I've been a daily bike rider in San Francisco for many years, but am still at a total loss on how to deal with buses. Twice I have been forced into the curb (and knocked down once) by a bus coming up behind me when I was passing a bus stop. Whenever I am at a stop sign and there is a bus behind me in traffic and a bus stop ahead of me, I'm not sure whether to try to get ahead as fast as possible, or just wait it out, let the bus pass me, and then risk being hit by a car trying to pass the bus in the left lane later on. What do I do?
Never get between a mother bear and her cubs! Because bikes are used to riding on the right and bus stops are on the right, bikes often get caught between the bus and its stop. Along certain routes, buses travel at just about bike speed, so the bike and the bus are constantly leapfrogging each other. This is a situation where you must act like other vehicles and ride in the lane, sometimes slowing down and/or passing the bus on the left (signaling with your arm), and once in awhile causing the bus to slow down for you as you move to the left, allowing the bus to move right so it can pick up its cubs.
If you come to a stop sign or light and there is a bus behind you in traffic, you should ride in the lane, signaling to those behind you that you are moving left, rather than hugging the right curb, giving the bus room to move to the right.
It is likely you will be passing the bus again. Just between the two of us, sometimes the Advice Pedaler gets so stressed out leapfrogging buses that she simply stops and lets the bus get a block ahead so she can enjoy a bus-free ride up Valencia.
Dear Advice Pedaler:
I dreamt that I was riding my bike and singing. Is this normal?
The Advice Pedaler has heard reports of other cases where cyclists have burst into song, a result of the joy of cycling. Make your dream a reality and sing while you cycle everyday. Not only is it normal, but it's a pleasing alternative to a bike bell.