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passing school buses

Old 03-23-22, 06:50 AM
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rumrunn6
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passing school buses

I think I may have passed a school bus on the right after all the kids got on & the doors were shut, some years ago. I know this is a car story but we sometimes forget as cyclist, not to pass a stopped school bus, especially on the right. the driver says the lights were flashing & the stop sign was deployed but they aren't visible in the video clip. regardless, a good reminder to stay clear of school buses in general

Caught on Camera: Driver Flies by Stopped School Bus in Maine
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Old 03-23-22, 12:31 PM
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Crap, that's scary! But unfortunately that kind of situation un-awareness doesn't surprise me anymore. Thank goodness the outcome wasn't a tragedy!
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Old 03-23-22, 12:38 PM
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So what is it about a stop sign that drivers don't understand? Wasn't stop signs on school buses taught in driving school? At least I remember that from my lessons in the 1970s.

As for cyclists, those who routinely run stop signs and red lights just made it part of their routine. So a stop sign on a bus won't trigger any different reflexes.
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Old 03-23-22, 12:40 PM
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I ride my bike like a car, I stop for loading/unloading school buses, I stop for stop lights and I pull off the road for emergency vehicles. But I do illegally practice the Idaho Stop at stop signs...no one is perfect
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Old 03-23-22, 01:21 PM
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If there is room to pass on the right I always stick my head out of the door and look back when I am exiting a public bus. I am have seen cyclists nearly hit exiting passengers too many times not to. That is also why I never pass a public transit vehicle pulling up to or at a bus stop. I will never pass a school bus that has its lights flashing. If it's just stopped I will proceed with extreme caution. I don't want to hurt anyone, including myself.
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Old 03-23-22, 06:19 PM
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Canadian school bus with two meter arm

Saw this today, a stop 🛑 sign on a two meter arm.
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Old 03-23-22, 07:31 PM
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True fact.

In Massachusetts, people on bikes don’t have to stop for stopped school busses.

People on school busses don’t know this.

I always stop.

-mr. bill
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Old 03-23-22, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
True fact.

In Massachusetts, people on bikes donít have to stop for stopped school busses.

People on school busses donít know this.

I always stop.

-mr. bill

I live in MA and have never heard that. Can you point me to the rule that says this. I am not looking at the law that says motor-vehicle I want the one that say bicycles. Also if you have an ebike does that now make you a motor-vehicle?
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Old 03-23-22, 08:28 PM
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M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 14

-mr. bill
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Old 03-23-22, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 14

-mr. bill
Thanks for posting.

Unless I see wording to the effect bicycles are excluded from stopping I am not going to get into a word battle with a cop or the court system. I also think if you tried to argue this you would lose but I’m not a lawyer so what do I know.
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Old 03-23-22, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Thanks for posting.

Unless I see wording to the effect bicycles are excluded from stopping I am not going to get into a word battle with a cop or the court system. I also think if you tried to argue this you would lose but Iím not a lawyer so what do I know.
If a runner were to keep running after a school bus has deployed the sign, would that change anything in that reference?
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Old 03-24-22, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 14

-mr. bill
Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
Thanks for posting.

Unless I see wording to the effect bicycles are excluded from stopping I am not going to get into a word battle with a cop or the court system. I also think if you tried to argue this you would lose but I’m not a lawyer so what do I know.

I am a lawyer, the rule is restricted to "motor vehicles" and "trackless trolleys". In court, that would be a slam dunk, but yes you would probably get into a word battle with the cop. I'm with both of you on this in that I wouldn't proceed past a flagged school bus on a bicycle because I think that exception is stupid and unsafe for me and the kids (not necessarily in that priority).

I am still trying to work out how a "trackless trolley", which is Massachusetts English for electric buses with overhead trolleys, is not a motor vehicle. It's definitely a vehicle with a motor in it, and buses are defined as motor vehicles by statute. I'm not really concerned with that, though, I just think it's funny.

ETA--I think I just figured it out, looking at the definition of "motor vehicles", which specifically excludes "trackless trolleys". They wanted to make it so that rules that required lane changes and the like, which a trolley vehicle cannot perform without losing the connection to the power source, would not apply to trolley vehicles.

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Old 03-24-22, 08:03 AM
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And from another lawyer, who practices law in Massachusetts, specializing in bike law:

Vehicles vrs motor vehicles in Massachusetts

p.s. If you follow the link on “this question” it’s about stopping for school buses. He might be a little glib in his answer, but otherwise spot on.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 03-24-22 at 02:03 PM. Reason: I am not a lawyer. Never said I was a lawyer. Livedarklions is a lawyer. So too is Josh Zisson
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Old 03-24-22, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
... I'm with both of you on this in that I wouldn't proceed past a flagged school bus on a bicycle because I think that exception is stupid and unsafe for me and the kids (not necessarily in that priority).


