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Bendy buses have not killed any London cyclists
8.11.08 by Buffalo Bill

I missed this article when it came out, but as you may remember, Boris Johnson last year labelled bendy buses cyclist killers, saying they “wipe out cyclists, there are many cyclists killed every year”. But there aren’t.

The latest official figures, obtained by Val Shawcross, Labour’s transport spokesman on the Assembly, show there have in fact been no fatal incidents involving cyclists and the buses and only four serious incidents – where the cyclist may have required medical treatment – in the last four years.

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  1. In contrast to many people’s assumptions as to the different threats posed by different vehicles on the road, I’ve had very little problems with buses of any sort in London. In fact, I’ve often found bus drivers to drive almost submissively, especially if I assert myself on the road. Just my experience

    — fromemory    9 November 2008, 13:24    #
  2. Dunno. There was that horrific case of a bus driver deliberately running a cyclist over on Waterloo Bridge a few years ago. And when I say ‘deliberately’, I mean ‘deliberately’. Driver got off on a technicality.

    — Bill    9 November 2008, 14:34    #
  3. Seems like an anomaly. Like i said though, I’m only speaking from personal experience, analogical data is not evidence.
    One thing I notice alot, however, is you get bendy buses which don’t have the space to park at the curb when stopping to let passengers off. So you could be riding on the edge of a bus lane, and all of a sudden the bus to your right just stops, the doors fly open and you’re surrounded by people getting off. I don’t know what the workaround for that is but it’s dangerous stuff.

    — fromemory    9 November 2008, 16:07    #
  4. If you are positioned in a bus lane in such a way that the bus can pull up alongside you like that then you may be in the wrong position!

    When you say “you could be riding on the edge of a bus lane” you put your finger on it- if you were to position yourself further out in bus lane- say half way out or even two 3rds out, then the bus driver would be forced to hang back behind you ‘till you have passed the bus stop before pulling in. This would avoid the problem you have described. A smiley thankyou can then be welcome.

    This is called Assertive riding and helps to eliminate dangerous interactions such as those ou have described.
    (To find out more you can book a lesson from one of our Accredited instructors- we are a not for profit workers co-operative who teach this stuff every day).
    (Oh, and by the way we are recruiting instructors in West London right now…)

    Luce    10 November 2008, 17:40    #
  5. I see buses as one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road.
    It’s these morons who drive them.I remember that death on waterloo bridge and I couldn’t believe it.It’s a matter of time….

    — overdrive    10 November 2008, 17:45    #
  6. come to think of it, how many times have you seen people on bikes taking photos of bus drivers after having some stupid manoeuvre or ‘almost hit’ happen to them…

    stopped for some guy with his bike actually under a bus just off old st roundabout last week & the bus driver had actually driven the cyclist off the road… and then (the driver) sat snug inside the cabin with the cyclist in shock with his bike under the front of the bus, freaking out and taking photos of the guilty party.. just waiting for the cyclist to get out of the road before moving on.. which sounds like a hit and run to me frankly

    if you are driving something that can cause a lot of harm, you need to treat more vulnerable road users with greater respect.. which seems to be the main problem here.

    I’d advocate stricter penalties for these bad driver issues personally.. death from behind a wheel seems to be treated with frightening lenience at the moment.

    — mr_tim    10 November 2008, 18:26    #
  7. A new offence of causing death by careless driving was introduced last year. See www.movingtargetzine…

    — Bill    10 November 2008, 19:12    #
  8. I only ride near the curb when there’s no other option, or my traffic weaving takes me that way. Sometimes there’s just nowhere else to go, but I’m always magnetised to the middle of the road, and I definitely consider myself an assertive rider.
    My personal experience with buses is obviously quite different to other peoples.

    — fromemory    10 November 2008, 20:16    #
  9. OD: “I see buses as one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road.
    It’s these morons who drive them.I remember that death on waterloo bridge and I couldn’t believe it.It’s a matter of time….”

    Responsible for 1 death this year (according to what I know). Lorries = 9 deaths.

    — Bill    10 November 2008, 20:59    #
  10. In my job as a courier I see a lot of shitty bus driving,Bill.I’m talking about all types of bus.Statistics dont account for what really happens out there.

    — overdrive    11 November 2008, 11:31    #
  11. Hi
    This is my first post so I should say – I enjoy reading this site – I am not a courier and don’t pretend to be.
    I generally commute.
    At the moment I live in Zurich and a lot of the city busses are bendy. I haven’t heard of any accidents with them, or with Trams, or with other buses. Generally people here accept cycling as a way of getting about. Tram tracks in the rain are a different story.
    The long standing Mayor has just stood down. His preferred method of transport in the city was by bike so I guess that helps. http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/politics/internal_affairs/Zurich_s_cycling_mayor_rides_city_to_success.html?siteSect=1511&sid=9888198&cKey=1225013704000&ty=st

    — LQQ    11 November 2008, 14:24    #
  12. Its obviously true that vehicle drivers, especially the heavy duty ones should be more considerate. But I dont see their mindset changing any time soon.
    So be wary of the beasts and do not expect any kindness. It happens, but more likely you`ll be ignored.
    Many (most?) cyclist assume that drivers are always aware of bike`s presence and what can happen. I think its safer to remember they either can`t see you, don`t care, or are cyclist-haters ;)

    Riding assertively as advocated above is the best defense. Try using hand signals more too..
    Also bit of respect for the vehicular folk/Highway Code- unless you`re a courier techniques of light jumping, aggressive filtering, squeezing where there`s clearly no space are best abandoned…
    This would sure reduce amount of aggro on the streets.

    Somehow passing the bendy always sets of Star Wars scenes in my head, where these gianormous Empire destroyers fill the screen…neverending ;)

    — akeley    14 November 2008, 21:20    #
  13. I have to chime in on the side of those who don’t have a problem with bendy buses – I’ve never found myself in a position where I was threatened by one, and I don’t understand where the threat comes from. Just like any other vehicle, you use the space on the road to force them to acknowledge you, and when you can’t, then you assume that you are invisble, and don’t put yourself in danger.

    — Tim Slade    29 December 2008, 14:02    #
  14. Its clear that the only reason for not having fatal accidents involving bendy buses so far is the slow speed in which they have to operate due to their size and narrow streets in London.However it doesn’t make them safer or more efficient,in regards of the traffic or the passengers themselves.It was a mistake to allow such a big vechicle in central London when clearly there is no space and they would create havoc in the expence of all other traffic behind them, in the name of improving public transport.By the way i think these buses now have resulted in slower journey times(at least in central London) as well as dragging the rest of the traffic with them along.Correct me if i am wrong.

    — Kostas    29 December 2008, 17:57    #
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