Cycling in Sydney Australia
This morning on my commute I was harassed by Sydney Buses 501 (Driver No. Y158) as I rode in the bus lane down Victoria Road, eastbound from Balmain Road to the Anzac Bridge.
He drove 1 metre behind me, beeping his horn even as we stopped at the Robert St lights at the bottom of the hill. I was travelling at least 50km/h, other than when I slowed to stop at the lights.
I commute to work daily, down Victoria Road. I always ride in the bus lane (unless it is congested in which case I ride on the footpath) and have never encountered this before.
When I turned to look at the driver, he continued to beep, and point (I assume) at the foot-path. I pointed out that the light was red, so his apparent need to accelerate down Victoria Road was folly. He continued to point to his left.
This raises a couple of points which follow on from recent road incidents.
The first is that even if I was not supposed to be in the bus lane (and I think I am entitled to use that lane?) it is not Y158's job (nor any other vehicle driver's job) to enforce the road rules by menacing cyclists. Perhaps vehicle drivers don't understand how intimidating they can be to a person just trying to get to work?
Second, does the recent "justified road rage" vibe perpetrated by some sectors of the media make them feel that they have some licence to enforce vigilante justice against outlaw cyclists?
It concerns me a bit that even the cycling community wishes to address road rage by promoting mutual respect. While it is doubtless well-intentioned, that policy has two flaws.
The first is that it may create the impression that there should be some legitimate sanction for breach of mutual respect laws by cyclists, such has harassment with either voice, horn or vehicle.
The fact is, there is no justification for this sort of behavior by vehicles. If we offend them, then they are at worst inconvenienced. If they offend us, then we are at least threatened, and at worst injured or killed.
The second flaw is that there are disproportionately few cyclists who are genuinely dangerous, or reckless. For that reason they are perhaps more visible. They tend to be hoisted on their own petards in any event and will soon learn their lessons.
Finally, I spent part of last weekend riding 360kms around Sydney on the Audax Oppy, including on major roads. My observation was that 99% of the traffic passed us calmly and often courteously.
Those few who didn't did so deliberately. A little like Y158.
You are allowed to be in the bus lane. That section of Victoria Road is designated as having a share path, but you are not obliged to use it. You aren't obliged to use the bus lane either, you could ride in another lane of the road too. The choice is up to you where you put you and your bike.
Do put in a formal complaint, they are generally taken seriously. Bus drivers are professional drivers, and I find that in the vast majority of cases they are well aware of their responsibilities. This one clearly wasn't, but given the recent incident between a bus and a pedestrian in the CBD you can be sure that TransportNSW don't want a driver out there behaving like this, he is a liability.
I have to second this. I'd also suggest you report the hostility by the online reporting tool of choice. Currently I'm using the GoFix / SeeClickFix tool. But the WA Greens tool and even (if you enjoy pain) the NSW Government reporting tool also exist.
Report to both the Police and the Bus company ASAP while they still have today's onboard CCTV footage available.
Roadrage, inappropriate use of the horn and and tailgating are all offences. All made worse by the fact it's a 20 ton vehicle menacing a vulnerable road user.
Please take the time to make a report, otherwise he's going to keep doing this to you and other riders until he hits and possibly kills someone.
Edit: Sydney Buses Complaints ph 131500
I agree with Herzog and Rob - definitely report it. At the very least he's in breach of rule 224 (horn use). Transport for NSW definitely have an interest in not having drivers like this.
Thanks. I have filed a complaint with Sydney Buses. I'll let you know what I hear.
Now file a complaint with Transport NSW and then contact your local Police station and ask them to ring the bus company and have a little chat to the driver.
Do the same if it was a taxi.
Given the events that happened on the weekend, reiterate how dangerous this behaviour is.
This is really disappointing from Sydney Buses - I'd been thinking recently about how the general behaviour of the state bus drivers had improved, well, the ones I commute next to.
Good on you Farnsy for reporting this.The only way to get change.
While this won't harness vigilante behaviour (nothing will be able to), please know that there have been attempts to bring both user groups to the table to create better understandings, relationships and road interactions. The point here is that there is a forum that the buses could use to engage on this issue. They have a role to play here. In the minimum, the alleged behaviour of Y158 should be attended to by his/her peers, and then a public statement issued.
Please keep us updated: firstname.lastname@example.org
As it happens, BIKESydney will soon publish a legal kit for cyclists (the issue is resourcing and available time). We'd be keen to hear from anyone that can assist in developing safety messages and campaigns, and in reaching out to other road user groups.
You've got his details. Report him to his manager.
I'm sure he would have violated several different rules and protocols in his driver training that put you and his passengers in danger.
How did you go with work cover with your complaint?
You enough information for the police as well. They need to know so that this sort of behaviour may be addressed with the wider motoring community.
I've had trouble free runs from Parramatta to Baulkham Hills in bus lanes and am grateful. I'll also wait behind buses at times because I know that some stops are further apart and they will beat me to the next one.
While Farnsy sounds like he had a bad bus driver, I have generally had good interactions with bus drivers.
My last interaction with a bus driver was great. I was sitting at some lights and the driver in the bus, located next to me, leaned out the window to tell me my saddle bag was open. I was pretty happy about that. I thanked him and wished him a good day.