London’s “bendy buses” are being decommissioned on the grounds that they’re dangerous and have encouraged fare dodging. These are now being sold off cheap, so Brighton and Hove Bus and Coach Company have trialled one on the 25 bus route to the Universities where the current bus service is at capacity. In our latest newsletter we look at the impact of these buses on cyclists on the Lewes Road.
Overtaking (or being overtaken by) ordinary buses can be a daunting and hazardous experience. How would we fare sharing space with these large articulated vehicles changing lanes at the Gyratory or being overtaken on the Lewes Road as the full length of the bus, plus wind shock, breezes past? in London, bendy buses are involved in more crashes with both cyclists and pedestrians than other types of bus. The introduction of bendy buses would create a significant new local hazard for us.
Expert opinion is that the movement of the two parts of the bendy bus while cornering (the design forces the middle of the bus out while the back end tucks in closer to the kerb), combined with blind spots in the bus drivers’ current rear view arrangements, do present a danger to cyclists. People can be caught out by the line taken by the back half of the bus. The moves that give concern are (1), the bus taking a tight left turn, and (2) the bus overtaking, pulling in and slowing (e.g. at a bus stop). This can result in the cyclist (or pedestrian) entering unseen space and being vulnerable to being hit by the rear section. Changes in road layout and cyclist / driver behaviour could reduce the incidence of this, but these buses are only really suitable for straight roads. If you are concerned please contact your Councillor or the Council’s Walking and Cycling Officer.