Who wants to drive a bus?

Who wants to drive a bus? As a cyclist, I know all too well how inattentive/impatient motorists and inattentive/impatient pedestrians behave on our streets. Bus drivers not only have to deal with that, but they also have to deal with timetables, dispatchers, fare-zones, overhead power lines, cash and of course passengers, some of whom… I’m glad I don’t have to deal with.

Bus drivers also have to deal with slow moving cyclists who often “ride in the middle of the road”, not to mention that some cyclists put themselves in the drivers’ blind spots and don’t follow the road rules (or common sense). On the other hand, as a cyclist, I have to deal with big, fast, heavy buses that sometimes don’t give enough room when they pass, and they’re always pulling across cycle lanes to make service stops.

It’s like a war out there!!! Except it’s not. Bus drivers and cyclists are both on the same side of the battle when it comes to safe, efficient and sustainable transportation. The real problem is not that we’re on different sides of the battle or that we’re somehow at odds with each other, the real problem is that bus drivers (mostly) don’t understand why cyclists do what cyclists do, and cyclists (mostly) don’t understand why bus drivers do what bus drivers do.

Bikes & Buses- together at last
Bikes & Buses- together at last.

Like most of the worlds’ greatest problems, the solution is largely a simple matter of facilitating dialogue and fostering understanding. And with that, I’ll introduce David Laing, who will be facilitating a Bus n’ Bike workshop:

Bus n’ Bike is a half-day facilitated road-safety workshop which gives participants a greater understanding of the issues that cyclists and bus drivers face every day.

The format is:

  1. Introductions and briefing.
  2. Cycle ride (around Kilbirnie/Miramar) – about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Opportunity for cyclists to drive a bus. This is done off the public highway – last time we used a car park off Evan’s Bay Parade.
  4. Facilitated discussion on what drivers learned about cycling, and cyclists learned about driving a bus.
  5. Conclusion and wrap-up.

The next workshop is scheduled for Thursday, 28 July, starting at 10am. David has a few more spaces available to cyclists. First come, first served. Email David to reserve a space – davidalaing@gmail.com – or if it fills up, you’ll be among the first to know about the next workshop.

Just in case anyone thinks that driving a bus is like driving a car, but bigger, be sure to watch this short TfL video –



All Aboard!
CAN's Patrick Morgan going into brain-overload -- steering an empty bus in an empty parking lot

So really, as cyclists we can learn a lot about sharing the road with buses by talking to bus drivers and spending a little bit of time in their drivers’ seat. Likewise, we can share our perspectives with bus drivers and show them what it’s like in the saddle and everyone wins. We have a lot to learn from each other. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Whether or not you plan to attend, be sure to read about the last
workshop – Bus Drivers & Bike Riders: New BFFs?


One thought on “Who wants to drive a bus?

  1. Bullitt

    I’m sure theres some great bus drivers out there but Wellington roads are far too narrow for them. I never feel safe with any bus around me which isnt the drivers fault.


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