NEWS

Helmet camera catches close call between Winnipeg cyclist and bus

07/23/2015 07:00 EDT | Updated 07/23/2016 05:59 EDT
A close call caught on camera between a Winnipeg cyclist and bus has a cycling instructor calling for the bus driver to be fired.

"It was definitely scary," said Al Paul, who captured the incident on a camera mounted on his helmet.

Paul said the near hit happened at about 7:10 am Monday morning when he was commuting by bike to his downtown job. 

Heading north on Archibald Street, he came to a construction zone that narrowed the road to one lane on each side. Paul said he signalled left to turn onto westbound Provencher Boulevard, and occupied the full lane.

That's when a bus narrowly swerved around him on the right, honking its horn.

"I was afraid I was going to get hit," said Paul. "The part that was scary, too, was the roar of the engine, because it just passed me, and the honking as well."

Paul said taking over the full lane was the safest thing to do so other vehicles would not try to pass him unsafely — a move cycling instructors say was the right one.

"The fault lies entirely with the driver of the bus. The person on the bike, as far as I'm concerned, they were acting appropriately and reasonably," said Dave Elmore, a CAN-BIKE master instructor, after reviewing the video.

The CAN-BIKE program teaches people how to cycle safely. 

"It was absolutely reprehensible," said Elmore of the incident. "I believe the driver should be dismissed."

Elmore said the proper thing to do in a situation like this, where the space is reduced, is to signal, move to the centre of the lane and turn when safe.

"We're not trying to hog the road, there isn't room to share," he said.

Manitoba Public Insurance spokesman Brian Smiley said in an email that both motorists and cyclists are expected to use caution in areas with reduced space.

"Common sense should prevail," he said.

In an email, a manager for the bus company First Student Canada apologized to Paul and said the driver's behaviour was not acceptable. He said the driver was taken off work and is being retrained, something the manager told CBC involves both classroom work and road evaluation.  

Elmore said that's not good enough.

"I don't think that you're going to retrain this kind of anger, or retrain this kind of attitude," he said.

Paul said he feels badly the driver was taken off the job, but is satisfied he or she is getting extra training.

"If you drive professionally, like a bus driver, taxi driver or anybody where you are driving for a living, you should have a higher standard than regular drivers out there."

Paul added the near hit won't stop him from commuting on the city streets — he just wants people to share the road.

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