was international although scary I’m sure. Most bus drivers do a very good job. Let’s face it bikes are small and hard to see. I think the fault lies more with the infrastructure that mixes bikes and buses.
I’m pretty darn sure the bus driver saw him. The cyclist is right next to the driver’s window at the 25 second mark in the video. Notice how the bus continues forward while straddling the line instead of coming all the way over? It looks to me like the bus driver saw the cyclist and knew he was there.
I realize that was probably scary. I’m glad you weren’t injured. I have to say I wasn’t overjoyed by your aggression towards the driver, although I get it that you were feeling heated. I think we need to move to where bikes aren’t mixing with buses.
Until then it’s good to practice the nautical law of “gross tonnage”. The bigger mass ALWAYS has the right of way. You can argue it shouldn’t but it’s hard to argue if you are a squashed pancake on a street. Stay safe!
Not trying to downplay the harrowing nature of this incident, but sometimes when you have the right of way, you have to be smart about not exercising it. This looks to be a classic, uh modified, right hook situation. With a bus cruising that fast, and a bus stop imminent, I implore folks to yield and not be in that space where you can get right-hooked, or right-swiped. As someone already mentioned, assume that you are not seen.
My biggest beef with bus drivers is speeding. Sometimes I have to hold on with two hands inside. Why doesn’t Trimet do anything about it? They are quite aware of the speeds of their buses via GPS analysis. And now that ridership is down, and they stop at fewer stops, why do they feel the need to speed only to get to a key stop and wait for 5 mins. to get back on schedule??
This situation is more a function of poor design than behavior. This exact scenario is the impetus for the Williams redesign. The Williams/Vancouver couplet will continue to have a higher rate of injury/death until PBoT installs PBLs with signal separation at major intersections.
Bill, I once complained about a bus driver who accelerated and decelerated sharply, throwing me and everyone else around inside the bus. This was not a Trimet bus, and the supervisor told me he would pull the bus’s speed logs and get back to me. He actually did get back to me and told me that the speed log didn’t show any excessive speed or acceleration or braking, so it was obvious to me that the available tools – when they are even used – are not yet up to the task of holding drivers accountable.
Bus operators speed because they are rated on timely performance hitting their stops; when they are delayed in congestion, they speed up at all available opportunities to meet their performance targets.
You can thank the outgoing gm at TriMet for making “on time performance” more important than safety. Drivers are constantly berated and reprimanded for falling below others regardless of reason or external factors. Shameful.
What is the significance of the flickering taillights on the bus? Is it just an artifact of the cameras shutter speed?
Yes. It’s just a thing w the video. They are not flickering in real life.
I may be wrong but it appears the cyclist is on an e-bike riding preeeeeettty fast. I’m wondering if maybe the Trimet drive miscalculated the speed the bike was traveling relative to a non e-bike. If this is correct, perhaps the e-bike rider needs to be aware that others may not immediately recognize the speed they’re traveling?
I think it looks faster than it is because the video seems to be sped up. Note the speed and jerkiness of the pedestrian as they cross and swing their umbrella. Not sure if that’s intentional but I think it colors the perception of the situation.
Interesting point. I know, that as a long-time racer, I probably ride 25% or more faster than most commuters. I have to take that into consideration whenever I am navigating traffic. Drivers do stuff thinking that I am going 15 mph, when I am going 20. I get passed frequently by e-bikes going 25+ on flat ground. The same as if you are confronted by a driver going 45 in a 25.
I am familiar with that section on Vancouver and most riders are moving pretty fast since its a small downhill section and then uphill to the traffic light. I know I try to pick up speed to help make it up to the light on the green signal. From that point you can really get moving fast to try and make the light at Russel as well. I am an old guy and can easily get up to 30mph if I get those lights timed right. I always try to be cautious with the busses and it sucks playing the leap frog game on Vancouver Ave
Never assume any driver sees you and never assume which way they will go. Especially large vehicles like trucks in which the driver has more blind spots and it is harder to see if anyone is next to them, especially bicycles. I try to stay out of their way especially when they are moving.
Always assume they DONT see you. Your safety is your responsibility, not others
Why would you try passing a bus ON THE RIGHT when it is clearly headed for a bus stop? The bus stop is visible just seconds into this video. Then actually file a complaint about your own poor decision as a rider? Then make a public show of it? Everything about this is incomprehensible to me.
When you all get done blaming the victims, can we talk about how this is clearly a design failure? Traffic engineer could not be reached for comment?
It would be very helpful to put a huge pink “B” in a circle in front of bus stops so they are more visible to people biking.
Seems like a design failure. The previous island prevents the bus from merging, and then they have the bus stop ALL the way to the right (looks like a pullout as well). The bus lane should be moved behind the bus stop.
Can someone re-post the video at the correct frame rate? The current version makes it difficult to judge how quickly the events are actually occurring. (I’m not accusing the original poster of deliberately speeding it up – sometimes cheap gopro/action-cam knock offs don’t encode things properly.)
(While I don’t want to get involved in any legal matters, I do have the skills to re-encode/re-time videos if the original person needs assistance.)
This is news? Seeing Tri-Met buses/drivers is like living out the Steven King movie “Maximum Overdrive.” It’s lame, but unfortunately that’s been my experience biking in Portland since the mid 90s. I just get away from them ASAP. If I can.
My prediction: they will never tell the cyclist what disciplinary action, if any, the operator was subject to.
This was unintentionally bad on the bus part. And yes clearly the video was edited for maximum effect.
As a onetime bus operator, do not underestimate the weight these sorts of complaints bring at TM. I’m not exaggerating when I say it may result in the driver losing their job. TM is that jittery, and the union that weak, especially when the media gets involved.
The flashing red stop lights are visible 4-5 seconds into the video. If he was looking ahead, rather than trying to race a bus up the short hill, he would have already stopped pedaling in anticipation of slowing/stopping for the flashing red lights. Considering the speed he was still going even after slowing for the bus, this was not part of the plan. Also, with how wide the bike lane swings to the right of the traffic lane for the crossing island, I doubt he was even in the side mirror of the bus until the driver started to make the merge (granted late on signaling). File under: “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes”.
You can first see the signal (over the wheel well behind the front door) at the 9 second mark prior to changing lanes. I suspect the cyclist is invisible to the bus at that point, since they are separated by the road furniture. Tough spot for the bus driver, since they need to swing right to make the stop. It was good for the cyclist to be defensive, but I don’t know that there’s anything egregious here.
It looks to me like the bike is passing the bus as they approach the stop but instead of slowing down to let the cyclist complete the pass, the driver sees them and speeds up and to cut them off. It’s nice that people want to give the paid driver the benefit of the doubt but I hold professional drivers to a higher standard. If you haven’t dealt with an aggressive Trimet driver consider yourself lucky.
Why pick a beef with Shaq? He’s bigger than you and smarter than you.
Sit up and show the bus driver a little class. Are you delivering a fresh kidney or what? Sheesh. The 5th amendment says you don’t have to publish this stuff.