In Windsor, Ont., bus drivers might be about to get a crash course—to use what may be an unfortunate turn of phrase—involving how to ride on streets shared with cyclists, if local bike advocates have their way.
The news follows video footage of a close call between a Transit Windsor bus and a local rider, much of which was captured on video.
According to Windsor rider Rob Thibert—who captured the incident with the aid of his helmet camera—the bus narrowly missed him while he was cycling on Wyandotte Avenue recently, having passed close enough to give the experienced cyclist a considerable scare. “I froze for a moment,” Thibert told the CBC. “I just tried not to move too far either way.”
“It was pretty scary.”
Just as frightening, no doubt, is the fact that Thibert’s recent near-miss wasn’t his first such buzzing on the streets of Windsor, although it undoubtedly involved far more weight and momentum than usual. Catching up with the bus at a stop sign, he was told by the driver—in a discussion also caught on video—that the legal Ontario requirement to give cyclists a metre’s clearance was, alarmingly, news. Among drivers operating vehicles far lighter than a bus, that lack of awareness, according both to Thibert’s own testimony and that of his camera, is something of a commonality.
Doing something about that dangerous ignorance is what advocates with Bike Windsor-Essex hope to achieve with an invitation extended to bus drivers to participate in a bike ride, giving them a handlebar-level view of what being a cyclist in Windsor really means.
“When I saw the bus go by,” said Lori Newton of Bike Windsor-Essex in conversation with the CBC, describing watching Thibert’s video, “I could certainly feel what that cyclist had experienced at that moment. It’s awful.” She is, however, ready to admit that bus drivers in the Ontario city likely have no idea what it’s like to ride on the city’s streets—hence the invitation, she told CBC reporters.
And if that’s the case, educating them is paramount.
“Bus drivers have to know how absolutely terrifying it is to be passed by a speeding bus, inches from your handlebars,” the Bike Windsor-Essex executive director said. “Maybe they really have no idea what that must feel like.”