Hi, 15 February this year my friends and I had a close pass from a Transdev bus on Main Rd., Wellington Point. 

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Well I received a response like this:

Dear Peter,

I am writing in follow up to your contact with TransLink. Thank you for taking the time to supply your email address.

As you may be aware, TransLink requested an investigation into the matters you raised. In consulting with our service provider, Transdev, we were provided with the information below:

“We have viewed the video footage supplied by the caller. The correct date according to the date on the video is the 15th Feb.

The footage clearly shows the bus did not attempt to overtake the rider until the way was clear for the rider to move into the left laneway. The bus then proceeded to overtake the rider however the rider failed to move as far left as possible instead choosing to ride on the solid white line.

There are solid double lines in the centre of the road and the video clearly shows an oncoming car at the time the bus passed the cyclist.

In my opinion the bus driver made all efforts to keep clear distance from the rider however the rider did not help himself at all by not keeping as far to the left as practical, and then also appearing to pass the bus on the inside at the next traffic calmer thus putting himself in danger.”

We’re here to take your feedback 24/7 online or at 13 12 30. You may also wish to download TransLink’s free mobile application, MyTransLink, where you can plan your journeys and so much more. SEQ customers can also access Real-time information to check their next bus, train, ferry or trams predicted departure time and customise service notifications.

Kind regards

Luke
TransLink Customer Relations

I responded with this email and forwarded it to my local State Member who forwarded it on to the Minister for Transport. My email :

Dear Luke,

 

I refer to your email dated 4 April 2017 in which a reply is made to a complaint made about a Translink bus driver. The complaint is below:

 

On a ride this morning with 2 friends at Wellington Point, on Main Street Wellington Point, we had a very close pass, less than 1m, by a Translink bus. The video of the incident can be found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pOFwYlRYSw The incident occurred at about 07:35 am outside 167 Main St. Wellington Point by a Translink bus, registration 227 SIK, Route 254 Capalaba via Moreton Tafe. The bus did not at any stage attempt to overtake us at the required distance. From the video you can see that the bike with the camera took avoiding action as the bus came past, it recorded the less than 1m clearance given to the cyclist in front, and then braked hard in front of the cyclists when they threw their hands up . These were unnecessary and dangerous actions by the driver. Please counsell this driver about his intimidating and illegal driving and remind the driver of the relevant section of the Queensland Traffic code - 144A Keeping a safe lateral distance when passing bicycle

The Queensland Road rules state:

144A Keeping a safe lateral distance when passing bicycle rider (1) The driver of a motor vehicle passing the rider of a bicycle that is travelling in the same direction as the driver must pass the bicycle at a sufficient distance from the bicycle. Maximum penalty—40 penalty units. Note— Section 129 generally requires the rider of a bicycle on a road, other than a multi-lane road, to ride as near as practicable to the far left side of the road. (2) A sufficient distance from the bicycle is— (a) if the applicable speed limit is not more than 60km/h—a lateral distance from the bicycle of at least 1m;

The TMR website https://www.qld.gov.au/transport/safety/rules/other/cyclists/  also has a fact sheet that indicates that drivers:

Laws for motorists passing bicycle riders

Motorists must stay wider of bicycle riders by giving a minimum of:

  • 1m when passing a bicycle rider in a 60km/h or less speed zone
    or
  • 1.5m where the speed limit is over 60km/h.

Passing a bicycle rider means that you (as a motorist) and the bicycle rider are travelling in the same direction. This includes when you are travelling side-by-side in separate lanes on a multi-lane road. It does not apply if you are travelling in opposite directions.

The passing distance is measured from:

  • The rightmost part of the bicycle, or the person on the bicycle
    to
  • The leftmost part of the vehicle, or something sticking out from the vehicle (e.g. a side mirror).

The minimum passing distance applies even if the bicycle rider is riding around an obstacle.

These road rules apply to all motor vehicles—including cars, motorcycles, heavy vehicles and public transport vehicles.

Crossing lines to pass a bicycle rider

To pass a bicycle rider—as long as it is safe to do so—you are allowed to:

  • drive over centre lines (including double unbroken centre lines) on a 2-way road
  • straddle or cross a lane line (including a continuous lane line) on a multi-lane road
  • drive on a painted island.

If it is not safe to pass a bicycle rider, you must wait until it is safe to pass.

Indicating when passing

Drivers must indicate when passing bicycle riders if they need to change their position on the road.

  • Indicate 'right' long enough to warn other road users that you are about to veer right to pass a bicycle rider
  • Then indicate 'left' when you have passed the bicycle rider and are returning to your original position on the road.

You must indicate if you need to change your position on the road, even if you do not need to cross the centre or lane lines.

