Road rage cyclist on the loose in Minneapolis

It’s not often — well, never — we hear about road rage on bicycles but KARE 11 says a single bicyclist is responsible for two attacks on a school bus blocking his path.

The first attack came last Friday in the 3200 block of Blaisdell Avenue in Minneapolis when the driver parked in the bike lane while waiting for a student.

The bicyclist used a bike lock to smash the bus windows.

On Monday, bus driver Rich Olson, 71, was waiting for the cyclist to return.

He did, KARE 11 says.

“Next thing I know, he reached around his back and pulled out his lock and starts wailing away at the bus again,” Olson said. “I was really hoping he would just go on.”

Olson is just thankful no kids were on the bus.

He said the incidents do not deter him from driving. He puts the children first.

“It’s not so much being afraid. It’s being right. Doing your job right, you know?” Olson said.

It’s not against the law for a school bus to park in a bike lane as long as the red lights are flashing and the stop arm is deployed.

But Olson says he pulls over on Blaisdell because he didn’t want to hold up traffic for an extended period while waiting for the student.

  • Gabe Ormsby

    I know this particular forum is a blog, not standard news reporting, but I sure wish the latter had commensurate coverage of comparable cases where a car driver assaults or threatens a cyclist or pedestrian. Could lead to a shortage of newsprint on the print side, but worth considering.

  • Gary F

    Just wait until a kid is hurt.

    • Jerry

      Kids on bikes are hurt all the time

  • wonderpigeon

    But Olson says he pulls over on Blaisdell because he didn’t want to hold up traffic for an extended period while waiting for the student.

    This is exactly why this cyclist is mad – people think parking in the bike lane is okay because it’s not affecting anyone, or at least not anyone who matters. In this case, or at least in this video, there’s not a lot of other traffic on the street, which means it’s not hard or unsafe for the cyclist to just bike around the bus. But this frequently isn’t the case, and having something parked in the bike lane means cyclists have to merge into much faster-moving traffic (which is dangerous) or else stop and wait. It’s basically the same as having a delivery truck parked in a traffic lane at the same time every day during rush hour – certainly not the end of the world, but it would piss off drivers, right? I have never done property damage to anyone’s car over this, but oh, has it crossed my mind.

    • Not sure what the driver’s choice was in this case.

      • wonderpigeon

        Park on the other side of the street in the parking lane? Park around the corner until he gets word through one of multiple remote communication options he must have at his disposal that the student is ready? This is not an insurmountable problem; the issue is that most non-cyclists don’t take bike lanes seriously.

        • The other side of that part of the street has no parking lane because people are parked in it.

          I think the only other serious choice he had was to just put on the flashers and stop arm and basically close Blaisdell until the kid came out.

          • wonderpigeon

            No, you can see a big open space on the other side of the street in front of that truck. It looks like there might be a driveway there, but if he’s with the bus and can move it if someone needs to get in the driveway, surely that’s as good of an option as blocking the bike lane.

          • Glsai

            First let me say the bicyclist was at fault here. The vandalism is unacceptable.

            Secondly in this video the bus driver should also be cited. It is stated that the bus can be parked in the bike lane if it is stopped and with flashers on. That is not the case here. The bus is parked and the driver is outside of the vehicle, and there are no flashers on.

            As to what the bus driver can do to avoid this situation of having to wait for the kid? Not wait. I read your summary and skimmed the Kare11 page, but did not see anything about this being a special bus route. I’m not terribly old so I’m sorry if this sounds old and curmudgeonly, but when I took a bus to school it was my job to be at the stop before the bus arrived. If I wasn’t there on time and there was no one at the stop, the bus driver rolled right on by.

          • Yes, correct. The bus IS illegally parked.

          • MCXL

            I think its pretty simple. Bikes CAN and do use normal traffic lanes on the regular. It’s 100% legal. Nothing is lost for the biker, by doing what you have to on thousands of twin cities streets and leaving the protected bike lane for the 100 or so feet that the buss occupies.

            The bus CAN’T reasonably just stop and wait in the road and close it down.

            Which is more important, bicyclists losing the use of the bike lane for a hundred feet, or all cars losing the use of an entire street?

          • lusophone

            This is the point I was going to make, buses never wait for my kids if they are late to the stop. Why is this bus waiting for the kid? I’m guessing he is early to the stop. Maybe he should stage his bus someplace else than the bike lane.

