Elbow wars with Translink.

At the end of this post, I mentioned getting hit by a public transit bus, then left it at that. Cliffhanger ending!

This is the post where I recount the day a Translink bus tried to merge into me.

I was riding my bicycle southbound in the right lane of Main Street. Right after crossing National Ave, the last intersection before the SkyTrain station, I prepared to move into the middle lane to get past the line-up of buses in front of the station. I looked over my left shoulder to make sure all was clear to move from the right side of the lane into the middle. Once I was in the middle of the right lane, I did another shoulder check; at that very moment, the side of a city bus pressed up against me. My elbow and the end of my handlebar got caught on the rear bus door. While still upright on my bike, the bus dragged me a few metres until I broke free and coasted to the side of the road.

Google street view of the street mentioned in my post. The green line shows my path while the blue shows which lane the bus was in.
My path is in green, while the bus’ path is the blue line parallel to the green line.

I dismounted and pulled my bike up onto the sidewalk. WHAT THE FUCK. Did this really just happen? Not only did a Vancouver public transit bus merge into me, but also I did not lose my balance and turn into a human speed bump! I had been too bewildered at that moment to panic. The bus slowed to a stop as it pulled up into the loading area ahead.

Walking my bike, I approached the bus, which was now waiting at the loading area, to see whether the driver realized what they had done. Did they know how unlucky/lucky I just got?

When the driver came into view through the open bus door, he stood up and appeared to start shouting at me. Well, that answers my question: he knew. In this scenario, the other person normally starts shouting back. I know because I’ve seen this happen in the movies. This time, the other person (me) stayed silent and threw their hands up part-way. Only part-way as to express my disgust without seeming like I was welcoming an altercation.

Then I walked away with my bike. The driver must’ve thought I was high.

I continued home on foot, rolling my bike at my side. The walk did the opposite of calm me down: I replayed the incident in my head over and over. Was it possible I was at fault? No. You do not merge until it is safe to do so. I was preparing to change lanes, but I was still in the right lane.

First, I made a stop at my place of work, told a friend who was there what had just happened. They helped out by calling the cops so that I could file a report.

A few days later, Translink got in touch with me via email. They reviewed one of the cameras onboard and determined that I was at fault.

I asked to see the footage. They refused to release it, for privacy reasons.

Even if it were my fault, where was the compassion? Both from the driver and from the person who had sent me the email? I was not a human: I was a nuisance that had gotten in the way.

I could have persisted and gotten Translink to admit that they were in the wrong, but this was the injury I suffered:

Close-up of Laura's elbow. Minor bruising and scrapes are visible right above the elbow.

That’s it.

I was already more emotionally disturbed about the incident. To fight for my right to say I was in the right would have been draining. It was me versus Translink. And, fuck, even after all that I WOULD STILL NEED TO RIDE ON ONE OF THOSE BUSES.

Yes, some cyclists are reckless assholes, but we’re still humans. Threatening a person who chooses to travel by bike is not an appropriate way to relieve your impatience.


4 thoughts on “Elbow wars with Translink.

    1. I thought it was bs too. I don’t think it would’ve been possible to get a clear footage of what happened outside of the bus from one of the on-board cameras, which are meant to protect passengers.


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