....
Not only that, but isn't the duty of care to avoid a collision a responsibility of the cyclist who decides to ride through even though that part of the law doesn't mention bicycles?
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Old 03-24-22, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I am a lawyer, the rule is restricted to "motor vehicles" and "trackless trolleys". In court, that would be a slam dunk, but yes you would probably get into a word battle with the cop. I'm with both of you on this in that I wouldn't proceed past a flagged school bus on a bicycle because I think that exception is stupid and unsafe for me and the kids (not necessarily in that priority).

I am still trying to work out how a "trackless trolley", which is Massachusetts English for electric buses with overhead trolleys, is not a motor vehicle. It's definitely a vehicle with a motor in it, and buses are defined as motor vehicles by statute. I'm not really concerned with that, though, I just think it's funny.

ETA--I think I just figured it out, looking at the definition of "motor vehicles", which specifically excludes "trackless trolleys". They wanted to make it so that rules that required lane changes and the like, which a trolley vehicle cannot perform without losing the connection to the power source, would not apply to trolley vehicles.
Another lawyer here. I was a legislative drafting attorney for 15 years. Good lord, this is an absolute disaster of a statute.
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Old 03-24-22, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Not only that, but isn't the duty of care to avoid a collision a responsibility of the cyclist who decides to ride through even though that part of the law doesn't mention bicycles?

Probably, but that would be a less clear question.
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Old 03-24-22, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Another lawyer here. I was a legislative drafting attorney for 15 years. Good lord, this is an absolute disaster of a statute.
Yup. And yet it works.

p.s. We are a FRAP-free state. I'd rather our poorly drafted laws than your well crafted FRAP.

-mr. bill
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Old 03-24-22, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Another lawyer here. I was a legislative drafting attorney for 15 years. Good lord, this is an absolute disaster of a statute.
Yes, really hard to believe this exception was intentional.

I live in NH. NH RSA 265:54applies the school bus rule to "drivers of vehicles", and "vehicles". "Vehicles" in NH includes bicycles, so this exception doesn't apply..
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Old 03-24-22, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Yes, really hard to believe this exception was intentional.

I live in NH. NH RSA 265:54applies the school bus rule to "drivers of vehicles", and "vehicles". "Vehicles" in NH includes bicycles, so this exception doesn't apply..
Legislative history says the exception carve outs were intentional.

For example, a proposed bill, again, this year:

"In passing a vulnerable user the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet when the motor vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less, with 1 additional foot of clearance for every 10 miles per hour that the vehicle is traveling above 30 miles per hour."

(And even here, the drafting geeks could whine, with justification, about the parallel construction of the clause and the missing third "motor.")

Another bill deals with e-bikes. (Currently, e-bikes are in a legislative vacuum in Massachusetts. Like a person riding a bicycle in a crosswalk, they don't exist in this commonwealth's laws.)


Not that it matters, again.

All these bills went to a virtual death in the Committee on Transportation A YEAR AGO, and in the unlikely event that they make it out of transportation next WEEK (they haven't even been scheduled for a hearing in the Committee), they don't have time to make it through Ways and Means, let alone reach the floor, before the legislative session ends.

Again.

This is part of the reason why bills to rewrite "poorly drafted" but functional laws NEVER go anywhere. Real work isn't getting done, so wonking out about style points is absolutely going no where.

-mr. bill
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Old 03-24-22, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Yup. And yet it works.

p.s. We are a FRAP-free state. I'd rather our poorly drafted laws than your well crafted FRAP.

-mr. bill
Is that the only two choices? Sorry, but M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 14 specifically is a drafting nightmare. It's a big block of text,jumping from subject to subject, I ride a lot in MA. I have no basic complaints about the contents of the laws and the lack of a FRAP rule is alright by me. But I certainly can't defend a statute looking like this. I mean, no numbering of clearly separate provisions just jumbles the whole thing together for no good end. Since some of the provisions apply to "motor vehicles" and others to "vehicles", jumbling them into one crazy paragraph is bound to lead to confusion. The school bus provision refers to the operator of a motor vehicle and then refers to "his vehicle" in the same paragraph with provisions that clearly use the term "vehicle" to apply to bicycles, for example. Anyway, this is what the thing looks like:

