Often a cyclists worst enemy on the roads can be the bus. With their big diesel engines way off down at the rear, the body of the bus is often swooshing up alongside you before you even hear them coming.
Often the bus driver is under pressure to be at a destination on time and will drive pretty close to cyclists in order to keep their momentum going. Many see cyclists as troublesome objects that get in their way and slow them down. The bus driver knows his bus, but rarely do you see a bus driver account for a cyclist who may not know their bike quiet as well, or the pothole that the cyclist may have to swerve around to avoid.
The cyclist is fearful of the bus, and the bus driver is fearful of the passenger who will, without hesitation pick up the mobile phone and ring the depot to complain about the bus being three minutes late.
Recently a cyclist uploaded an encounter with a Dublin Bus driver that has gone viral. Even the tabloid media are appealing for anyone who knows the driver to come forward. The driver reacted to the remonstrations of the frightened cyclist with an ill advised, tongue in cheek remark that is now being portrayed as attempted murder.
At a guess the bus driver will be suspended and might even loose his job. That will have an effect on his family. Had the cyclist been knocked down by his driving that would have had an effect on both families.
Whilst the driver is the villain, I think that the design of the traffic infrastructure is more at fault. Along the quays in Dublin there is now a constant stream of cycling traffic. The bus drivers are expected to squeeze in between gaps in the flow that are rarely there. Cyclists will continue up the inside of the bus on the cycle lane and the bus takes ages to cross over into the bus stop.
What is the solution ?
Extend the 30kph zone. Remove all parking from the quays. Put the bus lane on the outside nearest the river. Put the cars in the middle, and make what is now the bus lane a dedicated cycle only lane. For sections where there are only two lanes, keep the bus on the outside and let the cars wait behind the cyclists. This would eliminate the need for busses to cross over the cycling lane and hopefully avoid a repeat of what happened in this video.
The awareness that this video has caused will hopefully lead to safer and easier to navigate city streets for all.