Comment sent to Valley Transportation Agency, March 5, 2010.
While riding my bike at 9:55 AM North on Sunnyvale/Saratoga at 20+ MPH (confirmed by my GPS log), bus 2011 running route 55 merged unsafely into the bike lane to approach a bus stop. CVC 21209 allows for motorized vehicles to cross bike lanes to leave the roadway (that seems to apply here) but the vehicle must merge into that lane safely, no different than a car lane.
In this instance, I was forced to veer out of the bike lane, across the right hand travel lane and into the left hand travel lane in order to avoid a collision with the back end of the bus. Had another vehicle been in the left hand travel lane I would have been in great danger. I had to make this maneuver quickly and at high speed for a bicycle.
This was very distressing - what is more distressing is that even after I indicated my displeasure with a (non-threatening, non-obscene) hand gesture to the driver (a gesture acknowledged by the driver), the bus driver did the EXACT SAME THING one block later!
I send this not only as a cyclist but also as someone who pays money every month for a transit pass to use your system, taking the 60 bus from Santa Clara Transit Center to work. While VTA is unable to provide a high frequency of service, I have found the scheduled service to be extremely reliable, the buses clean, the ride pleasant. Until today I found the drivers to be very professionals and unimpeachable - especially compared to their counterparts in San Francisco. I find myself more disappointed than I am angry.
I'll try not to chalk this one up to malice, instead hoping it is simply a matter of a lack of education on how to operate on roads with a bike lane.
John Murphy - San Francisco, Ca