Tandem Terror - Part 2: Stagecoach’s Quaylink Bus Service
So after yesterday’s jaunt, we went out again today. For some variety, we went through the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel (fitting a tandem in the lift is . . . a bit of a squeeze), and then through Jarrow & Hebburn, before taking the cycle path that runs parallel to the Felling Bypass to go down to Gateshead. We crossed the river via the High Level Bridge (no point losing altitude on a heavy bike if you can help it) before stopping briefly at the Central Station for a few minutes.
Heading back home, we had a spot of bother with a bus though. One of these Quaylink busses, operated by Stagecoach:
Basically we were heading up Grainger Street towards the traffic lights at the junction with Nun Street. The lights were red, so we started to slow down when the bus overtook. Except because of the red light, the driver couldn’t actually get all the way past (no more han about half way in fact). But that didn’t stop him from pulling alongside, and then pulling over towards the kerb.
My bike sense had sort of seen this coming, and I slapped my hand against the side of the bus to let him know what was happening.
We pulled forward to the front of the bus to give the driver the benefit of my opinion on his driving. He opened the doors and I said, “That wasn’t very nice of you, and rather impolite!” (I know - if I’m going to be a road raging, two-wheeled terror of a lycra lout, then I really, really must learn some coarser language).
The driver’s response?
You’re on a bike, not in a bloody car!
At that point, the lights changed, he closed his doors and drove off. Naturally, we gave chase, but riding a ~30 year-old tandem, with a novice stoker, it wasn’t going to happen. I mean, we could have caught him and really gone to town, but I think Von SmallHaussen might have refused ever to get on a bike with me again. We did, however get the vehicle’s registration details - NK05PXH.
What I find personally disappointing about this incident is that I’ve always believed bus drivers to be better than the average UK motorist. They’re trained to a higher level, and carry a greater weight of responsibility. Yet this is the second time this year that I’ve had one try to squeeze me off the road. The first could be put down to driver distraction (it is one of the problems with driving a bus - so many other things to look out for).
But this one’s attitude frankly stinks, and seems to indicate a clear disregard for the potential danger that he can put other road users in. He was factually correct to point out that I wasn’t in a car, but riding a bike. But what that means is that I have no crumple zones, no ABS and no airbags. I have bones and soft tissues that don’t do too well when they come into contact with ten tons of bus.
There’s a letter to be written to Stagecoach about this tonight.