The Chainlink

This isn't directly bike-related, but I have no better place to vent.

I was walking to the Metra just before 6am this morning. Driver distraction has gotten so bad, that even when I walk, if it's dark out, I attach one of my little white flashing lights to my coat, and always have a red PDW taillight on my book bag. This morning, I got to the intersection of Asbury and Lake in Evanston (a four-way stop), and despite the fact that the nearest car (a white minivan)  was probably a half a block away, I stopped to make sure he was going to yield the right-of-way. I saw him slow down pretty significantly and assumed he was stopping, so I proceeded into the crosswalk. I don't know when I realized this was a PACE van, but at some point the logo was clearly visible. I was about halfway across Asbury when he accelerated. I was close enough (less than a foot) that I slapped his left rear quarter window hard as he went by. That caused him to tap his brakes, but then he took off.

I called PACE and left an expletive-laden voice mail for their customer service people. I doubt they will return my call. I hope it melted the ears of whoever listened the message. Their job is to transport people with mobility problems, not create more customers for their service.

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Sorry about your experience. How terrifying.

Not sure how detailed your voicemail was in the heat of the moment, but you might consider also submitting a non-expletive-laden comment online:

I submitted a (positive) comment to the CTA once, and they responded. It could be that a written comment listing the date, time, and location might prompt an inquiry in a way that an expletive-laden voicemail will not.

Just a thought! Glad you are OK.

Thanks for the pointer, Alex.

As it turns out, I just got off the phone with PACE customer relations. She was "unable to file an incident report" because I couldn't identify the bus. I'll file a report through the above link hoping to get a more useful response.

Seems to me since they have the date & time, the intersection, the street, and the direction of travel, they could surely discover the bus & its driver. Especially for a limited-mobility service bus. i think that PACE vehicles have GPS tracking.

Just a thought.

Even without GPS, you'd think date, time, intersection, and direction would be enough.


I received an email response to my website submission:

Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to report your experience with a Pace bus. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience or stress you may have experienced as a result of the incident. We will try to identify operator of the bus in that area at that time and have them meet with the supervisory staff to review traffic procedures.

I suppose that's all I could hope for. FWIW, I saw a PACE van yesterday morning on my way to the train. No too-close-for-comfort interactions, so that's good. :-)

Thank goodness you're all right.  I know it's frustrating when you do everything possible to be safe and still nearly get mowed down anyway.  I would keep on it with PACE.  That van driver shouldn't just get away with this. 

Cars have larger blind spots due to the increased size of "A" pillars which improve safety in crashes.  The blind spot is larger on the left side.  Always use extra caution when crossing in front a car from its left side.

I appreciate that, but the A pillar wasn't the problem. If I'd have realized what was happening in time, I could have slapped the driver's window. As it was, it took me a fraction of a second to regain my wits enough to slap his rear quarter window.

I did take the opportunity to submit an online comment containing an edited version of my original post to this thread. No response from PACE yet.

Whoa. Whenever I rent a car I am like, "Argh, why is there so much non-window space back there??" Now I know.

This is largely a product of the importance of crash safety in body and chassis design. I do dislike it, though. Most of my cars are older (80s, 90s) and have rather panoramic visibility that I miss when I drive something newish.


As someone who is a cyclist or pedestrian 99% of the time I hesitate to value the increased sturdiness in a rollover(?) over the reduced visibility, but I am willing to defer to the experts.


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