Saturday, September 11, 2010

On Trimet operator John Nations getting a citation

$10 says this ticket will be thrown out.
TriMet Operator was proceeding legally on S.W. 6th, had to make a left turn. Operator determined he could not safely make the turn from the left lane due to the size of the vehicle, and thus used (without conflict to other vehicles, which would simply be other TriMet vehicles in this case as the center lane is a restricted lane).
Had the Operator not used both lanes, he would have climbed onto the sidewalk putting pedestrians at grave risk due to the size of the vehicle and/or collided with a stopped light rail train on Morrison. Further, there are no prohibitions on left turns by oversized vehicles at this intersection.
At the end of the day, it was not the actions of the Operator that caused the collision. Given the choice of two evils, he chose the evil that would have prevented possible injury to pedestrians standing on the street corner waiting for the walk signal that could have been clipped by the size of the vehicle. It was the actions of a bicyclist who disobeyed a traffic control device and failed to yield right-of-way to the bus which was proceeding legally through the intersection that caused the collision.
Ultimately, this is just another example of TriMet Management making boneheaded decisions to route buses on short notice without thinking about their actions, and using low level Operators as the fall guy instead of the General Manager owning up to the routing being the issue. In Germany, for example, every Autobahn has pre-determined, and permanently signed, detour routes in the event of an Autobahn closure. If the Autobahn is closed, you simply use the next exit and follow permanently installed signs that route you to the next on-ramp. If that ramp is closed, you keep following the detours. TriMet ought to have pre-determined detour routes for each bus route and MAX shuttle, including designated safe turn locations. It's not that difficult to do. TriMet Operators should not be the fall guy because some Supervisor didn't do their job correctly.

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