Bus v Bike Incident Highlights Lawlessness of Metro Buses

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Last week Enci Box, who seems to be a magnet for bus drivers who don’t understand the concept of sharing the road, run her into the curb bringing Bike to Work Week to a sad and quick ending. Even sadder, the incident occured across the street from the start of the "Bike Not to Work Ride" from a day earlier. LAist reports that the driver immediately saw the error of his ways.

He then opened the door and screamed "Get the F@%& off the road!" and then called her an idiot as his passengers looked at her and tried to exit as there was a cyclist between the bus and the curb.

Charming.

But the real horror of the incident, one that probably occurs daily on LA’s roads, is that after the incident nobody in a position really seemed to care. Enci and her husband Stephen are two people that know the system, and they still found it nigh impossible to actually file a complaint on the incident.

First the LAPD was contacted, and they passed it off to the sheriff’s office. The same people who are under contract to Metro to provide security.

Metro’s private security force didn’t want to deal with angry cyclists either and had them speak with Metro’s customer relations office.

Metro’s bus supervisor didn’t seem all that concerned, actually releasing the driver before speaking to Enci, and probably would have ridden off into the sunset if Stephen hadn’t walked across the street to summon a representative from Council President Garcetti’s office, Deputy district Director Mitch O’Farrell.

While O’Farrell was helpful, he ultimately couldn’t file an official report for them. By 4:15 P.M. all of the representatives had gone home and an official report of the incident had yet to be filed.

I spoke to Stephen this morning, and he finished the story for me. Enci continued on her way to work, and Stephen worked the phones until he spoke to a lieutenant in the local LAPD field office who told him to come on in and fill out a complaint. After her work was over, Enci biked to the office where a night supervisor refused to take the report. After Stephen came by and the two met with the lieutenant, the report was finally filed after 2 A.M. in the morning.

So let’s summarize. A cyclist is run off the road and verbally abused by a bus driver. The cyclist tries to file an official complaint, and is blown off by the LAPD, LASD and Metro staff. Finally, after an evening of calling people they know within the system, they’re able to file a report 10 hours later.

If this is the experience that dedicated activists with years of experience and contacts, imagine what the experiences of everyone else would be.

Photo: Jason Kronick/Flickr

  • Man, if that bus driver told me I was an idiot I’d be like, “Well, you’re a bus driver.” So I guess we know who would have won that battle.

    Or maybe I’d sing this song:

    Hail to the bus driver,
    Bus driver!
    Bus driver!
    Hail to the bus driver,
    Bus driver man.

    He drinks and he cusses,
    and stinks up the busses,
    Hail to the bus driver,
    Bus driver man.

    He steps on the clutch
    and the toilet goes flush.
    Hail to the bus driver,
    Bus driver man.

    Then I’d adjust the rear view mirrors on my glasses and my bike, cinch up my pant leg(s) and ride on.

  • Dorothy Le

    wow. that is really messed up. we need to change this.

  • Derek

    Of course Metro will make it as hard as possible to complain. They don’t want the city to find out and possibly cancel their contract.

  • customer service is a never-ending vortex of lost complaints. union issues prevent any one ever finding out about who or what gets on a drivers record.

    it’s a good ole boys network, if there ever was one.

  • I might seem like a magnet but talking to other cyclists it seems that all cyclists are magnets.

    However, I’m probably one of the very few who report these incidents and who is not backing down.

    People come into incidents with Metro Bus drivers every day but the system is so cumbersome that most of the cyclists move on, happy to be alive.

    Of course they end up with an adrenalin rush so high that they make it across town in 30 minutes instead of 60. :-)

    Through it all I love riding the city and I encourage everybody to get out there and ride!

    The best thing we can do is ride, ride and ride some more!

  • jessica

    what a bummer. I’m glad Enci was not hurt. Way to go fighting this fight – it is wicked important issue that metro needs to be accountable for — but want to give a nod to all the awesome bus drivers out there – believe me there are some. And to me it’s a wicked important job, that is too often thankless and overlooked and underpaid – but the dangerous bus drivers must be held accountable, as well as metro’s system for logging complaints.

  • I am guessing that “jessica” is from Boston? If I was right, I would be wicked clever.

  • jerome h. weymouth

    Yeah,yeah,yeah, it’ds always the bus drivers fault, but have you been behind the wheel of a Metro bus and seen this so-called eucated bicyclists?

    They swoöp around the buses, cut in and out , they act like “ÿou better respect me!”

    Bullshirt! You pencil neck geeks should known how to go around a bus without interferring with the bus pulling out, take the sidewalk, or even better stop the bike and wait for the bus to leave.

    And anotherr thing communicate with the driver of the bus your about to pass.
    Do you want an education? Watch the idot that rides down 6th street, weaving in and out of traffic and going around Metro buses. He will get himself killed and you will learn from
    his mistakes!

  • peter can
  • It was impressive the perseverance shown by the bicyclist. We have to stick together if we are ever going to make a change.

    The good news (in some perverted way) is that with gas prices soaring there will soon be more and more of us.

    Jake
    http://JustBicycles.com

  • Matthew

    This is unfortunate, my experience with bus drivers has always been really good on the road. Heading up to Manchester on La Tijera, the bus drivers have always given me plenty of room (changing lanes to the left if passing, or waiting behind me if sufficiently close to the intersection where they turn), leaving more than enough of a comfort zone.

  • john jacobson

    i’ve been reading up on Steve Box because I wanted to know who he was. it seems when i see him or his wife they act like i have a serious disease and let me know it. I don’t understand their rules of the bike vs road. is it unlawful to beep your horn and say hi? last and only time i did that his beautiful wife gave me a dirty look and said something to her protective husband. what’s wrong with this?

  • Enci

    John,

    According to your comment we have met and we treated you like you are some kind of a disease. I’d like to apologizing for that! I don’t want to treat anybody that way and I never mean to make anybody feel that way.

    As to your question about the unlawfulness of a horn, you just hit the nail on the head.

    Here is California Vehicle Code 27001.

    (a) The driver of a motor vehicle when reasonably necessary to insure safe operation shall give audible warning with his horn.

    (b) The horn shall not otherwise be used, except as a theft alarm system which operates as specified in Article 13 (commencing with Section 28085) of this chapter.

    I know we use the horn for many other reasons however next time you see us on the road, I would rather that you say hi to us some other way then honking your horn.

    Honking spooks the rider and cyclists can lose control by swerving when they look back. Honking takes the cyclists attention off the road and onto trying to find what is wrong.

    The horn sounds aggressive and scary when you are on a bike in front of a car, it’s much different from what you hear inside the car.

    And lastly, cyclists are used to being honked at to get out of the way, to get off the road, to move it, and out of anger. So even a friendly honk gets lost in all of the noise.

  • Jhonhookins

    AS AN OPERATOR FROM METRO OVER 15 YEARS THE TRUTH IS THAT METRO MANAGEMENT ARE IGNORANT AND AT THE SAME TIME THE ONLY WAY TO RESOLVE A PROBLE IS   FILE A LAW SUIT BECAUSE THE SUPERVISOR ALL THEY CARE IS $35 HOUR SALARIE AND THE REAlly dont do nothing.

  • JHONHOOKINS

    MOST ARE NIGRO WITH POOR EDUCATION AND THE MAJORITY OF MANAGEMENT ARE BLACKS THAT DONT LIKE TO WORK SOW WEN YOU SEE A NIGRO OPERATOR YOUR DEALING WITH A BABOM WITH NO BRAINS