Bus vs bike - John C. Kirk
Mar. 31st, 2009
11:57 pm - Bus vs bike
Cycling into work today, I went along Acton Lane (travelling right to left on this map). When I reached the junction, I wanted to turn right into Barretts Green Road, but the traffic lights are a bit fiddly there: the green light means "go straight ahead or turn right if the road is clear", so you have to wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic before the light turns red. Anyway, I saw a bus coming from the opposite direction, which was also indicating right, i.e. it was about to turn into North Acton Road. That would do a nice job of shielding me from the vehicles behind, so we could turn together (basically waving our bums at each other as we went past, rather than facing each other during the turn). Unfortunately, it turned out that the bus wasn't actually turning right; instead, it was going straight ahead, but I only discovered this when I was in front of it. We avoided a collision, but the driver blasted the horn at me, presumably to imply that this was my fault. I'm guessing that he/she turned on the right indicator to pull away from the previous bus stop, and forgot to turn it off.
I've submitted a complaint to Transport for London. They've been quite receptive to some of my previous complaints about buses, e.g. the driver who was drinking from a can while the bus was moving (i.e. he only had one hand on the wheel and his head was tilted back so that his eyes weren't on the road), so hopefully they'll be able to have a word with the person responsible.
Meanwhile, I wonder what I could have done differently, i.e. how I should guard against a similar situation happening again, but I haven't come up with any useful ideas. The obvious approach would be to wait until the oncoming vehicle has committed to the turn (in case they're lying), but at that point I don't think I'd have time to get all the way across before the following traffic comes through (assuming that I'm stationary, i.e. have no momentum), so I'd still have the problem of playing chicken with oncoming vehicles. I could wait until there's a gap in the traffic, but then I might wait so long that the light turns red again. Also, I need to be aware of traffic behind me (also wanting to turn right) who might get impatient. For now, I think I just need to keep my wits about me, and be prepared to take evasive action when necessary.