Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I got a reply from Metro Transit. This pleased me since my prior experience (as I noted) was the run-around. I'd like to encourage any of you who have similar experiences to log them officially, no matter where you live. The reply is below, but first I'd like to post my complaint:

My encounter this morning with one of the Be Line busses proves the vehicle is aptly named. The driver was apparently “be lining” it to his next stop as he sped past me on my bicycle, clearing me by no more than 18”. I was cycling westbound on Poplar Bridge Rd on my way to work at 9:55am. I was in the shoulder (right of the white line) and there is a full center turning lane on this road. In addition, there were no eastbound vehicles present. Three facts – 1) I was not in the lane, 2) There was an empty turning lane to the driver’s left, and 3) No oncoming traffic was present – frame one important conclusion: There is no reasonable excuse this driver shouldn’t have allowed the 3ft passing distance proscribed by MN state law. While I begrudge belligerence frequently from private motorists, I believe professional drivers should have the training, skills and tolerance to observe all traffic laws and operate their vehicles with concern not only for their passengers but all other users of the road. In the case of those operating large vehicles such as trucks or busses that can cause sufficient wind disturbance to affect bike control, failure to provide a safe passing distance endangers cyclists’ lives. The last (and only other) time I filed a complaint about a bus driver’s behavior toward me on my bicycle it went no where. I was told since I hadn’t gotten the driver’s number you couldn’t identify the driver since no such bus runs on that street at that time … . I expect nothing more this time. However, I sincerely hope Metro Transit enforces operator policies that promote greater safety for cyclists. This is only the second complaint I’ve filed. As a regular bicycle commuter, however, I’ve witnessed numerous instances of behavior by bus drivers that indicates some need additional training on sharing the road.

Here's the reply from Metro Transit I received this morning:
Good Morning Mr. Fleck, You are right, our driver should allow you a 3 foot clearance on the road. Especially if there is no on coming from the other side and there is a middle turn lane. I am apologizing for our driver for not giving you that clearance. When I asked him about it, he said that he doesn’t remember seeing you at all that day. I have given him a warning about paying attention and I hope that there will be no more instances like this. I am glad that you are not hurt due to this encroachment into your space. Again, I apologize for our driver and I will be reminding all of our drivers to give the proper clearance in our next safety meeting. If you have any other issues, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your input.

Steve Youmans
Road Supervisor
Transit Team

Of note: Steve's email address is
He also copied Michael Richter (his boss?)whose email address is

In short, if you live in the TC and experience a problem with a bus driver I encourage you to file a complaint with my encouragement to send it directly to the email addresses above.

Sadly, "doesn't remember seeing you at all that day" is a convenient excuse pulled by drivers involved in fatal crashes every day. But, friends, we'll fight each battle as it comes.

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