Bus driver experiences "windshield perspective"
by Antonio López
I took the S bus down 16th Street yesterday. As the bus driver was coming upon the stop at 16th and W, he drove up next to a bicyclist who was also traveling southbound, to the right of the bus. The bus driver began honking aggressively and pulled more to the right, dangerously close to the cyclist. This put the cyclist in danger of becoming pinned between the bus and the curb. Fortunately, the bus driver relented at the last moment and allowed the bicyclist to move ahead of him, but not before scaring the bicyclist and compromising her ability to ride safely. I saw her swerve dangerously close to the bus and heard her scream, "I'm on a bicycle!"
However, over the prior six blocks, the driver waited patiently behind at least four cars illegally parked in the far-right lane. Their drivers were sitting inside, their vehicles idling. But not once did he bother to honk at them, however civilly, or otherwise stake a claim to the occupied lane.
This bus driver suffered from windshield perspective, and he's not the only one I've seen while riding buses twice a day for four years. Could WMATA do more to train bus drivers to resist windshield perspective? Could bus drivers learn that, despite their resemblance to automobile drivers, they actually have a duty to drive in solidarity with bicyclists and pedestrians and not against them?
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