Harassment by DART Bus Driver aka DART Vader Part I

This is the latest and greatest harassment by a Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) motorist yet.

I was headed out East on Valley View Lane this afternoon. Around 1:58 PM, I was riding in the right lane on Valley View, closer to the intersection of Josey Lane and Valley View Lane. In my rear view mirror, I saw the DART bus behind me, but didn't think much of it, as this is not abnormal vehicular behavior. I have had DART buses trail behind me, especially if there was a bus stop close by. In this case, there was a bus stop coming up, a few meters ahead of me, so I didn't think much of the DART bus's presence, in the same lane as I was, behind me.

And, suddenly, I hear a rather loud, "Beep, Beep", only this time the honk was not from a private vehicle, a private citizen's car or a truck, but the DART Bus Driver was honking at me. I was a bit puzzled, but I kept pedaling.

But, then I heard the honking again and the bus got closer to me. I felt threatened! I pulled out my camera and started shooting pictures in succession.
Soon as I started taking photos, the bus driver seemed to back off! I was still not sure what the intention of the driver was: was he gonna run me over or was he done harassing a law-abiding citizen, operating his vehicle on the road in a lawful manner?
So, in order to ensure my own safety, I pulled into the strip mall right across from the Autozone on Valley View Lane, which is a few meters from the bus stop. From there I shot the picture below.
Next, from my "safe haven", I called 911. I hate to waste tax payer money, but I had no other option, in this case, except to file a Police Report. A police officer from  Farmers Branch showed up in a matter of minutes and I told the officer what went on. The Officer ensured me that I had every right to be on the road as did the DART bus driver, provided me the police report number and then left in the general direction of the DART bus. The Police Officer also went on to suggest that I should also contact DART regarding this.

As seen from the pictures above, the driver of Eastbound Bus # 535, was the one who harassed me.

I will be contacting DART first thing on Monday morning, both in written and by phone.

I have been honked at private citizens of DFW, which I think is ignorant. Now, I have been harassed by the very public transportation, which I am trying to promote. I don't get it.

What am I missing here? I thought DART would have educated their operators regarding the rules of the road, but clearly I am wrong! Apparently, DART's operators aren't taught what they need to know, before they are given the keys to vehicles, which in the wrong hands could potentially be lethal weapons.

This is a serious matter and I certainly hope that DART will do the right thing!

Please stay tuned for updates.


Chandra E
Dissatisfied Tax Payer and DFW resident
League Cycling Instructor # 3059

15 comments:

  1. I am interested to see how this story develops following your contact with DART on Monday....

    -Trevor

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  2. You go guy! Did the Farmer's Branch LEO venture an opinion if the DART right to the road extended to harassment of the other users?

    In the interest of full disclosure, my sister is a bus driver, though in Seattle.

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  3. Not too smart. People should be careful of how the conduct themselves on the road - ESPECIALLY those who drive big, yellow, numbered vehicles on a specific schedule.

    What a jerk.

    I'm glad you are ok, Chandra.

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  4. 535 is the route number, not the bus number. Time of day and location will help DART identify the driver, but the actual bus number will be better. It's visible behind the bike rack, but I can't read it. Any better pictures?

    Yes, DART is supposed to train their drivers to be careful around, and respect, bicyclists. This is an ongoing battle we've fought since DART's formation (and with the old DTS before).

    DART recently disbanded their Bicycle Users Panel when Tony Mendoza retired. Here's DART's contact info:

    Tell DART Directly
    214-749-3333
    Monday through Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Operators are available to speak with you and assist to the fullest extent.
    When calling, please provide the following information:

    TIME of service
    DATE of service
    DART vehicle ID number

    Example: Look for the DART vehicle ID number in these locations to identify the vehicle
    (the ID number is also located above the windshield on the inside of the bus).

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  5. I am really amazed that this happened too Chandra and I hope you get some evidence of support from DART. Let me know if I can help?
    Gail Spann

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  6. Chandra, that is unfortunate, I wonder what the driver was thinking, but it sure sounds like he or she was in the wrong. You may want to mention this to them as well: § 547.501. AUDIBLE WARNING DEVICES.
    (c) A motor vehicle operator shall use a horn to provide audible warning only when necessary to insure safe operation.

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  7. @Steve, Richard, Trevor, Gail and PM - thanks for your comments & support!

    @PM - I have the time & location of the incident and the route #. These should be sufficient pieces of information for DART to solve the puzzle as to who the driver was. Thanks for the tip on the "bus #". Rest assured I will be looking for the bus number in the untreated original image! Thanks.

    @Steve - The LEO only told me that I have as much right to be on that road as did the DART driver. Thanks.

    @Gail - I will let you know if I need backup. Thanks.

    @Trevor - I will be posting on my interaction with DART on Monday. Thanks.

    @Richard - That's exactly what I was thinking: Was the driver brain-dead?

    Paz :)

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  8. @JRA - Thanks for the tip. I will definitely mention it.

    Paz :)

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  9. Hey Chandra,
    I was on a bus once when I heard the bus driver utter some nonsense about bicycle right of way. We were passing an accident where a bike was apparently heading straight though a green light, and a car turning left across the bike's path had cut off the cyclist. The driver thought that the cyclist was required to stop, she was talking to another passenger saying it was the cyclist's fault for not yielding.

    Granted, none of us actually saw what happened, just the aftermath, (the cyclist did not seem seriously injured, although his bike was a mess), but she was clearly not well trained in the rules of the road as they relate to bikes. So don't assume bus drivers will know any better how to drive around bikes than anybody else.

    Might be time to press bus companies to properly train their employees.

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  10. @Tabb - Thanks. I will definitely add "educating drivers" to my list of suggestions to DART.

    Paz :)

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  11. I've had a couple of mishaps with T Buses here in Tarrant County, one of which I reported (never heard back). This is all the more ironic, since their president, Dick Ruddell, is an avid cyclist.

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  12. @Paul,
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Sorry to hear you had mishaps with the T Buses!
    Let's see what DART says.
    Paz :)

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  13. Sorry to hear about this, Chandra. I'm glad you are ok. It is good you called police and took photos. Good Luck!

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  14. Hi Chandra,

    what an outrageous bus driver!
    Could you contact him? I´m sure DART is not amused about his behaviour. Not everybody is cool enough to take photos in this situation. Most would feel threatened with a bus in the neck.
    Let us know, how this story goes on.

    Liebe Grüße,
    Pia

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