Section 14: Precautions for safety of other travelers
Section 14. Every person operating a motor vehicle shall bring the vehicle and the motor propelling it immediately to a stop when approaching a cow, horse or other draft animal being led, ridden or driven, if such animal appears to be frightened and if the person in charge thereof shall signal so to do; and, if traveling in the opposite direction to that in which such animal is proceeding, said vehicle shall remain stationary so long as may be reasonable to allow such animal to pass; or, if traveling in the same direction, the person operating shall use reasonable caution in thereafter passing such animal. In approaching or passing a person on a bicycle the operator of a motor vehicle shall slow down and pass at a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed. In approaching or passing a car of a street railway which has been stopped to allow passengers to alight from or board the same, the person operating a motor vehicle shall not drive such vehicle within eight feet of the running board or lowest step of the car then in use by passengers for the purpose of alighting or boarding, except by the express direction of a traffic officer or except at points where passengers are protected by safety zones. When approaching a vehicle which displays a sign bearing the words ''SCHOOL BUS'' and which is equipped with front and rear alternating flashing red signal lamps which are flashing, as provided in section seven B, and which has been stopped to allow pupils to alight from or board the same, a person operating a motor vehicle or trackless trolley shall, except when approaching from the opposite direction on a divided highway, bring his vehicle or trackless trolley to a full stop before reaching said school bus and shall not thereafter proceed until the warning signals are deactivated, unless directed to the contrary by a police officer duly authorized to control the movement of traffic. Any person who violates the preceding sentence shall be punished by a fine of not less than $250; and for a second offense by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000; and for a third or subsequent offense by a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $2,000. A second conviction or third or subsequent conviction as set forth in the preceding sentence shall be reported forthwith by the court or magistrate to the registrar who shall revoke immediately the license or right to operate of the person so convicted and no appeal, motion for a new trial or exceptions, shall operate to stay the revocation of the license or right to operate; provided, however, that no license or right to operate shall be issued by the registrar to any person convicted of a second such offense until 6 months after the date of revocation following said conviction or to any person convicted of a third or subsequent such offense until 1 year after the date of revocation following said conviction; and provided, further, that if the prosecution against such person has terminated in his favor the registrar shall forthwith reinstate his license or right to operate. No person shall operate a motor vehicle within a distance of 100 feet behind a school bus. Every school bus shall have the words ''keep back 100 feet'' prominently displayed on the back of the bus, in type large and dark enough so that the words are legible at a distance of 100 feet. Upon approaching a pedestrian who is upon the traveled part of any way and not upon a sidewalk, every person operating a motor vehicle shall slow down. The person operating a motor vehicle on any way or a curve or a corner in said way where his view is obstructed shall slow down and keep to the right and upon approaching any junction of said way with an intersecting way shall, before entering the same, slow down and keep to the right of the center line. When turning to the right, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic nearest to the right-hand side of the roadway and as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway. No person operating a vehicle that overtakes and passes a bicyclist proceeding in the same direction shall make a right turn at an intersection or driveway unless the turn can be made at a safe distance from the bicyclist at a speed that is reasonable and proper. When approaching for a left turn on a two-way street, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic to the right of and nearest to the center line of the roadway and the left turn shall be made by passing to the right of the center line of the entering way where it enters the intersection from his left. When turning to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road or driveway an operator shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, including a bicycle on the right of the other approaching vehicles, which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard. It shall not be a defense for a motorist causing an accident with a bicycle that the bicycle was to the right of vehicular traffic. When approaching for a left turn on a one-way street, an operator shall do so in the lane of traffic nearest to the left-hand side of the roadway and as close as practicable to the left-hand curb or edge of roadway. No person shall open a door on a motor vehicle unless it is reasonably safe to do so without interfering with the movement of other traffic, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Whoever violates the preceding sentence shall be punished by a fine of not more than $100.


The department, on ways within their control and at the intersection of state highways, and other ways, the metropolitan district commission, on ways within their control and at the intersection of metropolitan district commission roadways, except state highways, and other ways, the traffic and parking commission of the city of Boston, the traffic commission or traffic director of any city or town having such a commission or director with authority to promulgate traffic rules, the city council of any other city, and the board of selectmen of any other town may provide for the placing of traffic control devices in accordance with department standards to indicate the course to be traveled by vehicles turning at such intersections. Such course may be other than as is prescribed by the requirements for lane usage set forth in this section.

Such regulations and devices shall be, so far as applicable, subject to the provisions of section two of chapter eighty-five.
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Old 03-24-22, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Legislative history says the exception carve outs were intentional.

