MassBike Participates In T’s New Bus Driver Training

MassBike, along with other transportation advocates, has been working closely with the MBTA to revise their bus driver training to better prepare drivers for interactions with bicyclists, and earlier this week, MassBike Executive Director David Watson participated in the first of these trainings. We are happy to report that the new training is a vast improvement over past policies and should go a long way to making bicyclists safer on the roads.

You may remember our earlier post about MassBike’s collaboration with the T and other advocates (including LivableStreets Alliance, Boston Cyclists’ Union, and representatives of the cities of Boston and Cambridge) to improve the training. The result of our efforts is a full day training and evaluation that thoroughly covers bus driver-bicyclist interactions and safety. During the training, a bus driver will review past incidents, participate in a classroom session with a bicycling advocate present to answer questions, go through a number of bicyclist-driver simulations, and finally be tested through road evaluations. The end result should be a bus driver who is knowledgeable and well-prepared for operating a bus safely around bicyclists.

The T not only worked with local advocates, but talked with other transit agencies about best practices, and borrowed some very helpful materials. Included in the training is this excellent video from Chicago – we encourage every bicyclist to watch it for important tips on riding around buses (and to understand the bus driver’s perspective).

Share the Road – Buses and Bicycles from Chicago Bicycle Program on Vimeo.

The MBTA has committed itself to putting all drivers who have incidents with bicyclists through the course. More than that, over the next 18 months every bus driver will receive a shorter version of this training as part of a new re-certification process.

While not perfect, the new training goes a long way to improving the relationship between bicyclists and buses. We at MassBike are pleased that the T has taken these steps to ensure that bicyclists and bus drivers can share the road safely. We look forward to continue to working with the T towards safer roads for all road users.

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5 Responses to MassBike Participates In T’s New Bus Driver Training

  1. matt November 12, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    hallelujah. buses still scare me more than any motor vehicle aside from contractors’ pickup trucks. glad to hear about the progress!

  2. Jean Monroe November 12, 2010 at 5:51 pm #

    I have had good experiences riding around MBTA buses (I’d rather deal with a bus than a taxi!), but I understand that not everyone has. This sounds like a great program. Go MassBike! –JKM

  3. Lucas November 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm #

    I recently filed a complaint with an MBTA station manager regarding a close call I had with a driver while cycling. Within a week or so I was personally contacted by this station manager informing me that he would be assigning the driver of that bus to rigorous training regarding safety and interaction with cyclists on the road. I was very encouraged that my feedback was met with action and have heard of similar responses to other cyclist complaints. Please remember to communicate your concerns with the MBTA and other related parties. The voice of those who are involved is a stimulus for change.

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