Sunday, May 14, 2017

Amazing Bike Race

Sometimes, people really need to be somewhere. There was one young fellow on a bicycle who had missed the last stop I had serviced, but I soon found out how desperate he was to catch my bus.

There was already one bike on the rack, as Zippity Zane pedaled away hell bent for leather alongside my lumbering beast. The next stop was on the far side of the intersection I had stopped on the red for. Zane sped up to the corner and frantically waved at me. Up at the stop stood a man with his own bicycle. Ruh roh. Only room for two bikes on the rack. This was shaping up to be a showdown.

Zane pleaded with me to allow him to put his bike on the rack as I waited for the green. A moral dilemma for a bus driver? Not really. I don't board passengers unless I'm at a bus stop, especially when they have a bike to load. Besides, it's not safe to load a bike at a red light. I shook my head no at Zane, who dropped chin to chest, defeated. At first, I thought Zane would race up to the stop and compete for the bike rack with the passenger who was already waiting for my bus to arrive. To his credit, Zane rolled up just past the man at the stop, turned and watched to see if the other cyclist would get off the bus. He never said a word to the man who loaded his bike in the second spot. Then, Zane sped off ahead.

Zane rolled along, ahead and behind my bus for another mile. I was hoping my other cyclist would exit because I started feeling sorry for this kid. He was really working hard to keep within striking distance. He beat me to a transit center and was waiting as I rolled up. His face was a mixture of dread and expectation. But alas, the bike rack remained full as I finished servicing the stop. He bowed his head again, and I gave him a look of sympathy. He shrugged his shoulders and smiled at me, saying "Oh well." I waved and mouthed "I'm sorry" at him. He just smiled and waved back.

Considering I've seen people actually push and shove to get that coveted bike rack spot, this kid was polite, persistent and patient. It looked like he was about 16, and raised by parents who taught him manners and humility. Except for the part where he asked if he could board before I made the stop, I think he was pretty cool about it. He seemed to realize this was a rude move as soon as he asked.

I wish many of those who are his age were more like him. Most of them won't even look at me as they board. People like Zane make me want to bend the rules sometimes. This wasn't possible however, on a busy rush hour run. Plus, it would have been rude for me to do so, considering the man ahead was already at the stop.

Kudos to Zane, for obeying the unspoken rules of decency in transit. There are people who could learn a lesson or two from this young gentleman.

6 comments:

  1. Las Vegas and a few other cities has 3 spot bike racks. I don't understand why Portland doesn't have them. I had a 3rd bike the other day, but since I wasn't crowded I allowed her to ride in the back.

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    1. Most likely because Portland streets are notoriously narrow, and having an extra bike would make some turns nearly impossible. Thanks for reading!

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    2. I asked once why we couldn't use the 3-bike racks that Canby Transit offers. I was told that the triples require riders to stand in the left-side traffic lane to load and unload. Clearly not a good idea.

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  2. Them're the breaks, brother. For many years, off and on, I spoke aloud, "Third cyclist," hoping, as you did, at least one of the first two would volunteer for a compromise with the third. Alas, in this day and age, the rudeness of headphones overcomes any sense of empathetic awareness of others. It's sad, really.

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    1. In this case, I had two bikes on the rack for a few miles. Poor Zane didn't have a chance. Hopefully the next bus was able to accommodate him.

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  3. Our policy is to allow the third bike inside if there is room.
    My policy - if there is room for 4 strollers, a scooter, a wheelchair, a 40" TV and a potted plant��? There is always room for a third bike!

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