          • Mobility busses wait. Like i said, I don’t what the background of the kid in this home is. If he’s just another sloth too lazy to get the bus, yeah. If he’s not, might be a different story.

          • This is the first stop of the day, so I think he gets there well before the pick up time, to make sure he isn’t late for the rest of the route. He should be doing his waiting anywhere but the bike lane. A better job by the reporter would have involved asking the driver how long he is parked in the bike lane every day, and how long he has been doing that.

      • Gabe Ormsby

        I live on Blaisdell. There is almost always ample parking on opposite side. I occasionally find myself helpfully pointing it out to the UPS and FedEx drivers who are also unable to find see parking spots and feel they have to use the bike lane instead. One of these days I’ll get the nerve to do the same for cops.

        • The last thing I want is a kid crossing traffic to get on a school bus. There really isn’t another good option other than putting on the flashers. Drivers are too insane.

          • Gabe Ormsby

            Everyone’s different of course, bit just turning on the flashers would temper my anger–it at least indicates that a driver is present and acknowledges the inconvenience. Also, “punching down” to target a school bus is decidedly uncool. There are plenty of delivery trucks, BMWs and Teslas to take the hit, if that’s really your thing.

          • Bill LIndeke

            Picture a kid riding a bicycle and getting hit by an insane driver because the bus is needlessly parked there for 10+ minutes or whatever.

      • Bill LIndeke

        You park around the corner or somewhere else.

        • Bicyclists have a right to the road. But busses also have the right to turn on flashers in a street and stop traffic. I’m also not entirely sure what the situation was with the kid. Is there is a disability or mobility issue here? I don’t know.

          • John

            but, the bus doesn’t have the right to stop in the middle of the bike lane and sit there without his flashers on. Which is what it appears the bus was doing.

  • Anita

    This one bothers me. As a bicyclist, I find passing idling vehicles quite terrifying. How do I know they aren’t about to open their door or pull out of their parking spot as I’m passing (both have happened with near misses). From the sounds of this news article, the bus is habitually early to his stop and idling in the bike lane. The bus driver was illegally parked. I don’t condone the bicyclist’s behavior, but I understand where his frustration (likely stemming from fear), is coming from.

    • Gabe Ormsby

      Yeah, this is a case of “both parties could clearly do better.” Puts a bad light on cyclists and school bus drivers both. Not helpful.

    • jon

      The good thing about school busses, there is no driver side door for them to open… (but watch out for the stop sign, and children.)

  • Bill LIndeke

    Not defending the angry guy on the bicycle, but the school bus should NOT be parked there. It’s bollard protected, and the driver was not picking up a student, just parking it. If that was there day after day on my commute, needlessly putting me in danger, I’d be pissed off too.

    • John

      I tend to agree with you.

      I’m currently fuming that the driver was forced to make a choice between blocking traffic or breaking the law (which he did daily, sitting in the bike lane without his flashers or sign on/out).

  • J Allen

    What a narcissistic jerk of a bicyclist. Hope he gets his 15 minutes of fame worth for his vandalism as well as a fine.

  • Rixware

    This story isn’t about bikes versus other modes of transportation. It’s not about bike lanes, or school bus etiquette, or parking laws, or anything else. It’s about road rage, plain and simple. It’s about one person vandalizing another vehicle because he doesn’t like what it is doing.

    No one gets to do that — regardless of what the other vehicle did. That’s not how we solve problems in a civilization.

  • amiller92

    He didn’t want to hold up car traffic and doesn’t mind endangering bike traffic, I suppose is what he meant.

    School buses are unfortunately particularly dangerous for bikes. I’ve seen them run stop signs, have trouble staying in their lane, make unsignaled lane change or turns or just parked (not picking up or dropping off) in the bike lane. They are frustrating, but you can’t get angry with them for picking up and dropping off and you can’t go smashing things. Come on, man.

    • Which brings up another frustration of mine. I KNOW Metro Transit buses have the right of way when pulling out, but you just can’t go from having your emergency flashers on indicating you’re picking up/dropping off, to putting your right turn signal on and pulling out in the same moment.

      • amiller92

        The contrast between the care taken in driving between Metro Transit and school buses is pretty drastic, though.

