The Boston Cyclists Union, MassBike and the City of Boston met with a group of MBTA officials this morning to begin a long-term effort aimed at improving how the T’s bus-driver training program incorporates bikes. This first meeting was about gathering information and listing our opportunities, which were many.
To help illuminate the process, the advocates asked the T for a stack of detailed reports on all the bicycle and pedestrian vs. bus crashes for the last 10 years (or however many years have been collected), and introduced the idea of bringing a focus group of bus drivers and cyclists together to hash out their differences in a facilitated discussion— closed-door, so the real grievances can be spoken without fear for consequences. Below, we also ask you for your opinions.
The T, in turn, listed a wide variety of opportunities. To name a few: putting “If you can’t see my mirrors, I can’t see you” stickers on the rear ends of buses, creating a number of bike safety posters to post in MBTA bus garages, and including bikes in the bus simulator scenarios they use to train drivers. They also announced that they will use this video from Chicago in all their trainings until such time as a local version can be produced. (Big thanks to Ken Field of the Cambridge Bicycle Committee, also a participant in today’s meeting, for giving the T that suggestion!)
The highlight of the trip was the T’s new pair of sophisticated bus simulators. The only thing these machines can’t simulate, apparently, is the thousands of crazy situations that drivers have to tolerate in the back of the bus while negotiating Boston traffic. If they made this adjustment, this could become marketable and extremely challenging video game!
The T is asking for the advocates’ advice on which simulations would make the most sense. Currently they have four pretty good scenarios:
- Bus making a right-hand turn conflicts
- Bus making a left-hand turn across traffic conflicts (with obstructed view!)
- Bus passing on the left conflicts (bike is between curb and bus)
- Bike passing on the left conflicts (when the bus is pulling out of a stop or changing lanes, for instance)
The BCU and MassBike representatives present also came up with a few ideas for new scenarios, such as:
- Bike swerves to avoid door opening
- Bike takes full traffic lane
- Unpredictable cyclists
We also invite you, good bicycle citizens, for information on which types of bus behaviors most scare or endanger you. And your ideas on how these problems might be alleviated.
We’re here to represent the cycling community in Boston, so tell us how you feel!
Make a comment here, or email us at Stidman (at) gmail.com.