900 S Damen Chicago, IL
Ward 27, Alderman Walter Burnett
The operator of a large Pace bus and I were passing each other southbound on Damen Avenue with no incident. On the last pass though, near Taylor, the bus passed within less than the legally required minimum of 3 feet. I was riding in the designated bike lane, saw the bus approaching at this distance, but was unable to maneuver any further to the right. I caught up with the bus at 18th Street, knocked on his window and made motions toward my eyes and his. He opened the door and let me speak. I told him he passed me within the legal 3 feet, asked him if he saw me, and told him how he had put my life in danger. He acknowledged none of this, told me he did not see me, and accused me of swerving in front of him.
The issue was not with the location, it was the driver. Besides this incidence, I routinely encounter aggressive driving by Pace vehicles, and try my best to avoid them more than any other professional drivers in the city. The improvement needs to come from within their organization. Training for their drivers should include information about being respectable towards cyclists and obeying the laws pertaining to them.
Ed. note: It seems there was a “they came out of nowhere” attitude on the part of the bus operator, which is quite common when motorists put bicyclist in danger. I’d like to find this “nowhere” to see where all these bicyclists are coming from.