Bike Scare: Bus Apology


The road works in Auckland’s inner-city Symonds St, where Vector seems to be digging up the same piece of road once again, are endangering cyclists.

Three cyclists have complained to this site about how the narrower lanes have made it difficult for cyclists to share the road with buses.

One cyclist has written to Metrolink to complain about a specific incident and today got an apology.

He had written:

“I believe that this driver needlessly endangered the life of a cyclist who was legally using the road at this time, and I would like to request that Metrolink take appropriate disciplinary action against the driver.

The incident happened on the Symonds Street overpass over the southern motorway, between St Benedict’s Street and the intersection with Karangahape Road and Grafton Bridge.

A cyclist was going over this the overpass towards the K. Road intersection, on the far side of the left-hand traffic lane.

The right-hand lane was clear at the time. There is a cycle lane on the footpath beside this traffic lane, but at the time of the incident this was mostly blocked by numerous pedestrians and broken glass, and the cyclist in question had obviously chosen to use the road instead.

As you and your driver should be aware from New Zealand road law, cyclists are permitted to use regular traffic lanes instead of available cycleways when they believe this is necessary for safety. Therefore the cyclist in question was legally using the road at the time of the incident - please bear this in mind when you read the following.

Riding down the cycle lane at slow speed, with several other riders, I witnessed your bus  tailgating the cyclist over the overpass. Your employee was driving the bus, at speed, with only one metres following distance behind the cyclist – which is an absolutely unsafe following distance with any vehicle, and clearly in violation of traffic laws.

This continued for about twenty seconds, with your employee using his bus horn the entire time.

When your driver finally passed the cyclist near the intersection with Karangahape Road, he took the time to open his front door to shout at the cyclist, before apparently deliberately swerving to the left while passing the cyclist, with passing room of about half a metre. This action was completely unnecessary and again endangered the life of the cyclist for no good reason.

The cyclist was on the far left of the traffic lane – riding on top of yellow lines - and couldn’t possibly have moved any further aside. There was nothing to be gained from your driver’s obnoxious overuse of the horn, except to frighten the cyclist and make an accident even more likely.

To top it all off, the right-hand lane was clear to the side of the bus. It would have been easy for your driver to simply overtake the cyclist in the other lane, and then return to the left-hand lane,”

Cyclists battle Symonds around Grafton

The bus company has replied:

“The type of behaviour you described is not acceptable and we apologise.  The operator was identified.

The staff member was asked to explain his actions and following the outcome of that interview, appropriate action was taken.

Confidentiality and employment laws prevent us from advising further details regarding any action taken but please be assured that the matter was dealt with accordingly.”

Good outcome.

Keep the pressure on cyclists if buses play unfair.




  1. Matt says:

    Good work for the complaint, too. To anyone making a similar complaint in future, make the Police aware as well. That’s dangerous driving, and the Police will treat it as such if the witness is prepared to make a formal statement. The only way to end such behaviour is for the consequences to include the bus driver potentially losing their job; and licence.

  2. Su Yin Khoo says:

    Wow, that’s a great outcome!

    I had yet another bus pull out in front of me at the Spaghetti Junction overpass yesterday even though the driver knew it would’ve caused me to stop suddenly to avoid colliding with the bus … only for the bus stop about 10 meters onwards. Why?!

  3. max says:

    Another reason why bus lanes should NOT be considered cycling infrastructure, as I mentioned during a meeting Cycle Action Auckland had with Council and John Banks yesterday.

    Unless they are at least 4.2, better 4.5m wide, sharing a bus lane with cyclists (or the other way around) just causes more aggro from the more obnoxious among the bus drivers.

  4. George D says:

    Firstly, Max is absolutely right. Bus lanes are not cycle infrastructure, except in the wobbly minds of people who could hardly balance on two wheels if they tried.

    Bus drivers are by far the worst on the road - I’m only threatened by a very small percentage of truck and car drivers (even busy couriers), but a significant proportion of bus drivers act in ways that threaten my life.

    The only solution is to threaten the jobs of the bad apples (there are of course plenty of decent bus drivers), by sending in complaints to the company and councilors, and making statements to the police.

  5. LucyJH says:

    I had a very similar experience on Symonds Street about 2 years ago. The bus driver deliberately drove as close to me as he could in a narrow stretch of road. He also took the opportunity to yell abuse at me and tell me to get off the road at a red light. Then he passed me again, once again, deliberately going as close and fast as he could.

    I called up to complain and then got no response for about 3 months. Glad to know that they have sharpened up their procedures.

  6. rtc says:

    Why is this road being dug up when it was just finished!?! How about some integration between these infrastructure companies and the council!

  7. rtc says:

    In a way I feel sorry for bus drivers, they spend their days stuck in traffic - their entire job description is to deal with traffic congestion and for that they get dissed as driver ‘loser cruisers’ in parliament and get paid a pathetically small wage.

  8. ingolfson says:

    rtc - apparently they (Vector) signed off on not needing to dig it up, and then changed their mind. So the process of integration happened, but Vector screwed up their own planning.

    As for public perceptions of bus drivers, I don’t think this is relevant here. They are supposed to act like professional drivers, dammit! Sure, we can ask whether their companies pressure them with harsh deadlines that make them get aggro - but that is only one more reason why can’t let such behaviour go on.

  9. rtc says:

    Agreed not at all relevant to what happened here and not at all an excuse.


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