Beware of vehicles slowing while approaching crosswalks
As a bus driver, one of the things I dread is the possibility of seeing somebody injured or killed. I have heard many stories of the trauma associated with witnessing such an event and frankly, I want no part of it. A recent news story, about a teenager on Mercer Island being hit while, of all things, *walking* his bike across the street in a marked crosswalk, reminded me of a common situation I see while driving. It goes like this:
I’m driving my bus on a 4 lane road. I approach a crosswalk with an individual waiting to cross the street. As required by RCW 46.61.235, I stop my bus to allow the pedestrian or cyclist to cross. The nightmare begins when I see a car racing up the left side of my bus, completely unaware of the pedestrian crossing in front of me. That driver has no way of seeing the pedestrian but they DO have the ability to figure out what is going on. “Hmmm… The bus is stopped at a crosswalk, what could possibly be happening here?” I’m pretty aware of this particular hazzard so I’m careful to follow Metro policy and stop far back from the crosswalk to give other drivers visibility. I’ve also taken to either blocking both lanes with my bus or sticking my hand out of the window signaling the car to STOP! So far, it’s worked although sometimes the car has to slam on their brakes since they don’t figure it out until it’s almost too late.
So, when you see the vehicle next to you in traffic slowing when approaching a crosswalk, marked or not, for goodness sake, just STOP! Ok?
Here’s another example that sadly did not turn out well. Be safe out there!