Patrick Stephenson is a copywriter at Minnesota Public Radio and the director of 30 Days of Biking. Follow him on Twitter, @patiomensch, where he tweets like 5,000 times a day.

Encounter at Seven Corners

Posted by: Patrick Stephenson under Transportation Updated: May 13, 2014 - 10:55 AM

I had an unpleasant encounter with a bus last night. While I was happily bicycling through Seven Corners, on a Nice Ride I’d pedaled over from downtown St. Paul, a Metro Transit bus caught up to me. Instead of waiting for me to pass his or her bus stop, he (I’ll assume from herein) drove right past me and squeezed me closer and closer to the sidewalk, forcing me to stop or collide with his bus’ dinosaur-sized body.

“Are you serious?!” I shouted, to no effect. Realizing the one person waiting at his stop wasn’t getting on, the bus driver proceeded to turn right, right in front of me, cutting me off in a second way. This happened fast and was, to some extent, scary.

Now, I hasten to write that my encounters with cars have been very good lately. I try as best as I can to work with traffic. To wait at red lights. To give space to cars turning right. To signal and move predictably. Most people respond to the confidence and ease I project (my opinion) on the road with friendliness. I’ve been riding with traffic for a long time and I’m comfortable with it. Every so often, though, you get a jerk. There are jerks everywhere and sometimes our paths intersect.

Maybe it was the rain yesterday, but this Metro Transit encounter was but one of three negative encounters with drivers. One of the drivers was distracted. One of them was just angry, speeding past me and my riding buddy at (estimate) 15MPH over the speed limit and then getting caught at a stop sign. We laughed at him.

Once I’d pedaled home, I tweeted about the bus incident, and a friend encouraged me to call Metro Transit to report the incident. The customer service guy to whom I spoke was friendly and receptive to my complaint. He thanked me for reporting what had happened — especially because the cut-off seemed deliberate — and as of this morning, I’m waiting to hear back from a supervisor.

 

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