I passed a stopped school bus.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by lovebeingteach, Mar 9, 2012.

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  1. Speechy

    Speechy Comrade

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    Mar 10, 2012

    I hate being behind buses in general... I do manage to avoid them though, because I'm on my way to work after they pick up all the little demons.

    I'm a "grown up"... just one with no patience. :D
     
  2. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Mar 10, 2012

    I also agree with those who think the buses should not wait for kids. If I was running late for the bus, I had to be running to catch it. If I was not there, the bus left. But today parents would complain to the school instead of tell the kid they should have gotten ready sooner.
     
  3. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    In NC, yellow school busses have their speed automatically regulated to no more than 45 mph. Activity busses (white) are regulated at 55 mph. There are many times a bus driver WOULD like to drive faster (such as on their way to their first stop in the morning or after the last stop in the afternoon), but it is physically impossible to go faster than that. I assume most other states have their bus speeds similarly regulated.

    The school bus can leave a child behind if they are consistently late getting to the bus - especially those that don't even start coming out of the house before you get there. Trust me, the bus driver doesn't like waiting on them anymore than the cars behind him/her. However, the driver would need to inform the P of this problem and let them be the ones to contact the parent. School systems DO operate much differently now than they did 20-30 years ago, that's true and it is just a fact of life. Parent complaints DO have an impact on the administration and/or school board.

    So while a driver technically could drive off and leave a kid, even though the parent has signaled the child is on his/her way, the driver might get in trouble from the P for doing so. But if the driver tells the P that (s)he has to wait 5 minutes on Little Suzy Smith every morning, the P will usually contact the parent and remind them riding the bus is a privilege and the school has NO obligation to continue this service for a child that cannot be ready on time. The bus passes Suzy's house at the same time every morning (within a couple of minutes) and Suzy needs to be ready - and waiting - for the bus at that time if she wants to continue riding. If she needs longer than that, the parents can arrange alternate transportation.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 10, 2012

    Oh my...forty-five. That's crazy. So on field trips when on a major road, say with a 70 mph limit, you take the white ones...I hope?
     
  5. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Mar 10, 2012

    Actually, I'm on solid legal ground once I dismount. Once my feet are on the ground, I am no longer a cyclist. I am a pedestrian who happens to be walking a bicycle. By your standard, a jogger would have to stop and wait for the bus to turn it's flashers off before they could proceed.

    It's the same thing when I need to get across a busy street at an uncontrolled intersection. If there is a crosswalk, cars are legally obligated to stop for pedestrians. So I dismount, and walk my bike across.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 10, 2012


    I'm just going by what the law says in my state (which I quoted in my response). I'm certainly no lawyer, but the wording of the law emphasizes two things; (1) a bicycle has all the SAME rights as a regular vehicle on the road, so other drivers are supposed to treat the bike the same as they would another car, and (2) (the flip side of that) bicycles also have the same RESPONSIBILITIES as other cars, INCLUDING obeying all the same traffic regulations and signs. The road leading to university (my alma mater) where I now live during the week has an official "bike lane" in it, but it also has signs at each red light and intersection reminding cyclists THEY have to obey the stop signs just like every one else. For comparison, I would imagine bicyclists have to follow the same rules as motorcyclists. Your state may have different rules.

    If you dismounted and slowly walked your bike past the school bus, an officer may not give you a ticket, but if you just tried the "hop of and run beside the bike" that you mentioned at first, my guess is that an officer could give you a ticket the same as (s)he would give to a motorcyclist that did the same thing.

    You can always contest the ticket in court, of course, just as you can any other ticket. Then it is up to the judge to decide if your argument is legally valid. They may agree with you or they may remind you of what I said above; in addition to sharing the same RIGHTS as other vehicles, you also share the same RESPONSIBILITIES as other vehicles.

    As Driving Pigeon said, passing a stopped school bus is considered one of the most serious traffic offenses possible in NC, so you're going to have to make a very good argument. But NC probably doesn't have as many cyclists as CA, so the laws may be different in your state.
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Mar 10, 2012

    But how could a motorist do the same?
     
  8. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Right. A cyclist is a vehicle. But only if I am on the bike an riding it.

    Think about this situation. It's illegal to ride a bike on a sidewalk. If I get a flat, and need to walk my bike, I'm going to walk it on the sidewalk. Would I get a ticket?
     
  9. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    If the car or motorcycle is light enough that the operator could pick it up and carry it, then I'd say yes.
     
  10. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Imagine a guy on a motorcycle deciding to just hop off their bike and run by a stopped bus, then hopping back on and continue going.

