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BikeLife Seattle 21 A bus drivers perspectiveShare the Road I n the last edition of Bike- Life Seattle we interviewed Warren Aakervik the retired owner of Ballard Oil on what it is like to drive large trucks near people bicycling. The article was a hit so this time were engaging an experienced Metro driver on what it is like to drive a bus on Seattle streets. If you read the last article you wont be surprised by what we learnedpredictability is key Monica DeWald from the Seattle Department of Transportation SDOT interviewed Gerald Freeman a 21-year employee of King County Metro about buses and bicycles traveling in harmony. MONICA What is it like to drive a bus around Seattle particularly around people biking GERALD Driving a bus is chal- lenging work. You have to make sure your passengers are comfort- able and safe follow the rules of the road and be alert for changing surroundings. If a person bicy- cling sneaks up on the side of a bus or suddenly moves in front of one it places everybody at risk. MONICA What precautions do you take when driving near people riding bikes GERALD Buses are large and hard to see around. If someone is crossing the street in front of the bus while Im stopped Ill signal to them if it is unsafe. I can use my mirrors to see if vehicles are moving and potentially passing in the other lane. Otherwise if peo- ple follow the rules of the road buses and bikes can co-exist just fine. Id prefer people not try and pass a bus at transit stops. It is too hard for them to know when passen- gers have finished boarding and the bus is preparing to pull out. As mentioned before sneaking up on the side of a bus is not safe due to visibility challenges. MONICA People are often nervous the first time they use the bike rack on the bus any advice for them GERALD The bike rack is your friend. Dont be nervous. If you are unsure do not hesitate to look at the driver and ask for help. We dont mind. Like you we want you to successfully load and unload your bike while we get people to their destinations.