Buses Stopped in Bike Lanes

Question

Marie asked:  While riding in the bike lane, the bus repeatedly passes me and pulls into the bike lane to stop. Today I asked the driver to please stay on the other side of the white line when she has just passed me. She refused and said she was right. I told her she was breaking the law, that I had the right-of-way and was making me pass on the left in the lane of traffic going 50 mph.

This is the 3rd incident this year in which I have complained to them and even talked to the supervisor. He defended the driver.  Any suggestions?

Answer

The statute that applies is:

s. 316.1945 – Stopping, Standing, or Parking Prohibited in Specified Places

(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic control device, no person shall:

(b) Stand or park a vehicle, whether occupied or not, except momentarily to pick up or discharge a passenger or passengers:

6.  On an exclusive bicycle lane.

Assuming the bus is passing and moving right legally, the actions of the bus driver appear to be in compliance with the law.  Discharging passengers onto a bike lane could endanger the persons exiting the bus and passing cyclists.

I recommend that you treat these situations the same as if you were driving a car in the right lane of a multi-lane roadway and a bus stopped in front of you.  Wait until a safe and legal opportunity to move into the adjacent lane to pass.

Posted in Ask Geo, Bike Lanes Tagged with: ,
8 comments on “Buses Stopped in Bike Lanes
  1. Marie says:

    Thanks for the response, not exactly what I was hoping for though. I still feel that I’m protected by F.S. 316.151, the law which provides that motorists are to yield to bicycles in bike lanes as well as to buses with their yield signs activated reentering the roadway. It is unclear who has the superior right-of-way when a bus with its yield sign activated attempts to cross over a bike lane. However, in actual practice, since the bus yield law applies to “overtaking” vehicles, it is pretty clear that buses must yield to bicycles occupying the bike lane alongside the bus and in front of the bus.

  2. Geo says:

    When I said, “Assuming the bus is passing and moving right legally”, I was referring to the rules for overtaking and passing. See the following post about right turns for those statutes:

    http://flbikelaw.org/2009/08/138/

    316.151 doesn’t say anything about yielding to bicycles in bike lanes. it refers to drivers approaching intersections with the intention to turn.

    316.151 Required position and method of turning at intersections.–

    (1) The driver of a vehicle intending to turn at an intersection shall do so as follows:

    (a) Right turn.–Both the approach for a right turn and a right turn shall be made as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

    (b) Left turn.–The driver of a vehicle intending to turn left at any intersection shall approach the intersection in the extreme left-hand lane lawfully available to traffic moving in the direction of travel of such vehicle, and, after entering the intersection, the left turn shall be made so as to leave the intersection in a lane lawfully available to traffic moving in such direction upon the roadway being entered. A person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left in accordance with this section is entitled to the full use of the lane from which the turn may legally be made. Whenever practicable the left turn shall be made in that portion of the intersection to the left of the center of the intersection.

    (c) Left turn by bicycle.–In addition to the method of making a left turn described in paragraph (b), a person riding a bicycle and intending to turn left has the option of following the course described hereafter: The rider shall approach the turn as close as practicable to the right curb or edge of the roadway; after proceeding across the intersecting roadway, the turn shall be made as close as practicable to the curb or edge of the roadway on the far side of the intersection; and, before proceeding, the bicyclist shall comply with any official traffic control device or police officer regulating traffic on the highway along which the bicyclist intends to proceed.

  3. Frank says:

    The ONLY time when a bus is not allowed to occupy the bicycle lane, is if they are STOPPED and NOT taking on or discharging passengers…

    Example. ..

    Near my house there is a store in which the bus drivers like to sit in the bicycle lane while they go in to go to the bathroom or are waiting to start their shift…

    If they are just sitting there and not actively moving passengers on or off, then they are blocking you and you can let them know they are breaking the law.

    This happens to me constantly… I will be in the bicycle lane and the bus will purposely speed up to get ahead of me, just to get ahead of me, so they dont have to wait the extra 3 seconds to let me go by, when i’m already ahead of them. As long as they are not blantantly cutting you off (e.g. illegally) then the law is on their side.

    IF you feel that you are purposely getting “cut off”, then you need to document it somehow (maybe carry a vid camera withyou) and THEN go to the bus company’s offices and show them. That is the ONLY way to stop dangerous accidents with busses. (I’ve done this before and it works)

  4. Frank says:

    UPDATE: It happened AGAIN today!

    I was heading to my local starbucks…

    Bus stops in front of the local Starbucks (in the area on the roadway for picking up passengers) and the bus driver gets out of the bus and walks into the starbucks, leaving the BUS RUNNING, DOORS OPEN and Partially blocking the roadway (bike lane and road).

    There was a line of at least 8 cars (waiting for the bus to pull out, which wasn’t going to happen any time soon).

    I politely explained to the bus driver, that they were not currently picking up or dropping off passengers and that leaving the bus parked (partially in the bike lane, partially in the road) was illegal, and that it is dangerous for bicyclists like me that they sit there for any length of time. The bus driver was extremely adamant about not caring one way or the other…

    There just happened to be a Sherriff’s car pulling into the Starbucks from the other side of the parking lot, and I showed him the statute (on my iPhone) and he gave the bus driver a ticket.

    In order to get some justice for us bicyclists, sometimes you just have to get lucky and know the laws. From here on in, I’m sure the bus company will alert their drivers to the law.

  5. Geo says:

    Well done Frank! That’s what I call empowerment of bicyclists, one of the goals of this site. Glad you had the information immediately available.

  6. Frank says:

    Oh my!!!

    ANOTHER one this morning.

    This time, I wasn’t soo nice… This (different) bus driver stopped on the road a block away from Starbucks (road perpendicular) She was standing outside the bus (for at least 5 mins) talking to someone on the side of the road.

    I stood behind the bus on my bike, beeped my horn in 15 sec intervals, and she just REFUSED to get in the bus and move on.

    I litterally had to interrupt her converstaion and show her the laws… She totally ignored me, so I called the bus company with the pertinant information along with a Picture i took with my phone and emailed it to them.

    Twice in Two days is ridiculous.
    Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

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