    I can almost guarantee you a police officer would issue a ticket if they saw that situation (in NC) and the law states that bicyclists have to follow the same rules and regulations as all other vehicles.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    I would imagine the key difference is whether you're on the sidewalk or the road. If you're on the road (or the shoulder of the road), I'm assuming you would still be considered a "vehicle". If you're walking along the sidewalk or beside the road (but off the shoulder, if possible), then I imagine you would be pedestrian.

    I've noticed when I drive through the campus of the university (my apartment is very close to campus), bicyclists DO dismount and walk along the sidewalk. As you said, it is illegal for them to ride on the sidewalk. Once they do that, they are considered a pedestrian (I imagine).

    Back to the bus scenario: If you are going to pass the bus, you will either have to stay on the "road side" of the bus (to avoid going directly by the children getting on) or on the "passenger side". Even if you dismount, I would assume you would definitely get a ticket for passing on the bus on the "road side" (since you would have to "walk" right past the flashing STOP sign on the side).

    If you pass on the passenger side, there are two scenarios I can visualize: (1) you jump off the bike and run alongside (as you first described) and then hop back on the bike once you have gone past the bus. That means you also had to continue running right past the children getting on (or off) the bus or (2) you stop, dismount, and walk slowly past the kids while pushing your bike beside you.

    In scenario 1, I'm guessing (and it is JUST a guess) that an officer would STILL issue a ticket because the whole purpose of the STOP sign is to keep the children safe and your actions could possibly have harmed the kids getting on or off the bus. Plus, it would be obvious you're just trying to get around the traffic laws you are required to follow if you want to ride your bike on the highway.

    In scenario 2, there is a good chance the bus will finish loading (or unloading) and start back on it's way before you get all the way around it, in which case you just lost time instead of saving it.
     
  12. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 10, 2012

    Yes, we do.

    None of our roads have a 70 mph limit. The highest (in my end of the state) is 60. But even on very short trips (such as a team from one school traveling to another for a game), we still use white buses instead of yellow.
     
  13. Good Doobie

    Good Doobie Rookie

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    Mar 10, 2012

    I went to the last post - wanted to see where this post has gone. Looks like it went off on a tangent.
    I guess I will add a whole 'nother dimension some might take an interest in.
    I happen to have some evidence that some regular bus drivers who have to get up early for early morning activity runs are sleepy behind the wheel.
    I just thought of something I could say about the bicycle tangent. I ride bicycle and occasionally pass buses, but I always slow to a snail's pace if the bus is stopped. I also ride on the sidewalk and a few people seem to hate me for it. So I feel guilty like a hypocritical good doobie. Apparently some people have thrown stickers on the side walk. There was a whole pile of them a few times and I got a flat tire a few times from them. But very, very, very rarely do I come across any pedestrians on the side walk.
     
  14. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Mar 11, 2012

    In my home district, most bus drivers have to get up between 4:30-5:00am to get ready and on the road on time. I'm sure many of them are just as sleepy as any other driver that got up that early. Some drivers with longer routes take their buses home, since they usually live along the same route they drive. This not only saves time, but also saves gas for the bus since it is starting out near the beginning of the route rather than driving all the way from the school to the start of the route. It also saves the drivers a lot of time in the morning and afternoons.

    Having said that, though, the driver accepts the responsibility of getting up at 5:00am (or earlier) when they accept the job to drive the bus. I was actually offered a chance to drive a regular route (instead of just subbing for other drivers) at my previous school, but I turned it down specifically because I did NOT want to get up at 5:00am (or earlier) every morning.

    Even as a substitute bus driver, I had to start getting in bed earlier than usual, just in case I DID get a call at 5:00am or 5:30am asking if I could drive a bus that morning (Yes, I HAVE gotten calls that early in the morning at times). I used to stay up until about 1-2am many nights, but once I began offering my services as a substitute bus driver, I had to change that.
     
  15. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Since this thread has gotten off on a tangent...what do you do when a bus cuts you off or the driver does not appear to be driving safely? Do you report them to the district? The other day I was going to work and I had to slam on my brakes because a bus driver decided to make a left hand turn right in front of me.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Yes, I would definitely report a school bus driver that was not driving safely.

    You will need to document the time, location and bus number when you call the district.

    Also, at least in NC, it is illegal for bus drivers to be on their cell phone while driving. I subbed for one driver on a fairly regular basis at my old school who had one of the rubber pads mounted on the console to keep his phone from sliding around. :eek: I always wondered how he managed to justify that.

    I HAVE had to use my cell phone to contact the school a couple of times when the radio didn't seem to work in the bus I was driving, but I always either pulled over and/or came to a complete stop before making the call (sometimes I was on a barely-traveled two-lane side road, so I could just turn on my warning lights and stop in the road itself).

