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Posted by on Dec 17, 2008 in Uncategorized | 8 comments

Don’t do this, okay?

From The Orlando Sentinel:

Both the bus and bicycle rider were westbound on Orange, crossing Ridgewood, when the accident occurred. Witnesses told police the bicyclist passed the bus which then passed him before he collided with the right side of the bus. He was thrown from bicycle and was run over by the right rear wheel, Jimmie Flynt said.

Edited later:

Fred’s comment had me looking at the Daytona Beach New-Journal and here is what it said:

“He (the bus driver) didn’t see the man and the man didn’t see him,” Williams said between sobs, referring to the Votran bus driver and White. “I saw him (White) at the corner talking to a woman with a dog, just before he got hit.”

After he finished speaking to the woman, the 51-year-old White apparently continued riding west on Orange Avenue just before noon. Daytona Beach police spokesman Jimmie Flynt said the bus — driven by his brother Nate Flynt — also was heading west on Orange, after passing Ridgewood Avenue. There is a bus stop at the northwest corner of Ridgewood and Orange.

Based on a preliminary investigation, Nate Flynt, 57, was easing the bus into the bus stop. About the same time, White was riding alongside the bus, just in front of the right rear tire. White veered somewhat to the left to avoid hitting a curb and when he did so, he struck the side of the bus, was thrown from his bicycle and was caught under the right rear tire.

8 Comments

  1. I hope the bus didn’t have one of Keri’s “Pass Safely – It’s the Law” banners on the back.

    Are VoTran buses exempt from the 3 foot law, or did the bicycle driver veer over 3 feet into the side of the bus?

  2. I pedal in this area on a regular basis and it’s likely that the bus was in the left of two lanes crossing the intersection and the rider was in the gutter of the right lane. After crossing US1, the right lane becomes right-turn-only, which would have the rider moving into the bus. The witnesses say the bike collided with the bus, which is reasonable, considering the narrow lanes in that section of town.

    The bus is equipped with a camera that points to the right-rear of the bus, so if it was working (ten percent failure rate, according to the Daytona News-Journal report), the crash may be on video.

    I don’t think the three-feet law applies here. I think it’s more like lack of skill on the part of the rider. The pavement is very broken in this particular stretch too and the report indicated that the rider may have bounced off a bad section.

  3. “Based on a preliminary investigation, Nate Flynt, 57, was easing the bus into the bus stop.”

    That’s the information I was looking for in the news stories yesterday. What I suspected was the cyclist attempted to pass the bus on the right (probably before the intersection) and then was riding in the driver’s blind spot when he was pulling into the bus stop. I looked for a bus stop sign on the google street view, but it doesn’t extend past Ridgewood on Orange.

    Another important clue here is that when the bus passed the cyclist, he was speaking to a woman on the sidewalk. He then caught up to the bus in traffic. The 3 foot law doesn’t apply if the cyclist was passing the bus.

    I’ll join Eric in saying, “Don’t do this, OK?”

    Passing large vehicles on the right is in invitation to death. Large vehicles can turn wide across your path. Buses and delivery vehicles cut to the curb to load and unload. These are places you don’t want to be.

  4. The bus driver probably shares some (and perhaps all) the blame here. If the cyclist indeed passed the bus (whether on the right or left), then the bus driver knew he was there and should have checked before moving right to the stop. Google StreetView shows on-street parking at that stop (which looks to be about 100 feet past the intersection) and there is a bulb-out at the intersection.

    The description leads me to believe the cyclist swerved to avoid the bulb-out. If the front of the bus was already ahead of him he either misjudged the space he had to thread the needle between the bus and curb, or the bus was starting to move right.

    Upstream from the intersection the right lane is through/right. The only thing making sense to me from what I’m reading and seeing is that the bus passed the cyclist in the intersection, and the cyclist was squeezed into the bulb-out, possibly because the bus driver started shifting right while still passing.

  5. Dead cyclists can’t speak for themselves. I think this is a case in which we should be calling the bus driver’s actions into question instead of assuming the cyclist did something wrong. The cyclist may not have been adhering to vehicular cycling principles, but there is no evidence he was doing anything illegal.

  6. If the cyclist passed the bus completely enough to be in clear view of the driver and then the bus passed him again (which is a realistic movement before and after an intersection), then the bus driver is at fault. If the cyclist passed the bus partially and then the bus picked up speed again, the bus driver could not reasonably be expected to have seen him.

    In either case, not passing buses on the right is how a cyclist can avoid this crash. The cyclist loses control of the situation, the moment he attempts to pass a bus on the right.

  7. Keri wrote: “If the cyclist passed the bus completely enough to be in clear view of the driver and then the bus passed him again…”

    Exactly; that’s the key.

  8. Mighk,
    Talking about legal fault is nice for those of us still among the living, but is completely irrelevant when you are the dead cyclist! It doesn’t matter whether the cyclist completely passed the bus on the right prior to being crushed; the mere attempt at such a maneuver is (often unwittingly) suicidal.

    For example, when the cyclist was first attempting to pass the bus, the cyclist was along side the bus in the blind death zone, and could easily be killed should the bus driver move laterally rightward in the roadway. This is pathological behavior, and everything that occurred afterward was a logical result of this contributory error. Even if the cyclist did briefly pass the bus, the driver may still have missed the cyclist, since drivers in the outside lane don’t normally expect be passed on the right.

    Cyclists wishing to manage their own risk must learn to avoid doing the “right side tango” with any vehicles, especially large vehicles such as buses and trucks. The same reasoning applies to the door zone, and curb hugging at driveways, intersections, and freeway ramp transitions.

    The real issue is that most cyclists and the public don’t understand proper destination positioning. And as long as this is the case, I expect to read more stories about cyclists dying on the right side of large vehicles.

    - Dan -