Who's afraid of the big bad bus?

Say you’re driving along in the city. It’s a main drag, two lanes in each direction – there are lights periodically, but mostly the traffic is moving along pretty briskly. There’s a city bus in the right lane, moving at a buslike speed (slightly slower than the rest of the traffic).

Why is it that there is always someone in the left lane who won’t pass the freakin’ bus? Who pulls even with the rear left bumper and just stays there? I’m not talking about someone who is behind the bus in the same lane and doesn’t want to change lanes to pass – I’m talking about someone in a different lane who won’t pass, but just keeps poking along at the same speed, blocking all faster-moving traffic.

What is the thinking there? Is there any thinking there? I mean, if you’re afraid the bus is going to suddenly shift into your lane, slightly behind it seems like a bad place to be – quite possibly in the driver’s blind spot, for instance. A lot of times it seems like the car is going faster than the bus until it reaches that sweet spot, at which point the driver seems to fall under some magic spell that prevents any further progress.

Well, getting hit head-on while you’re straddling the center divide is no picnic. Them buses don’t fit in a single lane much, at least not in San Francisco.

Nah, I’m not talking center city – I mention “urban” to make it clear these folks encounter buses pretty regularly. These are lanes where there’s oodles of room.

Ever been in the passenger seat when a bus hits the right side of the car?

Not fun. (Luckily, no one was going fast, and the angles were right, so no injuries) but still, scared me enough. And the bus drivers in this city are insane (they don’t always signal, they’ll lane sweep, they lane straddle a lot of the time (not 'cause they’re too big, but because they’re rude, and they’re overly agressive)). So no. I won’t pass until I’m sure that the bus isn’t going to hit my tiny little car. I might not be as lucky this time.