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Drivers urged to yield to buses, obey traffic law

By Michael Potestio - Merritt Herald
Published: June 18, 2013 7:00 AM

B.C. Transit is concerned with the lack of yielding to buses in the city of Merritt. The organization points out that it’s the law to yield to a bus and not simply a common courtesy.

Nicola Valley Transportation Society manager Jan Oswald told the Herald that Merritt drivers simply do not slow down and yield to buses as they should.

It has become such a problem that Oswald reached out to B.C. Transit and requested they put out a press release on this issue.

“I asked them to release it because we have problems in this city because people will not obey the traffic rules,” Oswald said.She said people will usually just ignore a bus when it is trying to pull out from a stop and simply drive past it, cutting it off from rejoining the traffic flow.

Oswald also said the situation is getting worse and with summer just around the corner, a collision could end up happening — and if one does, the bus driver won’t be the one at fault.“And it’s getting worse and worse all the time and with summer coming now, we’re going to end up having an accident and it’s not going to be my driver’s fault, it’s going to be the person who refuses to stop,” Oswald said.

The B.C. Transit press release on the issue states the law, under the Motor Vehicle Act, section 169.1, is to yield to B.C. Transit and other vehicles that fall under the B.C. Transit Act when the transit operator signals or gives other displays of intention to re-enter the traffic flow.Oswald said she gets complaints all the time from Merritt bus drivers.

Last year at this time, she would get up to eight complaints a day from her drivers who were involved in incidents where they were forced to break due to vehicle traffic failing to yield to their buses.Oswald said the traffic flow on Voght Street is horrible.

“And the two stops that my buses have, the one in front of Subway and the one in front of city hall, are the worst ones in town for people ignoring the buses and pulling right by them,” Oswald said. She also noted that the bus stop at city hall can be deceiving because it looks like there are two lanes there, when really it’s only one lane, and therefore not wide enough for passing.

Cars will sometimes go around a bus at the city hall stop and cut them off before trying to make a right on to Nicola Avenue, Oswald said.Oswald said an incident at the Voght Street bus stop in front of the Subway a couple of weeks ago prompted her action.

A bus was trying to pull out from the stop when a car drove right out in front of it and cut it off from re-entering traffic. The vehicle even pulled out into the oncoming lane just to go around the bus, flipping the bus driver the bird in the process, she said.

“And that’s not the first time it’s happened — it’s happened lots,” Oswald said. She said transit has been in Merritt for about six years now but people still complain about the buses stopping in the street, but that’s all part of what transit does.

The message Oswald wants the public to know is to obey the rules. “Obey the traffic laws and stop for the buses,” she said.