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March 2009
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Yield to the Bus

I am all for public transit, it usually moves people more efficiently than in individual automobiles, it helps to reduce pollution and it helps move people who may not be able to afford to have their own personal vehicle. But what I am not in favour of is aggressive bus drivers that do forget that they have to share the road.This morning was on of those mornings when a bus driver was far too aggressive. I was driving north up Royal York Blvd toward the 401 to try and get into work early to get some studying done. It is very police-ridden so it is important to follow the speed laws.

Here’s what happened: The bus driver pulled into the right hand lane approaching the Eglinton intersection. I went through the intersection behind other vehicles in the left-hand thru-lane to continue going north on Royal York. Just north of the intersection is a bus stop where the bus was proceeding to. No one wanted to get on or off the bus so the bus never slowed down or stopped. Instead of merging when it was safe the bus pulled over into the left lane without checking to see if there were any vehicles. But there were, I was there and have to slam on my brakes and veer into the right lane. Who needs caffeine when you have drivers like that!

Ontario Highway Traffic Act 142.1

I decided I would look up the law governing buses merging back into traffic, HTA 142.1. The requirement on yielding applies to buses merging back from the bus bay. The law states:

Every driver of a vehicle in the lane of traffic adjacent to a bus bay shall yield the right of way to the driver of a bus who has indicated his or her intention, as prescribed, to re-enter that lane from the bus bay.

But the law also states when the bus must wait:

No driver of a bus shall re-enter the lane of traffic adjacent to a bus bay and move into the path of a vehicle or street car if the vehicle or street car is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield the right of way.

Buses are governed by the same driving laws as the rest of us.

My issue this morning was that the bus merged into my lane without checking to see if it was safe to merge. The bus is governed by the same laws as the rest of us, it must only merge when it is safe. I was lucky in that no one was coming in the south direction and narrowly avoided being hit by the bus.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to have a close call with a bus. I suppose it is about driver education, both vehicle and bus, and possibly about changing the Highway Traffic Act.