    Bus drivers are held to very strict standards. For instance, if I ever get a speeding ticket in my personal car, I could possibly lose my bus drivers license permanently. If I ever get a DUI or DWI, I will lose my bus drivers' license permanently.
     
  17. TeacherNY

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    I think I will have to do that if it happens again. Sometimes it seems that they think we should all just give them the right of way no matter what.
     
  18. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Mar 11, 2012

    LOL!
     
  19. Cerek

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    I do feel other drivers should give extra consideration for school bus drivers, since they are responsible for the safety of dozens of children at a time. That being said, bus drivers have an increased obligation to obey ALL the traffic rules themselves and to always drive as safely as possible - even if that means they yield to other drivers.

    When I'm driving the bus and approaching a stop, I check traffic in both directions (in front and behind me), which is standard procedure. If I see a car that obviously wants to get by me, I can let them go on by before putting out the stop sign. They don't have to stop until the STOP sign is actually out. If they are close, many drivers will treat my warning lights like a yellow light and speed up to get by before the light turns red. For the safety of everyone, it's best for me to just let them go on by.
     
  20. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I ran a red light a couple of weeks ago. I don't know how I did it. There was even a car starting to pull out because they had the green light. It had to stop for me, and that's when I realized the light was red. I was utterly mortified at myself for it. I know there's a camera at the intersection. If I get a ticket, I will pay it and consider myself (and the other driver) lucky.
     
  21. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Can you imagine how the construction to build them would impact your commute?
     
  22. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    I get stuck behind the same bus every morning, no matter what time it is. I swear one day I will be on that road at 5 on a Saturday morning and see it picking up kids.
     
  23. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Oh, oh, oh, and oh. The bus I'm behind every morning - pulls up to a side street and all the precious darlings are sitting in their parents' cars until the bus comes to a complete stop.
    1. They can see the bus coming for about 1/4 of a mile but stay in their cars.
    2. There is a sidewalk on which to wait for the bus.
    3. It's not even cold, and if it were, so what.
    4. The parents then expect me to let them out before proceeding on my way. Uh, no.
     
  24. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Mar 11, 2012

    I simply meant the placement of where buses actually stop.
     
  25. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    And can I just say, wow, a lot has been made about cyclists and buses. Personally, I don't think it is that big of a deal.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Mar 11, 2012

    On Mondays thru Thursdays,I encounter very few school buses. On Fridays, however, teachers can arrive 1/2 hour later so my delayed departure from home results in more commercial vehicles, commuters, cyclists and school buses...I know that it's going to take me just a bit longer on those mornings and I adjust my ETA.

    Be patient, share the road.:love:
     
  27. Little Monster

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    The OP could get a ticket by mail for the violation. Honestly, school buses in my area give pleanty of warning with yellow flashers and break lights that there is really no excuse for passing a stopped bus.

    On a side note: a friend of mine has an uncle that got a ticket by mail for an intersection violation. His uncle mailed in a PICTURE of a check ... a few days later his uncle gets a letter in the mail from the county which contained a picture of handcuffs. He chose to mail in the check at that point.
     
  28. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    That is funny stuff.
     
  29. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Mar 11, 2012

    Actually, the cyclist question is purely academic. I asked the drivers in our district and they said they'd rather that I ride past rather than stop. That way, when they pull out, they only have to watch for cars, not bikes as well.
     
  30. Cerek

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    One of my new coworkers is an avid cyclist as well. I'll ask him about the scenarios you've described since he has first-hand experience with the traffic laws in our state and how they apply to cyclists.
     
  31. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    35,000 miles on a bicycle in the last 8 years has taught me that sometimes following traffic laws may always be in my best interests in terms of safety.

    For example, I'm sitting at a red light. The intersection is clear. No cars in any direction except for a large cluster of cars 1/4 of a mile behind me. If I wait until the light turns green, those cars will have caught up with me, and be speeding past me at 50 mph just as I'm starting out. Some will be turning right (towards me). Others looking for cars in the opposite lane who might be turning left across them, not bikes to the right.. Any fog line or bike lane will not be present. If a car in the opposite lane does make an illegal left turn, the cars going my direction will swerve to avoid him. They will swerve to the right (directly into me). I may be going less than 5 mph. They will be going around 40-50 when they hit me.

    Now, if I proceed before the light is green while the intersection is still empty, by the time those cars 1/4 a mile back reach me, I will be through the intersection, and back up to my normal 18-22 mph speed. The cars that pass me will also be through the intersection and will again have their attention focused on the road in front of them. My bike lane will have returned as well.
     
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