Common Commuting Dilemma

Overtake the bus at the bus stop and be passed dangerously closely by it later and end up in a leapfrogging sequence of the latter two events (unless you’re lucky enough to encounter one of those patient drivers who doesn’t mind cruising behind you at 25 km/h), or (if the bus is not stopping for long) slow down and wait for it to move ahead of you, thus possibly (if you have a consistent strategy) putting yourself in the way of its farts for the next N bus stops on that road?

Usually I do the former. Today, having told myself beforehand that I would try to go for a more relaxed commute and not push myself so hard, I tried the latter strategy on my way home and was not terribly pleased with the outcome. The thought of it still makes me want to cough up whatever foreign particles are now in my lungs.

4 Responses to “Common Commuting Dilemma”


  1. 1 Vince August 16, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Shouldn’t it depend on which road you are and road conditions?

    If I’m on a climb and I have a bus pulling into a stop in front of me, I just slow down and let it draw away.

    It helps that I ride mountain bikes and aren’t terribly fast anyway.

    But shouldn’t it be a rule of thumb that the bigger vehicle with the greatest velocity (and difficulty BRAKING) gets the most respect?

    It’s worked for me.

  2. 2 Ponder Stibbons August 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

    It depends on many things.

    I will definitely overtake if I see that a lot of people are waiting to get on the bus and/or I know its a bus stop where many people will get off.

    I definitely will not overtake on a climb either.

    On many roads my average speed is comparable to that of a bus, i.e. if I let it pull away I’ll end up catching up with it later anyway.

  3. 3 Vince August 17, 2008 at 11:19 am

    I don’t overtake on climbs when I know I’ll only hold the bus back.

    But on declines I do often take the initiative to pass buses. It isn’t merely a game of I-pass-you-then-you-pass-me, primarily because driving in traffic should involve us cyclists as a matter of course.

    Bus drivers have schedules to keep to, for which they are penalised in material terms if they fail.

    This is commuting by bike. It isn’t so hard to endure, simply just part and parcel of what it is like here.

  4. 4 Back2Nature August 19, 2008 at 2:59 am

    It depends on the road traffic. If overtaking lead to leapfrogging, I will pause for a while to make sure I won’t catch up behind the bus to intake its exhale. I have learned to not be fussy of that few tens of seconds of time delay.

    To me, the number of overtakings is a big contributing factor to the potential of an accident.


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