CLOSE CALL FOR CY­CLIST

Bus ‘was so close to me’

Windsor Star - - FRONT PAGE - TREVOR WIL­HELM twil­helm@post­media.com

A Wind­sor cy­clist is ac­cus­ing a city bus driver of jeop­ar­diz­ing his life af­ter he was pinned against the curb on his bike Fri­day. “I un­der­stand there are ac­ci­dents, but this was de­lib­er­ate,” said Michael Un­der­wood, owner of City Cy­clery on Erie Street. “I think it was like a road rage in­ci­dent. These guys are driv­ing around, their No. 1 pri­or­ity should be pub­lic safety. On the rear of the bus it says ‘share the road.’ So they should know the law when it comes to shar­ing the road. They ’re sup­posed to give us one me­tre dis­tance. He def­i­nitely didn’t do that the first time, and the sec­ond time he was try­ing to run me off the road.” Pat Del­more, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Tran­sit Wind­sor, said the city has re­ceived a com­plaint and a su­per­vi­sor has been as­signed to look into it. But he said Satur­day he won’t com­ment un­til the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is fin­ished. Un­der­wood said it hap­pened around 2:40 p.m. Fri­day. He was ped­alling east down Semi­nole Street and had just passed Drouil­lard Road.

“When I came around the turn just af­ter the light, a bus came along side me and I could touch the bus, it was so close to me,” said Un­der­wood. “It cut in front of me and stopped at the bus stop that was right there.” Un­der­wood, an­noyed by the close call, rode past the bus on the left side.

“I slapped the driver side win­dow to get his at­ten­tion and I put my hand up in the air, like what the hell?” said Un­der­wood.

He kept rid­ing down the road along the curb. A few blocks down the road, Un­der­wood said the bus driver pulled up be­side him. “He matched my speed and he was just star­ing at me,” said Un­der­wood. “Then he drove a lit­tle bit for­ward so I was in the mid­dle of the bus, and he started to turn in to me, push­ing me into the curb. At one point, his front tire was touch­ing the curb, my tires were touch­ing the curb and my han­dle bars were touch­ing the side of the bus.” Un­der­wood said he had to slam on his brakes to avoid be­ing crushed by the bus.

“He just kept go­ing,” Un­der­wood said of the bus driver. Wit­ness Dan John­stone said he was on the bus when it nearly drove over Un­der­wood.

“I’ve had many prob­lems with the bus al­ready, but what hap­pened yes­ter­day was be­yond ab­surd,” John­stone said Satur­day. “It isn’t right for a bus driver to do what he did.”

He said it looked like the bus driver tried “run­ning ” the cy­clist into the curb.

“He couldn’t go nowhere,” said John­stone. “It’s not like he could have hopped onto the side­walk. You have to share the road. Es­pe­cially Tran­sit Wind­sor, they should know that. It’s a big bus. He did it in­ten­tion­ally.” John­stone said he re­al­ized some­thing un­usual was hap­pen­ing when the bus started sw­erv­ing. He looked out the win­dow and saw a cy­clist fight­ing to avoid be­ing pushed against the curb by the bus. “The bus driver kept look­ing at the cy­clist like to push over,” said John­stone. “But he can’t be­cause the curb is right there. So the bus driver is sw­erv­ing. The bus driver fi­nally makes a move to ac­tu­ally cut off the cy­clist. The ass end of the bus, I lit­er­ally thought it hit the cy­clist. I was like, oh my God. I saw the cy­clist’s face, and he looked pet­ri­fied.”

Af­ter tak­ing a few min­utes to calm his nerves and steady his shak­ing hands, Un­der­wood said he rode straight home and started mak­ing calls to the city to com­plain.

“I think he should be held ac­count­able for that,” said Un­der­wood.

“If he’s go­ing to do it to me, he’s go­ing to do it to some­body else. I would hate to see some­body else get in­jured be­cause of this. This was de­lib­er­ate. I’ve never heard of some­body de­lib­er­ately en­dan­ger­ing some­body’s health and safety. That was com­pletely un­called for.”

NICK BRANCACCIO

Michael Un­der­wood is still reel­ing af­ter an in­ci­dent in­volv­ing a Tran­sit Wind­sor bus on Fri­day.

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