 

I submit to you that the bus driver is required to overtake the rider with a minimum of 1m lateral distance. The video clearly indicates that this is not the case. In Transdev statement it reports that:

The footage clearly shows the bus did not attempt to overtake the rider until the way was clear for the rider to move into the left laneway. The bus then proceeded to overtake the rider however the rider failed to move as far left as possible instead choosing to ride on the solid white line.

 

I submit that this is incorrect. The video clearly indicates that the rider was maintaining a line to pass parked vehicles ahead of the rider.

 

There are solid double lines in the centre of the road and the video clearly shows an oncoming car at the time the bus passed the cyclist.

 

According to the Queensland Road rules, the bus can cross double line to overtake a cyclist, but must only do so when safe, i.e. not when there is oncoming traffic. Also you can see on the video, that the bus did not indicate when overtaking the cyclist.

 

In my opinion the bus driver made all efforts to keep clear distance from the rider however the rider did not help himself at all by not keeping as far to the left as practical, and then also appearing to pass the bus on the inside at the next traffic calmer thus putting himself in danger.”

 

Your opinion is not what matters here. The fact of the matter is that the bus driver;

 

  1. Passed a cyclist without a lateral distance of 1m
  2. Overtook the cyclist with oncoming traffic
  3. Did not indicate when overtaking the cyclist
  4. On overtaking the cyclist immediately braked heavily causing the cyclist to get very close to the back of the bus. This was a punishment braking manoeuvre by the bus driver.

 

I am now referring this matter to my local member for action.

 

Regards,

Peter Smith

This morning I received this email:

Dear Peter,

I am writing in follow up to your contact with TransLink.

We have received the following additional response from our service provider, Trandev as a result of your last email:

“Transdev has reviewed the footage several times and even though the 1st bike rider was very close to the bike line our bus driver should have slowed down, or waited until safe to pass them both.

The bus did slow down when approaching a traffic calmer which could have been interpreted as the driver ‘giving them a lesson’ however upon discussion with the driver he cannot recall such action.

Regardless of the above arguments we, as a public transport operator, have a duty of care to all road users. We have counselled the driver and reviewed the footage together with him. The driver has been reminded of the importance about keeping a safe distance when passing bicycles.

Please accept our sincere apologies.”
.

Kind regards

Yvette
TransLink Customer Relations

Now a video of how the buses at Wellington Point normally pass us.

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Sorry for some reasons the videos didn't load. Here they are:

Well done Peter.

I also have to remind  myself that "as far to the left as practicable"  is not the same as "as far to the left as possible".  Two entirely different things.

And, as far as I know the edge of the road is the white line down the left side of the road.  Bicycles may use the shoulder to the left of the line, but must give way to all traffic when crossing back into the traffic lane.  The shoulder becomes my escape path....

So where is it a requirement that " moving as far left as possible" requires a cyclist to leave the lane designated by a solid white line on the left and travel on the shoulder of the road (to the left of the solid white lane line)?  If this is the view of Translink then I think it needs to corrected.

As far as I know, a cyclist is entitled to ride on a public road and remain in a designated lane.  A cyclist may CHOOSE to leave the lane and travel on the shoulder, which may assist following traffic to overtake but other vehicles still need to obey all rules for overtaking.  A bus driver is not entitled to overtake on the basis of what he thinks a cyclist should do (ride out of the lane) but on what the rider actually does.

Is Luke some unemployed cop, a self-appointed self-qualified expert or an official representative of Translink expressing Translink's official position?  Also, does Yvette of Translink not recognise what a bike lane is or is she merely parroting the operator's comment?  If Translink does not have the ability to recognise whether the operator's interpretation is incorrect then how can it monitor theproper "counsel" the driver?

Perhaps Translink should seek proper legal advice rather than massaging customer relations.  That's what duty of care would require.

Peter

I'd suggest still referring it to your local member because I think this case displays arse covering rather than a genuine effort to remedy a potentially lethal practice.

Well done Peter. I appreciate the work you've done. 

However, it reads to me like "Let's say something that will keep him happy so this doesn't go viral on youtube. We can tell him the driver was sorry.. he'll never know!"

I think part of the problem is drivers do not think riders on bicycles are vehicles and do not give them the same respect they would give to a motorised vehicle and driver/rider.

I believe most drivers would give a slow motorscooter more consideration and perhaps hang back patiently. Most I say, not all.

I often think along these lines ... What if I was on a motorscooter, how would the driver have reacted.

It's almost daily that I get pushed aside, cut off or blatantly ignored on my bicycle. But if it were a motorised 2 wheeler ...

I think the only thing that affects Australians driving is the fear of consequences, and/or the fear of damage to their motor vehicle. Things like courtesy and respect for your fellow citizen don't seem to apply, or at least can't be relied on.

There's a push for an adoption of the European speeding fines in line with weekly wage earnings, that'll scare the shit out of a lot of people.

http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/795209/speeding-fines-new-...

Well done Peter

and too the following comments

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