Local news features Traffic Skills 101
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In other safety and education news, the StreetsBlog Network directs our attention to an interview on Seattle’s PubliCola blog with a bike-commuting bus driver who offers tips on riding safely around buses. Here’s a snippet of the refreshingly calm and balanced perspective of a professional bus driver:
I could write a book on this subject, but I’ll focus on a few things:
First, Be visible: Wear visible clothing and use lights—day and night. It makes a hugedifference from a driver’s perspective. I have lots of stories of cyclists seemingly coming out of nowhere at the last second. I can usually see a red tail light three or more blocks away while some lighting conditions can hide cyclists until I’m almost on top of you. Seriously, please, get front and back lights and use them all the time—I do.
Second: The “three-foot passing rule.” Cycling advocacy groups have been pushing for legislation defining 3 feet as a safe passing distance. Cyclists need to remember that this applies to them as well. When you’re passing a bus (hopefully on the left side and not on the right), please try to give at least three feet. This is especially important for buses, since we are constantly moving to and from the curb to pick up passengers.
Third: Don’t plant yourself in blind spots when waiting for a light. Many cyclists like to ride up on the right side of my bus and then wait for the light right next to the door. There are many blind spots on a bus caused by window frames and the fare box, especially for shorter bus drivers. We are trained to “rock and roll” in the seat to expose the blind spots, but relying on a human being to be perfect in all situations is risky. Either wait behind the bus, or get well in front of the bus where you are very visible. Wherever you are waiting, it’s a good idea to make sure you can see the bus driver’s eyes directly.
Photo from PubliCola.net