Whenever an accident happens involving Bus and pedestrian/two wheeler, bus driver is always booked for rash driving and pedestrian/two wheeler driver (if they survive!) are often let free. In this post I urge you to understand the difficulties of a bus driver and give the big vehicle some respect and consideration on the road.
No bus driver goes to depo in the morning thinking “Let me crush a bike today”. Accidents do happen and we need to assess what went wrong. Most of the time, knowing how pedestrians and bikers behave, I don’t think drivers are always to blame.
A bus being a big vehicle, needs to space while negotiating turns. But two wheeler riders often squeeze their bikes in whatever space available, making the turn near impossible for the driver. If the driver waits for one bike to pass, another bike will take its place, so he is forced to negotiate the turn/move whenever he gets the chance.
Pedestrians are supposed to follow certain rules- cross the road only at Zeebra crossing, use foot over bridge, not to jump over medians etc. But many of us do not follow these rules and we cross the road in between the traffic, risking ourselves, in the interest of saving some time and efforts. In other countries people cross only at designated places- drivers can slowdown at these intersections and drive freely on rest of the distance.
We may have some urgency, but so do busdrivers. He is ferrying 60+ people, whose combined urgency should be greater than the bikers. Busdriversneed to complete the trip within the stipulated time and can’t afford to wait as every small vehicle tries to take priority. Drivers are also under constant stress of hectic schedules, low pay, increasing traffics, poorly maintained buses…
We’ve developed this bad habit of thrashing the driver and damaging the bus soon after an accident. This public attitude and tendency forces driversto flee for his life after an accident, even if he is confident it was not his fault. No one will be willing to listen to his story at the accident spot and once he flees, it is easy for police to book him under various sections. We never thank a driver for dropping us safely every day. What right do we have to beat him up if hisbus hits a bike by mistake?
There has tobe some space between two vehicles for safe riding, but in bumper to bumper traffic, this space is getting to near zero and even a minor move can result in hitting someone left, right, front or back. Other road users are equally responsible for maintaining this safe distance.
Below picture tells you the difference in size of a Venture Minivan and Volvo Multiaxle bus (B9R)
There are some rogue busdrivers around, who do rash driving, but I suggest we don’t generalize this into whole community of busdrivers.
Private busdrivers in Coastal Karnataka are under even greater stress, as the time gap between two buses on a route is very less and if they delay, they might get overtaken by next bus and subsequently will lose passengers and revenue at subsequent bus stops.
Next time you see a big bus on your way and get a temptation to squeeze around, do give it a consideration in your own safety.