The Chainlink

Why do bus drivers see us in the bus stop and pull in at high speeds trying to pass us just as we start passing thru the bus stop

Several times I have been riding down the street to look over my shoulder and a CTA speeding up to try and pass me when I am a few inches from the bus stop they can force me off the road way.One time I was riding down Clark street right after Howard moving at a good rate of speed with a friend from work who wasnt as experienced as I am on the streets Good thing I looked to my left as I heard the busers transmission shift gears in the middle of the block as I came up to the bus stop the next thing I knew I was being forced to the curb.I was so close to the curb after stopping that I could not move to confront the bus driver of her action.The next block traffic was moving very slow so I took this oppertunity to tell the bus that,the bus out weighs me buy long shot and If I was not paying attention she would have ran me over.She simply told me stay out of the way and get out of the way.I could have sworn that there was a law passed that would ticket people for cutting off , opening cars doors other bad things of that nature to bicyclist.This is the reason that cop kicked that CTA bus drivers ass.He did the very same act to him cut him off in the bus stop.So we need law enforcement to step it up on CTA drivers as well.The cops I contacted sayed sayed if she didnt make contact with me there was nothing that they could do.B.S.I guess the next time I will be a Free Spirit.

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i've had all kinds of interactions with the CTA over the years, from dodging the 22 & 36 busses to and from my old job, drafting the Archer Express back in the SW side salad days of my youth, and in recent years dealing with the busses along the north end of Sheridan. i agree with DUG, that the busses are the biggest danger out there. i don't think that -for the most part- the problem is driver hostility per se, but more of an issue of the drivers trying to keep to unrealistic schedule demands, piloting 10-15 tons of ill-maintained vehicle, dealing with sardine-packs of rowdy & bad-smelling passengers, taxis, and the other attendant horrors of urban navigation.

Actually, the biggest hazard i've encountered with busses is their tendency to leak oil -often from ill-fitting fuel caps and overfilled tanks. How many of us have found ourselves sent sprawling by unexpected oil slicks left by these beasts? i've even seen cars slide through intesections on bus oil that would make a skating rink seem like sandpaper.
In your communications with CTA headquarters (either 1-888-YOUR-CTA or their website feedback form), remind them that the CTA helped to create that video as part of a training program for all of its bus operators. And that you know each bus operator is supposed to have watched it because it outlines the rights and responsibilities of the bus operator when they interact with other traffic in the road, which includes bicycles.
I don't think I've ever seen a bus actively leak oil, or oil on the road that I could confidently say was from a bus.

mike w. said:
i've had all kinds of interactions with the CTA over the years, from dodging the 22 & 36 busses to and from my old job, drafting the Archer Express back in the SW side salad days of my youth, and in recent years dealing with the busses along the north end of Sheridan. i agree with DUG, that the busses are the biggest danger out there. i don't think that -for the most part- the problem is driver hostility per se, but more of an issue of the drivers trying to keep to unrealistic schedule demands, piloting 10-15 tons of ill-maintained vehicle, dealing with sardine-packs of rowdy & bad-smelling passengers, taxis, and the other attendant horrors of urban navigation.

Actually, the biggest hazard i've encountered with busses is their tendency to leak oil -often from ill-fitting fuel caps and overfilled tanks. How many of us have found ourselves sent sprawling by unexpected oil slicks left by these beasts? i've even seen cars slide through intesections on bus oil that would make a skating rink seem like sandpaper.
On two occasions i got put on my arse by bus oil along Clark whilst riding a straight line. Another time on Clark i was actually behind the leaker - the trail was wide and turned to the curb at CTA stops- from Devon to Addison, which is where the driver finally pulled over and put the bonnet up. It was a trial just to stay up on the rubber, and at Southport i saw a car slide through the red light and narrowly miss getting rear ended by the guy behind him. Same thing along Oakton behind a 97 on a couple of occasions. All incidents occured in the early hours which seems to indicate that the busses in question had recently left the barns with full and leaky tanks of #2 diesel. Brake and trans fluids might also be an issue in some cases.

Sometimes i have seen a bus hove to with sand put down on the road behind and under it.

All this is just another way of saying keep alert out there, especially along CTA routes. Oil from whatever source on pavement is every bit as bad as black ice.

Steven Vance said:
I don't think I've ever seen a bus actively leak oil, or oil on the road that I could confidently say was from a bus.
Today at around 7:00pm, I had the displeasure of politely telling this one bus driver on Halsted and Chicago that she passed me way too close for comfort. This did not sink in as she passed me up at high speed again the second time.

The second time I asked her in an even tone why she keeps buzzing by me so close? She just slammed her window shut on my face, With that I told her "Dam lady you are very scary" as I rode away again. No reaction but a dead terminator like expression behind her big dark sunglasses.

I feel a little victorious with my calm approach, for the third and last time she finnaly kept her distance when passing me up. A sigh of relief that maybe there is hope in trying to get across to these zombies in these scary situations.

Juan Dominguez said:
I feel that most of those bus drivers come from the ghetto or burbs where bicycles are seen as toys and the city folks who ride them as poor stupid annoying people who should be on their bus instead. They should be avoided with as much caution as those cellphone faced SUV driving soccer moms.
I've actually had very few problems with busses. I have had a lot of problems with cabs.

