I was Traveling at the Speed of Bike around Downtown Atlanta yesterday with my friend and fellow League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor, Robyn Elliott. I usually find riding around Downtown pretty easy as drivers are typically cooperative. However, this happened. Robyn and I both wanted to show you so that you can see that even when we do the right things, vulnerable road users such as bike riders are at the mercy of large vehicles and dangerous drivers. The surprising part, of course, is that this involved a school bus driver. (Or, as I said under my breath, “Et tu, school bus driver?”)
Turn the sound up on the video and watch the quick 17-second clip (I purposely don’t show you the bus number because I’m not interested in publicly identifying this particular bus driver). Robyn signals. She makes eye contact. She indicates merging into the lane to get around a parked car in our lane. She makes eye contact again and secures what she thinks is agreement from the school bus driver. I believe there is agreement, too, and you can see me friendly wave as I am about to follow her into the lane. She scans two more times and starts to merge. The bus driver lays on the horn aggressively, and Robyn, surprised to see it is the bus driver honking, quickly chooses to leave the lane for her own safety.
This school bus driver is from Rockdale County, Georgia. According to the Rockdale County School District website, Rockdale County Public Schools (RCPS) operates one of the safest and most efficient fleets in Georgia to provide daily transportation for students to and from school-related activities. Maybe this bus driver, or this single incident, is an outlier. If not, I would be happy to give a Basic Bike Skills class to bus drivers in the Rockdale County School District if they want to better understand what it is like for bike riders, what the law is regarding bike riders’ right to occupy space on the road, and why what Robyn did in this video is the recommended way to maneuver through this road situation.
Update: There have been requests for the longer version of this incident. See below (with sound up).