        I don’t doubt that it sometimes seems pretty quick, but when you’re on the bus, failure to yield is also ubiquitous. Just yesterday I thought the driver on my bus could have been more assertive as car after car kept passing by when he was trying to pull out.

  • Brendan K.

    One thing I’m not seeing talked about is that this whole thing resembles a sting. The cyclist vandalized the bus on a Friday, so on Monday, the bus driver parked in the same place without flashers and had someone else get positioned to record any possible confrontation. The cyclist absolutely should not be vandalizing the bus, and the bus driver absolutely should not be willfully antagonizing this yahoo by breaking the law.

  • lusophone

    The biker’s anger doesn’t surprise me. If you take just one bike ride around the city you will experience the complete lack of regard toward human life that exists in people’s minds as they are behind the wheel of a car. People (bikers, pedestrians) just want to get where they need to go without risking life and limb. And many of us don’t seem to be getting the message. Being run over and killed or maimed hasn’t worked, so I guess some are ramping up the discourse. I still wouldn’t do what this person did, but I can understand where the rage comes from.

    Most bus stops aren’t planned at the middle of a block unless it is a special route or pre-kindergarten schooling. I wonder what the situation is for that bus stop. I find it hard to believe the route was planned with the bus stopping in the bike lane for any period of time.

    • wonderpigeon

      There was a NewsCut piece earlier this year about a survey in Australia where 55% of people reported not viewing cyclists as fully-human. Reading that made my experiences biking in MSP make a lot more sense. It’s actually kind of helpful (in a demoralizing way) to understand this – it’s definitely made me a lot more cautious to know that a lot of drivers view me and a stray dog as being basically the same.

      • Frankie Heck

        A stray dog would almost certainly garner more sympathy.

  • Matthew Finn

    This whole thing seems to exemplify a need to consider that others are likely making the best choice they can – waiting for a child to make it out the door and onto the bus – in this case inconveniencing a bike or three instead of as many as 100 cars.

    It also explains why that driver and his bus didn’t make it to my house a few blocks away last Friday (the beard is hard to miss). I was able to drive my kids to school, but was very, very late to a client meeting. Would never have guessed it was due to a bandit on a bike refusing to accept that a school bus driver had to make a tough choice.

    • John

      The question your comment raises, in my mind, is why is the bus driver expected to break the law to do his job?

      There’s no excuse for the cyclist’s behavior. None.

      But, the driver’s excuse (and all the others making excuses on his behalf) seem to boil down to “I have to do this to effectively do my job.”

      Why? It’s illegal for him to sit in the bike lane. It’s not good for him to block traffic while he waits. So, he’s been given a bad choice.

      What’s a better option?

      • Frankie Heck

        Bus driver here. Options – 1) if the student isn’t waiting at the stop they aren’t picked up. I suspect though that this stop is for a special needs student, thus the need to pull over and wait in the middle if the block. If that is the case – 2) deploy the stop arm and lights while waiting for the student. All traffic – car and bike – is required to stop no matter how long the stop takes. In that situation the bicyclist may well wish he had the option to use the vehicle lane to drive around the bus and continue on his way.

        • John

          That’s what I think should happen as well. But, that’s not what the standard practice was for this route? (I’m making some assumptions – if this was a one off and the cyclist just went nuts on a bus that doesn’t normally do this, then most of my discussion goes out the window).

          I have kids who ride the bus to/from school. I also bike a lot. I’ve been behind a school bus as it stops at every corner, arm out, lights flashing, and I wait. And I’m fine with it. If I’m late, and I didn’t run anyone over (or participate in behavior that made it more likely), fantastic. I’m absolutely sure there is nothing happening in my life that is so important that those are risks that need to be taken.

          • MCXL

            But that’s just it, if it’s a stop where he has to wait for the kid, which is likely, that means that he could be there for more than the 10-30 seconds of a normal stop. How would you feel if you were stuck behind a bus stop sign for 10 minutes as part of your morning commute? 15?

            He is doing everyone a curtsy by breaking the law by simply not turning on his flashers in this situation, including the cyclist.

  • “Olson said the same bicyclist has been tormenting him for weeks.”

    Olson has been illegally parked in the bike lane for weeks. It seems he should have followed the law. The biker got sick of it. The city doesn’t enforce anything involving bike lanes. This was bound to happen.