Caught on Camera: Metro Bus Harasses Will Campbell

Last March, there was a flurry of "bus versus bicycle" stories that captured the attention of bike blogs and Metro itself.  On it’s worst day, two stories, one by Enci Box and one by Eric Richardson were posted within hours of each other.  Metro responded by putting together a task force for cyclists and operators to talk it out and hopefully come up with some solutions.

This year as Winter turns to Spring, another prominant bicycle activist and blogger reports on his "bus versus bike" story, but Will Campbell was armed with something neither Eric or Enci had on them.  A video camera.  Will explains the video clip above at his personal blog:

I was traveling westbound on Venice Boulevard on my bicycle in the
striped Class II bike lane between Ogden and Sawyer when the bus
operator from out of view behind me on the left and moving at speed
startled me with two illegal honks of the bus horn. Despite me having
position in the lane ahead of him and having the right of way the
operator immediately thereafter accelerated to pull abreast of me (at
the intersection of Sawyer and Venice) and began to bear right
encroaching against me while at the same time crossing over into the
bike lane and forcing me to take evasive braking and maneuvering in
order to prevent the bus from striking me. The operator continued on
with zero concern for the risks he took until crossing completely over
to the curb lane ultimately coming to a stop at the northeast corner of
the intersection of Venice Boulevard and Fairfax.

After forwarding the blog post and video to Metro’s bicycle and public relations department, I got a call from David Sotero from Metro’s public relations office.  He told me that while Metro hadn’t yet received the complaint, he forwarded it to customer relations who forwarded it to
the bus operator’s division manager for further follow up.

Sotero also asked me to ask anyone who has an issue with driver safety to please report it to Metro via their website or by emailing customerservice@metro.net.  If we can show that Campbell’s, and Box’s and Richardson’s before him, experiences aren’t just the exception to the rule, there’s a better chance we’ll be able to pressure Metro to make changes and get rid of unsafe drivers. It’s too early to declare last year’s efforts to reduce "bus v bike" incidents a failure, but if you have an issue on the street please contact Metro and feel free to also send a note to damien@streetsblog.org  and we’ll make sure that at the very least your voice is heard at Metro HQ.

For more on Campbell’s experience you can see images from his flickr set here and here and link to his youtube video here.

(Update: Will’s complaint has been received by customer relations and the official response is on it’s way to him now.)

  • Megan

    Damien,

    I am trying to contact you regarding permission to use one of your pictures in a poster my company is making. Please contact me to discuss.

    Thanks you

  • Will Campbell

    Thanks for posting this Damien and getting someone at Metro to sit up. To counter Sotero’s assertion that Metro hadn’t received my complaint, I filed it yesterday morning via their “customer comments” online form at mta.net and also sent it to customerservice@metro.net. I guess they don’t check their inbox very often — if at all.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Golden Gate Transit did this exact thing to me this morning in San Francisco, without the bus lane. I was traveling NE on Mission St between 4th and 5th in the right hand lane when a GGT bus honked, overtook me in the left lane, then cut directly in front of me to stop in the lane just east of 3rd.

    SF Muni bus drivers are educated not to play leapfrog with bicyclists, because it’s obviously dangerous and the bicyclist always wins. Other agencies, especially the more suburban ones like GGT and SamTrans, are not as well trained.

  • Damien, thanks for providing a great resource for the biking community. We’ve grown used to being ignored — it’s nice to have someone who can cut through the red tape and get officials to pay attention.

    My experience with bus drivers has been mixed. For each one that passes too close or cuts me off, I’ll encounter another who goes out of his way to drive safely around me. From now on, I’ll make a point of complaining to MTA about the bad ones — but also pass along a compliment for the good ones.

  • Also, don’t forget to add it to the new bikex database at http://www.bikexdatabase.com/submit.html and when you email customerservice@metro.net also cc Lynne Goldsmith the Metro bike coordinator at goldsmithl@metro.net and Damien and also us at metro@illuminatela.com. We are actually archiving all the complaints, just in case Metro doesn’t. :-)

    Glad to see Will not hurt!

  • metro’s customer service report line…. aka.. the black hole is a total sham. on numerous occasions i’ve called and had difficulties reporting problems.

    when you ask metro officials about the follow through on these complaints, you get lost in a sea of legalese about union rules and what not. basically, the public will never know anything about their complaints. no follow through, no actions.

    it’s a classic good ole boys/girls network system designed to protect their drivers, while simultaneously decreasing transparency from a government agency.

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