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.
Thanks to everyone for their posts and support.
For the record, I'm certainly not anti-bus (now white transit vans on the other hand, they are another thing altogether). This fellow could have been an excellent driver having a bad day. That said, I have reported it and will let you know what I hear.
Interested in your comments Bob. I'm now reluctant to ride around Iron Cove South because of the UTS Rowing re-development which means I spend more time on Victoria Road, which is fine but there is certainly room for improvement (better signage at the intersections, for a start).
Is it just me, or is BayBug in extended hibernation?
The UTS Rowing Club is looking great - and during the last week I have had no issues cycling past there.
Slow down, and more importantly be seen to slow down, and everything is magic.
I'm waiting with a tinge of hope to see what type of bicycle calming devices are installed - and slightly depressed that they are needed.
True, but they still have the dismount signs, which I ignore, but still feel guilty.
Response from Sydney Buses follows:
Thank you for your feedback regarding your experience with a State Transit Bus
Operator on 18 March 2014.
Bus Operators are expected to maintain a high standard of driving skills so as
to enhance passenger comfort and ensure the safety of other road users, there
are training programs especially designed to achieve this.
State Transits driver training programme is one of the most respected in the
Australian passenger transport industry, and its driver training standards are,
in fact, more stringent and exacting than those required by other transport
Unfortunately some employees do not always maintain the high standards required
of them and this reflects very poorly on the majority of State Transits
courteous and professional operators.
The Bus Operator on this occasion has been identified and will be spoken to
regarding the claims made against them.
Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention and please accept my
apologies for any distress this incident caused you.
STA Customer Relations
I'd like to think that an incident like that would mean automatic dismissal from the job. I wouldn't trust such a driver to reform in any meaningful way. Surely criminal behaviour on the job should be sufficient to short cut through the standard sequence of warnings, retraining etc.
Anything back from the police yet?
i was riding down george st city . in bus lane . blue bus came right behind me . i slowed to dismount , he ramed taped me while i was still rolling . i stop dismounted to walk on footpath . bus stoped behind me at the bus stop. driver and a few passengers gave me abuse. i rang the bus office . he got in trouble . i got $400 for damage wheel