Which Vehicle is the Worst to Share the Road With?

With six months cycling under our carbon belts, and approximately 7000km travelled on European roads, we are happy to report that we have generally not had a problem with motorists. In fact, cycling just one day in Melbourne and I’ve usually had more issues with impatient, ignorant, idiotic drivers than six months in Europe.

But there is one category of vehicle that does stand out as more death-inducing: BUSES.

Kat has her thumbs up as there is not a bus in sight!

It doesn’t matter what country you’re in or what road you’re on, buses pass us TWO TIMES closer than any other vehicle. They always fail to wipe off any speed; their gigantic, rectangular, incredibly non-aerodynamic shape doing all sorts of strange things with the wind as they swipe past our arms.

If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can wait until after a corner to pass, why can’t a bus?
If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can overtake in the opposite lane when given the opportunity, why can’t a bus?
If trucks, cars, motorbikes and motorhomes can wipe off a bit of speed to pass, why can’t a bus?

Could This Be Why?

Firstly, there must not be a bus driver in the world who has ridden a bicycle on a road. That makes them all completely unaware of what it feels like when a 14 tonne coach passes by.

Secondly, buses carry people and people care about time. People will remember when a bus is late, but never when a bus is early. This weighs on a bus driver’s mind constantly, reducing their job to a battle for timeliness.

This is the bit when the Hawking-esque moment happens: time is warped! When a bus driver has to wait just THREE SECONDS in order to slow down for a cyclist, it seems like THREE MINUTES of time lost in their heads.


Bus drivers are idiots. Especially tourist bus drivers.

Bus drivers have lost track of reality due to their lack of empathy towards being a cyclist, as well as their warped perception of time. If it wasn’t the case they would surely afford us more safety.


  1. Yup. I got buzzed a few times by buses in France (near the German border). Pretty scary, but since I knew what to expect and had a mirror at least I was prepared and knew to hold my line.

  2. Don’t just blame the bus drivers – blame the bus companies, who probably penalise the drivers for lateness. I found the worst drivers in China were the trucks, presumably because they are paid per delivery, so woe betide anyone who gets in their way as they rush to make as many deliveries as possible per day.

  3. While I agree with your observations about buses, they scariest thing to me is the tour bus sized RVs.  These are monstrosities are the size of a bus, and are generally driven by the elderly, or those with a self-inflated sense of worth and most of the time the driver has no extra training to drive one of these beasts safely.  Seeing one of these things bearing down on me while I’m riding is scarier than seeing a truck, a bear, or an attack helicopter coming at me.

  4. Our observations have been similar.  Buses are by far the least considerate of cyclists and pedestrians – in fact, they are extremely dangerous.  We haven’t seen one exception to that rule yet.  However, I’m pretty sure some of these bus drivers have been cyclists and that they aren’t necessarily jerks or idiots.  We pondered reasons for why buses are consistently rude and dangerous and we thought it probably had more to do with company rules and liability.  For instance, in Baja, EVERYONE except bus drivers moved to the opposite lane to pass us and we noticed that bus drivers wouldn’t EVER cross the middle line, they wouldn’t even ride the line.  This has to be some kind of company mandated rule and they likely have cameras installed on those buses to ensure drivers are following rules.  Then there’s what others have mentioned, like timeliness ratios.  All of these things are likely requirements for these people to keep their jobs.  If these things are true, then the fault lies with the companies that require people to put others in danger for profit, something that many, many companies throughout the world do.  That doesn’t mean that the individual drivers shouldn’t make different decisions while on the road – they should do what is safe, for them, for their passengers and for us pedestrians and cyclists.  I just think there is more to this story than every bus driver in the world being an “idiot”.

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