Thursday, March 18, 2010

Bus & Bikes - Can't we all just get along?

Here is a safety video for both bus driver and cyclist produced by the Chicago Transit Authority. I think it should be mandatory viewing for all JTA bus drivers. I almost never see them signal their intent when I follow on bike. Which leaves me always guessing when and where they are pulling over for stops, turning or returning to the flow of traffic.

As for passing forget about getting the 3 feet passing distance required by state law. Most busses pass by me so close that I wonder if I should be reaching in my pocket for fare.

The portions of the video directed towards the cyclist are the standard rules of the road. But worth viewing judging from the way I see most cyclists endanger themselves and others with the way they ride through traffic.


Abhishek said...

This is yet a band-aid on a large wound type of example. Bicycles should not be made to ride with traffic in the first place. The video starts with perky Chicago-ites proclaiming,"In Chicago, we share the road!". This still keeps the bicycle on the road with faster traffic.

It is not surprising that most JTA bus drivers do not know about the three foot passing distance. Heck, most of JSO do not know about it either! Once the few JTA bus drivers get the picture and follow courtesy, what stops the motorists from continuing to exhibit hostile behavior?

I want JTA to take measures for the short term. This video is an excellent source of information for them. However, the city tends to become complacent thinking they have achieved something major whereas all they would have done is temporarily move the bottle-neck of the problem to something else.

I also wonder how the JTA drivers union will react to taking this sort of a pro-bicycling safety-courtesy course.

The root cause for lesser bicycle ridership is lack of subjective safety. Until that is conquered, it will be difficult to see a steep rise in ridership.

Chad said...

Having shipped my bike up to Chicago for a vacation I took, I can say it was a pretty bike friendly city. A lot of bike lanes and no one honking at me for no reason.

As far as the educational aspect of the film goes I think this should be required viewing for ALL JTA employees, heck, why not everyone. More people need to be educated on bike laws.

On a side note, I remember the first time I saw a JTA bus with the "Give a bike 3 feet" ad on the back was was happy to see it until the bus actually ran me off the rode on Main street. I had to jump the sidewalk curb, the driver didn't even see me riding on the right hand side of the road, it was pretty scary.

Troy said...

I was well to the right of the vehicle lane going north on San Jose last weekend when a JTA bus drove by and very nearly brushed my arm. I'm not easily rattled but that was too close for comfort. There was no other traffic on the road and the bus was not in the process of pulling over.

Speaking of city vehicles, what about garbage trucks? One garbage truck got up right behind my wife and laid on the horn. She was so scared that she almost wrecked. I wish I could have pulled some ID numbers off that truck.