Experiencing Conflicts with MTS Buses? You’re Not Alone

BikeSD board member Bruce Shank recently sent an email to city staff and District 3’s Todd Gloria describing an incident on Adams Avenue. The email and the response from the Gloria’s office are below.

Original email:

Subject: Bicycle Conflicts on Adams Ave
Date: 06/10/2013 11:56
From: Bruce Shank
To: Todd Gloria, Tom Landre, Ed Clancy
Cc: Sam Ollinger


Sunday afternoon while I and BikeSD Executive Director, Sam Ollinger, were riding our bicycles on Adams Ave we were nearly forced off the road by a MTS bus. The bus sped up, straddled the center turn lane to pass us, and then immediately cut us off pulling back to the right into a bus stop. His actions forced us to brake and swerve right to avoid a collision becoming pinched between the bus and parked cars. I filed a complaint online via the MTS website.

MTS Bus driven by a driver who didn't know how to share the road or pass safely on Adams Avenue that
MTS Bus driven by a driver who didn’t know how to share the road or pass safely on Adams Avenue.

We are not inexperienced or reckless bicycle riders. We were on an enjoyable Sunday afternoon ride from the Hillcrest Farmers Market to Broke Girls Coffee. Adams Ave is marked with sharrows which are supposed to direct vehicles to share the lane with bicycles. The driver should not have attempted to pass us if he was going to immediately pull into the bus stop. How should we expect regular everyday drivers to heed the meaning of sharrows if our own city buses are so blasé to the road markings?

The sharrows are poorly positioned on Adams Ave compared to where they are placed on Park Blvd, 30th, 6th, and other streets. The sharrows on Adams Ave are placed to the far right in the “door zone” of parked cars. A place on the road that is not safe for bicycles to be riding. Under the current configuration – without a protected or dedicated green lane – the sharrows at a minimum need to be repositioned to a prominent place in the middle of the travel lanes.

At BikeSD we strive for separated protected facilities that are extremely popular with the Dutch and an ever growing list of U.S. cities. They are proven to be safer and thus get more people and families on bicycles as they no longer have to fear the types of interactions from traffic like we experienced. If we are going to use sharrows as an intermediary solution to better dedicated bikeways they should be placed more prudently.

The city should also look into a Public Service Announcement campaign for sharrows and the rights that bicycle riders have to our streets in the absence of dedicated bicycle infrastructure. For idea starters I have attached several pictures; The San Diego MTS bus that nearly ran us off the road, a LA Metro bus for comparison, conceptual designs for dedicated bikeways, and in place dedicated bikeways that de-conflict bus stops.

Your efforts and work do not go unappreciated but we still have a long way to go to become a world class bike friendly city. The safety of vulnerable road users is high on all of our lists. We appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to working with you all as we continue to move forward.


Bruce Shank

L.A.’s Metro Buses




Gloria’s office responded as follows:

Subject: RE: Bicycle Conflicts on Adams Ave
Date: 06/10/2013 17:40
From: Adrian Granda
To: Bruce Shank
Cc: Todd Gloria

Dear Mr. Shank,

Thank you for approaching our office with your concern. We are constantly trying to improve the bike program and cyclist safety so that pedestrians, cyclists, and motor vehicles all feel safe throughout the City. I have forwarded your correspondence to my contacts at MTS to make sure MTS gets this report about the driver. We always seriously consider Bike SD’s input and we support green lanes and proper outreach so that San Diegans are aware of their purpose and function. The Council President is working hard both through SANDAG’s Bike Plan and the City’s Bike Master Plan to provide those biking in our cities with more options by implementing bike paths and corridors on more streets, in addition to enhancing the current bike lanes by making them more visible and wider when appropriate.

Thank you again for you input.


Adrian Granda