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Bristol bus company warned by police after close pass of cyclist

FirstBus says drivers are instructed to only overtake when it is safe to do so but also seems to suggest that cyclist should have used cycle lane

Bristol's main bus provider, FirstBus, has been warned by the police after one of its drivers was caught on camera passing a cyclist dangerously closely.

The Bristol Post has published footage of the incident which was caught on Christos Ioannou's helmet-mounted camera in Parrys Lane, Stoke Bishop, on Thursday, October 4.

Ioannou was riding home to Westbury-on-Trym at about 2.30pm when the FirstBus passed him despite a pedestrian crossing with a central island.

"It felt very scary, like if it was any closer he would have hit me," he recalled. "And it was going pretty fast, as you can see in the video. If I fell and went under the rear wheel, there would have been serious damage done."

The incident was reported to Avon and Somerset Police who sent a warning to FirstBus.

An email to Ioannou said: "We have re-viewed the footage and agree that it was not the best place to overtake.

“I have sent a warning/Advisory letter to the transport manager of First Bus Group with several still images taken from the footage (no personal details disclosed) regards to poor driving standards of one of their drivers.

"I have requested they speak with their driver about the incident. This is the first step and they are now aware that should this happen again then the next step would be a prosecution for any traffic related offences that we see."

A FirstBus spokesman said: “We are aware of the incident and have reminded drivers about the importance to keep a safe distance when overtaking cyclists.

"Regardless of the fact that this cyclist does not appear to be using the designated cycle lane as the Highway Code recommends, our drivers are instructed to only overtake when it is safe to do so.

"This is even more important in Bristol and the wider region as many people are keen cyclists, and First is proud of its safety record in the West of England region.”

In 2015, a graduate student from Bristol demanded an apology from First after being knocked off her bike by a driver who failed to stop.

"I called them and they made me feel rude for complaining about being knocked off my bike," said Fiona Weidberg. "I'm lucky that I escaped with cuts and bruises. One person said any closer and it would have been a fatal accident."

Speaking at the time, a spokesman said the firm planned to write to Weidberg, apologising for the distress caused and to provide insurance details should she wish to make a claim for damage to her bike.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.

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18 comments

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srchar | 5 years ago
3 likes
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hennahairgel | 5 years ago
2 likes

I ride that route daily as part of my commute.

The cycle lane is in poor condition, and usually full of parked cars further up the hill. It's not worth the paint.

Anyway, it's a steep hill in a 20 mph zone (initially) so anything catching up with you or passing is unlikely to be keeping to the limit.

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vonhelmet | 5 years ago
1 like

It has been noted that cyclists make handy mobile traffic calming. It’s similarly cynical to the fact that no one seriously expects anyone to drive at 20mph, and no one has any intention of enforcing that limit, but a small percentage of drivers will drive at 25mph and help to keep down the speed of those who’d otherwise go through at 40mph.

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Jimmy Ray Will | 5 years ago
4 likes

That to me is a demonstration of poor infrastructure in action.

Those bike lanes painted on the side of the road are seen by many motorists as an indicator of how close they can get to cyclists... my lane, your lane sort of thing. This is what the bus did.

Secondly, these traffic islands are often used to control and slow traffic. Its not the island itslef that slows traffic, its slow moving traffic (i.e. cyclists) that motorists encounter at these pinch points that control the traffic. we are literally being used as pawns in a vain attempt to lower driving speeds.

How is that ever seen as right? 

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Carior | 5 years ago
1 like

Can someone please point the idiot at the bus company to Highway Code Rule 63 "cyclists use of the lane is not compulsory" and Rule 163 "you SHOULD give ... cyclists... as much room as you would a car" and then perhaps him to explain how a cyclist doing something he is allowed to do, justifies the bus driver failing to do something required of him by the Highway Code.  There's even a little picture for the cretin in case he's too thick to work it out from words alone.

Also worth pointing out the guidance specifically state that cyclists should take the lane when it is unsafe to pass e.g. where the road narrows.  What a cretin!

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vonhelmet | 5 years ago
2 likes

We cannot say who was driving the bus. We cannot say if anyone actually was driving the bus. Was there even a bus? Who can say. Our drivers, whether or not they were driving buses that may or may not have been on that or any other road at, before or after the time of the alleged close pass, are all exceptionally well trained in driving buses and in fact in all aspects of their lives. Our drivers are superhuman and would never pass a cyclist, horse, stray sheep or mislaid shopping trolley at a distance closer than 1 AU.

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Jem PT | 5 years ago
0 likes

Eh? Looks to me like the cyclist is using the cycle lane, but the bus squeezed through where there is a central crossing island and the width for road vehicles is too tight for it?

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don simon fbpe replied to Jem PT | 5 years ago
3 likes
Jem PT wrote:

Eh? Looks to me like the cyclist is using the cycle lane, but the bus squeezed through where there is a central crossing island and the width for road vehicles is too tight for it?

You don't expect anyone to accept responsibility, do you? Do you expect an apology? Those things don't happen any more, irrespective of the fact that plod were involved and had to issue a(nother) warning doesn't command an apology. Fight fire with fire, accuse the accuser and it's always the victims' fault.

Welcome to the real world.  3

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StraelGuy | 5 years ago
1 like

You dissapoint me slightly Peter, I was really hoping that clip was going to be a squirrel driving a bus...

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hawkinspeter replied to StraelGuy | 5 years ago
3 likes
StraelGuy wrote:

You dissapoint me slightly Peter, I was really hoping that clip was going to be a squirrel driving a bus...

Many apologies - I must try harder.

 

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hawkinspeter | 5 years ago
0 likes
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Redvee | 5 years ago
3 likes

What a fool I am, I read the article on the local rags website then read the comments. indecision

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Gourmet Shot | 5 years ago
1 like

We have FirstBus in Leeds and i've had crap load of issues with these knuckle dragging morons...was even assaulted by one after I leaned on his window when he stopped (after running me into a kerb), wrote letter of complaint...got standard 'our drivers trained to high standards' fob off letter back

 

 

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brooksby | 5 years ago
1 like

First's drivers are a nightmare. They're all desperate to keep to something approaching the published timetable but failing as Bristols rush hour traffic is so bad. I've been travelling by bus a lot lately and I dread it when the bus encounters cyclists: the drivers invariably pass or follow far too close. I don't know which of their drivers get training regarding vulnerable road users, but I don't think it's been any of the drivers of literally any bus I've been on for the last six weeks or so!

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pockstone | 5 years ago
3 likes

So Avon & Somerset police are laying down the law. Funny that the Bristol Post video segued  (at least when I watched it) straight into another close pass video from April starring a deadly First Bus driver squeezing up a cyclist, eliciting a warning from the police

. How many 'last' warnings do they get?

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John Smith | 5 years ago
6 likes

Could someone from Road.cc contact the bus company for comment or to answer questions on this? Perhaps use the position as a media company to challenge and change this kind of lack of understanding?

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grumpyoldcyclist | 5 years ago
5 likes

"Regardless of the fact that this cyclist does not appear to be using the designated cycle lane as the Highway Code recommends" 

So the cycle lane doesn't meet government standards, and the driver doesn't overtake in line with Highway Code recommendations. Heaven forbid the cyclist might be travelling in the other direction as there's no cycle lane, what would they try to use as a lame excuse then?

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pipthepilot | 5 years ago
7 likes

"Regardless of the fact that this cyclist does not appear to be using the designated cycle lane as the Highway Code recommends" 

Really?  Looks to me that he was taking the line to discourage idiots from overtaking as he approached the crossing. 

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