Sunday, August 03, 2014

BUS STORY # 404 (Let's Be Careful Out There)


We’ve pulled up to the intersection of Lomas and Louisiana. Two people get off and head into the crosswalk parallel with the bus. The signal light shows they have the right of way.

Suddenly, a car speeds around the driver's side of the bus, then cuts sharply right, through the intersection and right in front of our driver, and almost takes out the lead pedestrian. The car, a flashy yellow number, swerves just enough to miss the pedestrian. The bus driver, meanwhile, is really laying into the horn.

Those of us on the left side saw what the car did; those on the right what the car almost did. Everyone is talking, and we put together what happened.

“California plates,” says one rider, in a tone that implies “Wouldn’t you know?

What I know is I’ve seen auto drivers pull this same maneuver two times before since I began riding the bus. I can’t tell you what the plates were, but the odds are slim all three were California.

I still remember the first time, several years back. The bus was rolling down Copper toward Tramway when a car shot past on the left and then across the front of the moving bus and on up north on Tramway. Our driver was rattled. She stopped the bus, shot out of her seat and stood in the aisle facing us with her arms extended, crying out, “Did you see that? Did you see that?

Meanwhile, back at the Lomas-Louisiana intersection, I’m getting off on the far side along with another rider. We both walk over to the Rapid stop where the other two rider-pedestrians who crossed the intersection are already waiting.

“That guy almost took you out.”

“Yeah, I guess. I didn’t really know what was happening.”

“Did you see the look the driver gave our driver? Like ‘What’s your problem?’ ”

Heads shake in wonder.

The Rapid shows up a few minutes later, and we all board, still talking about our co-rider’s close call.

I’d gotten off on the far side intentionally, to avoid crossing the intersection on foot. It’s a tactic I picked up during my first year of using the bus: never cross an intersection if you can avoid it; if you can’t, cross only in one place if you can. Those L-shape crossings double your risk of being taken out by a car or truck.

And it’s not because all those drivers are from California.

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