So this morning, I’m cycling to work, annoyed that my cadence sensor is not functioning for a still to-be-determined reason, and I’ve just climbed the Argonne Ave hill and entered the Pembrooke subdivision (combination of apartments and row-homes) in Sterling. I’m winded, and there’s a handicapped school bus stopped in front of one of the row-homes on the opposite side of the “street”. I’ve seen this bus multiple times, and it is often just sitting there, waiting for the individual inside to exit the residence, at which time (I assume) the lights go a-flashin’. This is effectively a parking lot, rather than a “road”, as there is perpendicular parking along the entire length of N. Duke Dr. As I closely approach, this dude deploys the light and stop sign. I’M ALREADY PAST THE FRONT OF THE BUS when this occurs! I proceed. Driver gets twisted, blows his horn, and points to the “stop” sign on the side of his bus. Uh… Ok. I continue. I’m 30’ or more beyond the rear of the bus when I hear a man shout “THE RULES OF THE ROAD APPLY TO YOU TOO!”
I’m keenly aware of this. I saw no yellow lights - the bus was sitting there stopped long before I attempted to pass through. He only decided to deploy the red lights and stop sign once he saw me - this was a set up to harrass me. What would a car have done in the same situation - having already proceeded past the front bumper of the bus before the stop sign came out? (Yeah, exactly, they’d have been past LONG before the sign was fully deployed! - This only became an issue b/c I was slow!)
I spun the bike around and returned to the driver who was still outside the bus. I wanted to talk to him about the fact that he was stopped w/o lights when I proceeded and that stopping for a school bus only applies to motor vehicles (which I’m not!). He, on the other hand, was looking for an opportunity to vent. Ah. Well. This is now pointless. I asked him if he felt better after he released some steam. He asked me if I felt better for having run a stop sign.
I turned around and continued on my way to work. Upon arriving, I looked up the section of Virginia Code pertaining to school busses and stopping requirements. I won’t quote it all here, but, I think that the first sentence is pretty clear!
§ 46.2-859. Passing a stopped school bus; prima facie evidence.
A person driving a motor vehicle shall stop such vehicle when approaching, from any direction, any school bus which is stopped on any highway, private road or school driveway for the purpose of taking on or discharging children, the elderly, or mentally or physically handicapped persons, and shall remain stopped until all the persons are clear of the highway, private road or school driveway and the bus is put in motion; any person violating the foregoing is guilty of reckless driving.
It is clear to me that this doesn’t apply to pedestrians, bicyclists, skateboarders, rollerbladers, or non-electric wheelchairs. A segway or a rascal… yeah, you’re in violation.
Consequently, I sent the following message off to Loudoun County Public School’s “Comments/Concerns/General Inquiries” form (Concern Registry):
Bicycling in opposite direction past stopped bus with lights flashing / sign deployed. Driver blew horn and pointed to stop sign as I passed. He then jumped out of the bus to yell at me "the rules of the road apply to you too." I turned around to the bus driver for clarification on § 46.2-859, at which point he continued to confront me.
I feel that this is a training opportunity for both of us.
I would like clarification on § 46.2-859, which claims to apply to motor vehicles only - not bicyclists or pedestrians. I have stopped for stopped buses previously, only to be waived through by the driver(s). I thought that this practice, coupled with § 46.2-859 written to motor vehicles, gave the green light to cautiously pedaling by.
I have a good relationship with the many bus drivers and crossing guards I encounter on my daily commute from Sterling to Reston. I was surprised to have the horn blown at me (with the pointing to the stop sign). I was beyond shocked that he exited the vehicle to verbally, and hostilely, engage me. Is this what you train your drivers to do? This - is not a good idea.
Thank you for your time and clarification. I certainly appreciate it.
We’ll see what comes of this. (Will update this post w/ any response from LCPS).
Edit 4/1 3:PM
Turns out I'm wrong: VA Code § 46.2-800. Riding bicycles, electric personal assistive mobility devices, electric power-assisted bicycles, or mopeds; riding or driving animals.
Every person riding a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device, electric power-assisted bicycle, moped, or an animal or driving an animal on a highway shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle, unless the context of the provision clearly indicates otherwise.
Still - we'll wait to see what LCPS says.