Juan Dominguez said:
Today at around 7:00pm, I had the displeasure of politely telling this one bus driver on Halsted and Chicago that she passed me way too close for comfort. This did not sink in as she passed me up at high speed again the second time.

The second time I asked her in an even tone why she keeps buzzing by me so close? She just slammed her window shut on my face, With that I told her "Dam lady you are very scary" as I rode away again. No reaction but a dead terminator like expression behind her big dark sunglasses.

I feel a little victorious with my calm approach, for the third and last time she finnaly kept her distance when passing me up. A sigh of relief that maybe there is hope in trying to get across to these zombies in these scary situations.

Juan Dominguez said:
I feel that most of those bus drivers come from the ghetto or burbs where bicycles are seen as toys and the city folks who ride them as poor stupid annoying people who should be on their bus instead. They should be avoided with as much caution as those cellphone faced SUV driving soccer moms.
I get it all the time on Franklin/Orleans & Halsted.
Dunno what's wrong with them, but they do not seem to care for cyclists.
I have lights, white helmet, etc.; hard to miss!
If you don't succeed in getting your message across, you can always pee on their rims.

Juan said:
Today at around 7:00pm, I had the displeasure of politely telling this one bus driver on Halsted and Chicago that she passed me way too close for comfort. This did not sink in as she passed me up at high speed again the second time.

The second time I asked her in an even tone why she keeps buzzing by me so close? She just slammed her window shut on my face, With that I told her "Dam lady you are very scary" as I rode away again. No reaction but a dead terminator like expression behind her big dark sunglasses.

I feel a little victorious with my calm approach, for the third and last time she finnaly kept her distance when passing me up. A sigh of relief that maybe there is hope in trying to get across to these zombies in these scary situations.

Juan Dominguez said:
I feel that most of those bus drivers come from the ghetto or burbs where bicycles are seen as toys and the city folks who ride them as poor stupid annoying people who should be on their bus instead. They should be avoided with as much caution as those cellphone faced SUV driving soccer moms.

Franklin/Orleans sounds like the Ogden bus.


Theoretically, both routes have bike lanes and both routes may have a percentage of embittered drivers who can't cope with the added frustration of dealing with more cyclists on their route  without acting out.

I ride buses a lot. and pay attention to the drivers, and I personally don't feel it's  terribly easy to pinch a cyclist off on the right without being aware that you've endangered them.


in it to win it said:

I get it all the time on Franklin/Orleans & Halsted.
Dunno what's wrong with them, but they do not seem to care for cyclists.
I have lights, white helmet, etc.; hard to miss!

For the most part, I find bus drivers to be more reasonable than the average motorist.  However, they being professional drivers operating multi-ton vehicles, I expect better than I get.

 

I have been intentionally run into the curb as described above.  I have been passed with 4" of clearance while in a bike lane (driver looking in review mirror at me after the fact, so I know I was seen.)  I have been honked at, told I was "in the way" and once even told that bicycles were prohibited in the Loop (?!?!)

 

My understanding is that the drivers have a very strong union and are fairly protected from any discipline based on citizen complaints. 

 

 

My understanding is that the drivers have a very strong union and are fairly protected from any discipline based on citizen complaints.


Maybe, but part of the problem might be that people don't take the time to complain.


When I do encounter a dangerous driver I write in and ask for acknowledgment, and I've been impressed with the response I've received (although to be fair I have no idea what actually transpires after the little communication burst).  Mostly my experience has been as a passenger witnessing dangerous behavior from inside the bus, in which case I have the opportunity to record necessary identifying info (hint-- dial the driver patch number on your phone and hang up to record it for later). As a victim in the street your chances of any sort of follow-up drop off as the best you can do is record the bus number and the approximate time (although I've gotten driver patch numbers from outside the bus before).

They usually promise to pull and review the film.

 

It's possible that ultimately a driver can have a series of complaints logged against them and the union could prevent their firing, but at least you've helped knock them out of  the "I can do whatever I want and nobody will ever report it" zone at least a little.

 

T.C. O'Rourke said:

For the most part, I find bus drivers to be more reasonable than the average motorist.  However, they being professional drivers operating multi-ton vehicles, I expect better than I get.

 

I have been intentionally run into the curb as described above.  I have been passed with 4" of clearance while in a bike lane (driver looking in review mirror at me after the fact, so I know I was seen.)  I have been honked at, told I was "in the way" and once even told that bicycles were prohibited in the Loop (?!?!)

 

My understanding is that the drivers have a very strong union and are fairly protected from any discipline based on citizen complaints. 

 

 



H3N3 said:
I've sent messages like Jen's and had good (well, reasonably convincing) follow-up; with the exception that I see these things from within the bus and can provide much more precise information; that said this really depends a lot on the individual bus driver-- wondering how often Alvin rides the bus and sees it from the driver's perspective. It's pretty scary to see from the bus how riders seem to have no consideration for other users sometimes, and will ride happily along the right side of a bus as it approaches a stop, ride into the stop zone just as the bus is about to enter . . .. the #21 driver I had on the way back east from Riverside Sunday night encountered such a cyclist and not only behaved in an exemplary manner, but I heard her arguing understanding and tolerance to a passenger who made a negative comment about the cyclist.

I am scratching my head a bit at the role of law enforcement-- how would you get the police involved, and what would Chicago Police in particular do in response to a complaint that a bus driver "almost killed me?"

Alvin, can you give a little more detail about the police help you received?

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