For example, a proposed bill, again, this year:

"In passing a vulnerable user the operator of a motor vehicle shall pass at a safe distance of not less than 3 feet when the motor vehicle is traveling at 30 miles per hour or less, with 1 additional foot of clearance for every 10 miles per hour that the vehicle is traveling above 30 miles per hour."

(And even here, the drafting geeks could whine, with justification, about the parallel construction of the clause and the missing third "motor.")

Another bill deals with e-bikes. (Currently, e-bikes are in a legislative vacuum in Massachusetts. Like a person riding a bicycle in a crosswalk, they don't exist in this commonwealth's laws.)


Not that it matters, again.

All these bills went to a virtual death in the Committee on Transportation A YEAR AGO, and in the unlikely event that they make it out of transportation next WEEK (they haven't even been scheduled for a hearing in the Committee), they don't have time to make it through Ways and Means, let alone reach the floor, before the legislative session ends.

Again.

This is part of the reason why bills to rewrite "poorly drafted" but functional laws NEVER go anywhere. Real work isn't getting done, so wonking out about style points is absolutely going no where.

-mr. bill

The plain text suggests that the carve-out was intentional. The lack of any reasonable justification for that particular carve-out would warrant some pretty specific evidence that the legislature "meant to do that" for that particular provision, but that's a literary question rather than a legal one as the plain meaning of the provision would trump any legislative lack of intent argument in court. I was surprised by the exception you noted--it certainly seems counter-intuitive and lacks the general solicitousness traffic codes generally have for the safety of children.

I don't think noting that's an exceptionally weirdly laid-out statute constitutes wonking out, and if you're feeling like your state is being attacked, heck no. I choose to do a lot of riding there. I'll defer to you on what your state's legislature should be spending its time on. Mostly, I just think that statute is very funny-looking.

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Old 03-24-22, 11:32 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Is that the only two choices? Sorry, but M.G.L. Chapter 90 Section 14 specifically is a drafting nightmare. It's a big block of text,jumping from subject to subject, I ride a lot in MA. I have no basic complaints about the contents of the laws and the lack of a FRAP rule is alright by me. But I certainly can't defend a statute looking like this. I mean, no numbering of clearly separate provisions just jumbles the whole thing together for no good end. Since some of the provisions apply to "motor vehicles" and others to "vehicles", jumbling them into one crazy paragraph is bound to lead to confusion. The school bus provision refers to the operator of a motor vehicle and then refers to "his vehicle" in the same paragraph with provisions that clearly use the term "vehicle" to apply to bicycles, for example. Anyway, this is what the thing looks like:

[Hell section elided for clarity]
While it seems like we should have a legislature that could walk and chew gum at the same time, we are faced with the true dichotomy.

We can EITHER redraft a section. OR we can add substantive changes to a section. We can't do both at at the same time. (In fact, anyone who attempts both in one bill gets their hand slapped by the process.)

-mr. bill
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Old 03-24-22, 11:34 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
So what is it about a stop sign that drivers don't understand? Wasn't stop signs on school buses taught in driving school? At least I remember that from my lessons in the 1970s.
The stop signs on school busses are usually on the left side. She passed on the right. In the brain of a 19 year old girl driving the Audi mommy and daddy got her for her 16th birthday, that probably meant it was okay.
(Sorry for the generalization, but I'm old and can get away with it. P.S.: stay off my lawn.)
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Old 03-24-22, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
The plain text suggests that the carve-out was intentional. The lack of any reasonable justification for that particular carve-out would warrant some pretty specific evidence that the legislature "meant to do that." I was surprised by the exception you noted--it certainly seems counter-intuitive and the general solicitousness traffic codes generally have for the safety of children.

I don't think noting that's an exceptionally weirdly laid-out statute constitutes wonking out, and if you're feeling like your state is being attacked, heck no. I choose to do a lot of riding there.
No worries, the way the law is written is a legitimate wart to point out. But taken as a whole, it's a nice toad.

They considered people on bicycles not a problem in this case, *AND* they didn't want for school children riding their bikes on the sidewalk to need to stop riding for the stopped bus.

-mr. bill
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Old 03-24-22, 11:41 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
While it seems like we should have a legislature that could walk and chew gum at the same time, we are faced with the true dichotomy.

We can EITHER redraft a section. OR we can add substantive changes to a section. We can't do both at at the same time. (In fact, anyone who attempts both in one bill gets their hand slapped by the process.)

-mr. bill
How about just keeping all the text the same, and just setting the provisions into letter enumerated subsections? You could even keep the crazy sequencing.
2 minutes on a word processor.

But yeah, legislatures are crazy that way. Again, I defer to your sense of priorities for your state.
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